Drawing Test May Reveal One’s Chance of Survival after Stroke

June 7, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. ascending (adj.) – moving upwards from lowest to highest
Example: The elevator numbers are arranged in an ascending order.

2. initial (adj.) – describing the first happening or beginning of something
Example:  His initial reaction to his fall was surprise, followed by laughter.

3. stroke (n.) – (in medicine) a loss of brain function caused by a sudden break or blocking of a blood vessel in the brain
ExampleStrokes are the leading causes of death in most countries.

4. pass away (v.) – to die (more polite or gentle)
Example: Many people passed away in the flood.

5. neurological (adj.) – has something to do with the nerves, their functions (usually also involving the brain)
Example: The patient underwent neurological tests after bumping his head.

Read the text below.

A study in the UK journal BMJ Open suggests that a simple drawing test may show older men’s chances of survival after their first stroke.

The drawing test requires healthy people to draw lines between unarranged numbers in an ascending order as fast as they can. Those who score in the top 33% are three times less likely to die after an initial stroke compared to those who score in the bottom 33%.

The study, which took over 14 years and analyzed 1, ooo male patients, aged 67 to 75. Out of all the patients, 155 had a stroke. Twenty-two of those who had a stroke, died after a month while more than half passed away within about two and a half years.

Dr. Clare Walton, a medical professional from the Stroke Association, says although more research on the method is still needed, the drawing tests have potential. The tests seem to show that early neurological changes in the brain increase the chance of death after strokes. 

If the tests can detect these unnoticeable changes ahead of time, treatment to prevent stroke may be given to patients at a higher risk of deadly strokes.

Dr. Bernice Wiberg, from the Uppsala University in Sweden, adds that the drawing tests could be valuable because they are inexpensive, simple, and easily available for clinics and hospitals. 

She says the tests could be used to learn people’s chances of stroke along with other standard methods, such as measuring blood pressure and asking questions about smoking.   

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think you would be able to trust the results of a simple drawing test? Why or why not?
·          Aside from being cheaper, how can simple tests be helpful to patients and doctors than very complex tests?
Discussion B

·         Do you regularly have medical tests and check-ups? Why or why not?
·          What would make you or other people more encouraged to have regular check-ups?


June 7, 2012