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Xray image of cerebral stroke

The China Kadoorie Biobank is part of a major study to identify the genes which can cause stroke published in Nature. The study was led by the GIGASTROKE consortium and involved over 200,000 stroke cases of different clinical types and over two million control individuals. This is the largest study of stroke genetics, and included individuals of European, East-Asian, African, South-Asian, and Latin-American ancestry.

Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide, responsible for approximately 12% of total deaths, and a major contributor to years of life lost or lived with disability. The incidence and severity of stroke is particularly high in low- and middle-income countries where 70% of total stroke deaths occur. This makes it extremely important to adopt a global perspective in research efforts aimed at improving the prevention and treatment of stroke. The study identified 89 genetic associations for stroke, 61 of which were new discoveries.

Identifying these genes will open new research avenues to understand the disease processes which cause different types of stroke, and can lead to development of new drugs for stroke prevention and treatment. Uncovering the genetic contribution to stroke in different populations can help to predict individuals at high risk of stroke who would benefit from interventions and monitoring to prevent the disease.