Lib Dem MEP Phil Bennion is backing efforts by health campaigners to highlight best practice in dealing with strokes in May, which has been designated Action on Stroke month.

SAFE logoThe MEP is supporting the campaign by the Stroke Association to spread awareness of the early signs of stroke and this year's particular focus on highlighting the emotional impact a stroke can have on stroke survivors, their carers and families.
Phil Bennion said: "I support the efforts of the Stroke Association to encourage the best possible care for stroke sufferers and their families. Strokes are largely preventable, yet devastate the lives of millions of people across Europe every year.
"It is important not only to encourage wider awareness of strokes and the difficulties they cause to sufferers and their families but also in a time of austerity to identify the most efficient and effective ways of treating and preventing the condition.
"One of the most effective things the European Union can do is to encourage the sharing of best practice in tackling with health and social problems in member states. The amount of funds committed to this can be very small, but the gains can be substantial.
"I support the aims of the Stroke Alliance for Europe (SAFE), which is an umbrella body of stroke campaign groups working at EU level. SAFE is involved with four research projects looking at ways to improve stroke care, such as whether clot-busting drugs can be given to people who wake up after suffering a stroke while they slept. 
"Another project they are helping to support is EuroHYP-1 a randomized international clinical trial that will test whether  'therapeutic hypothermia" or body cooling can help improve recovery in patients with moderate to severe ischemic stroke.
"I support these projects and efforts by SAFE and partner organisations to ensure that the NHS in Britain takes advantage both of cutting edge research and the most effective techniques for treating stroke survivors and helping their families and carers which may have been developed in other EU countries.
"I wish the Stroke Association every success in promoting their work during May."
SAFE: SAFE is a founding member of the European Stroke Network (ESN), a collaboration of the EU Seventh Framework Programme that brings together leading stroke researchers, clinicians and industry partners from 30 institutions across Europe. Through its multi-disciplinary research program, high-quality training for European scientists and clinicians, and national and global partnerships, the network aims to put Europe at the forefront of global stroke research.
The ESN was created to encourage collaborative, pioneering research into many aspects of stroke biology. At present, the only approved procedure to treat ischemic stroke is thrombolysis with tPA to remove blood clots and restore blood flow to the affected brain area. The events that determine how much brain damage results from restricted blow flow are complex and we are only beginning to understand the role of blood vessels and the immune system in the process. Through the sharing of knowledge, protocols and technologies, the ESN will enable rapid progress to be made in these areas. To find out about the specific research projects on-going in the ESN, visit the research section of their website here.
May 2013 is the second Action on Stroke Month and local campaigners from the Stroke Association have organised a number of events around the region (see
You can read more about Action on Stroke Month at