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1.  The burden of stroke and transient ischemic attack in Pakistan: a community-based prevalence study 
BMC Neurology  2009;9:58.
Background
The burden of cerebrovascular disease in developing countries is rising sharply. The prevalence of established risk factors of stroke is exceptionally high in Pakistan. However, there is limited data on the burden of stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA) in South Asia. We report the first such study conducted in an urban slum of Karachi, Pakistan.
Methods
Individuals 35 years of age or older were invited for participation in this investigation through simple random sampling. A structured face-to-face interview was conducted using a pre-tested stroke symptom questionnaire in each participant to screen for past stroke or TIA followed by neurological examination of suspected cases. Anthropometric measurements and random blood glucose levels were recorded. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine the association of vascular risk factors with prevalence of stroke.
Results
Five hundred and forty five individuals (49.4% females) participated in the study with a response rate of 90.8%. One hundred and four individuals (19.1%) were observed to have a prior stroke while TIA was found in 53 individuals (9.7%). Overall, 119 individuals (21.8% with 66.4% females) had stroke and/or TIA. Female gender, old age, raised random blood glucose level and use of chewable tobacco were significantly associated with the prevalence of cerebrovascular disease.
Conclusion
This is the first study demonstrating an alarmingly high life-time prevalence of cerebrovascular disease in Pakistan. Individual and public health interventions in Pakistan to increase awareness about stroke, its prevention and therapy are warranted.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-9-58
PMCID: PMC2793240  PMID: 19948076
2.  The Karachi intracranial stenosis study (KISS) Protocol: An urban multicenter case-control investigation reporting the clinical, radiologic and biochemical associations of intracranial stenosis in Pakistan 
BMC Neurology  2009;9:31.
Background
Intracranial stenosis is the most common cause of stroke among Asians. It has a poor prognosis with a high rate of recurrence. No effective medical or surgical treatment modality has been developed for the treatment of stroke due to intracranial stenosis. We aim to identify risk factors and biomarkers for intracranial stenosis and to develop techniques such as use of transcranial doppler to help diagnose intracranial stenosis in a cost-effective manner.
Methods/Design
The Karachi Intracranial Stenosis Study (KISS) is a prospective, observational, case-control study to describe the clinical features and determine the risk factors of patients with stroke due to intracranial stenosis and compare them to those with stroke due to other etiologies as well as to unaffected individuals. We plan to recruit 200 patients with stroke due to intracranial stenosis and two control groups each of 150 matched individuals. The first set of controls will include patients with ischemic stroke that is due to other atherosclerotic mechanisms specifically lacunar and cardioembolic strokes. The second group will consist of stroke free individuals. Standardized interviews will be conducted to determine demographic, medical, social, and behavioral variables along with baseline medications. Mandatory procedures for inclusion in the study are clinical confirmation of stroke by a healthcare professional within 72 hours of onset, 12 lead electrocardiogram, and neuroimaging. In addition, lipid profile, serum glucose, creatinine and HbA1C will be measured in all participants. Ancillary tests will include carotid ultrasound, transcranial doppler and magnetic resonance or computed tomography angiogram to rule out concurrent carotid disease. Echocardiogram and other additional investigations will be performed at these centers at the discretion of the regional physicians.
Discussion
The results of this study will help inform locally relevant clinical guidelines and effective public health and individual interventions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-9-31
PMCID: PMC2716297  PMID: 19604359
3.  The Pakistan Risk of Myocardial Infarction Study: a resource for the study of genetic, lifestyle and other determinants of myocardial infarction in South Asia 
European journal of epidemiology  2009;24(6):329-338.
The burden of coronary heart disease (CHD) is increasing at a greater rate in South Asia than in any other region globally, but there is little direct evidence about its determinants. The Pakistan Risk of Myocardial Infarction Study (PROMIS) is an epidemiological resource to enable reliable study of genetic, lifestyle and other determinants of CHD in South Asia. By March 2009, PROMIS had recruited over 5,000 cases of first-ever confirmed acute myocardial infarction (MI) and over 5,000 matched controls aged 30–80 years. For each participant, information has been recorded on demographic factors, lifestyle, medical and family history, anthropometry, and a 12-lead electrocardiogram. A range of biological samples has been collected and stored, including DNA, plasma, serum and whole blood. During its next stage, the study aims to expand recruitment to achieve a total of about 20,000 cases and about 20,000 controls, and, in subsets of participants, to enrich the resource by collection of monocytes, establishment of lymphoblastoid cell lines, and by resurveying participants. Measurements in progress include profiling of candidate biochemical factors, assay of 45,000 variants in 2,100 candidate genes, and a genomewide association scan of over 650,000 genetic markers. We have established a large epidemiological resource for CHD in South Asia. In parallel with its further expansion and enrichment, the PROMIS resource will be systematically harvested to help identify and evaluate genetic and other determinants of MI in South Asia. Findings from this study should advance scientific understanding and inform regionally appropriate disease prevention and control strategies.
doi:10.1007/s10654-009-9334-y
PMCID: PMC2697028  PMID: 19404752
Myocardial Infarction; Case-control study; South Asia; Pakistan; MI; Risk factors
4.  Classification and Clinical Features of Headache Disorders in Pakistan: A Retrospective Review of Clinical Data 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(6):e5827.
Background
Morbidity associated with primary headache disorders is a major public health problem with an overall prevalence of 46%. Tension-type headache and migraine are the two most prevalent causes. However, headache has not been sufficiently studied as a cause of morbidity in the developing world. Literature on prevalence and classification of these disorders in South Asia is scarce. The aim of this study is to describe the classification and clinical features of headache patients who seek medical advice in Pakistan.
Methods and Results
Medical records of 255 consecutive patients who presented to a headache clinic at a tertiary care hospital were reviewed. Demographic details, onset and lifetime duration of illness, pattern of headache, associated features and family history were recorded. International Classification of Headache Disorders version 2 was applied.
66% of all patients were women and 81% of them were between 16 and 49 years of age. Migraine was the most common disorder (206 patients) followed by tension-type headache (58 patients), medication-overuse headache (6 patients) and cluster headache (4 patients). Chronic daily headache was seen in 99 patients. Patients with tension-type headache suffered from more frequent episodes of headache than patients with migraine (p<0.001). Duration of each headache episode was higher in women with menstrually related migraine (p = 0.015). Median age at presentation and at onset was lower in patients with migraine who reported a first-degree family history of the disease (p = 0.003 and p<0.001 respectively).
Conclusions/Significance
Patients who seek medical advice for headache in Pakistan are usually in their most productive ages. Migraine and tension-type headache are the most common clinical presentations of headache. Onset of migraine is earlier in patients with first-degree family history. Menstrually related migraine affects women with headache episodes of longer duration than other patients and it warrants special therapeutic consideration. Follow-up studies to describe epidemiology and burden of headache in Pakistan are needed.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005827
PMCID: PMC2688080  PMID: 19503794

Results 1-4 (4)