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With nearly 800,000 Americans suffering from stroke each year — 140,000 fatally — it is imperative that we understand what causes such occurrences and what we can do to prevent them. Strokes occur when blood flow to the brain is cut off primarily due to clottage or bleeding causing victims to become disabled or die. High blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, smoking and other factors contribute to stroke.

According to board-certified neurologist Taqi Muhammad, M.D., co-founder of the California Institute of Neuroscience in Westlake Village, there is a 3-hour window starting at the moment symptoms first appear in which the effects of a stroke can be totally reversed by seeking professional help.

“In the world of stroke treatment, time is our enemy. A major challenge we face is that the public don’t know how to identify stroke symptoms so medical intervention occurs too late for patients to achieve a full recovery,” said Muhammad. “The goal of the neurological community is to raise awareness about the early signs so that timely intervention is possible.”

While the acronym F.A.S.T. is the accepted call to action for you to take, the California Institute of Neuroscience is introducing an update to FAST with BE FAST in time for National Stroke Month in May.

B.E. F.A.S.T.

B -- balance unsteady
E -- eyes unable to focus
F -- face drooping
A -- arm weakness
S -- speech difficulty
T – time to call 911

“If a stroke occurs in the back portion of the brain, which is where vision and balance are controlled, the F.A.S.T. acronym simply doesn’t address it,” said Muhammad. “B.E. F.A.S.T. is an improvement on the traditional call to action and we hope that the public will embrace it.”

California Institute of Neuroscience has earned a stellar reputation in the prevention, diagnosis, surgical treatment and post-surgical aspects of a range of disorders affecting the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves and cerebrovascular system. The team, who are experts at treating aneurysms, AVM, skull base tumors such as pituitary tumors, acoustic neuromas, and meningiomas, trigeminal neuralgia, and any other medical condition related to the brain and spine, employ the safest and latest technology to give patients a new lease on life.

Among the areas of specialty: neurology, neurosurgery, psychology, psychiatry, cranial maxillofacial plastic surgery, spine/peripheral neurosurgery and neuro-ophthalmology. These comprehensive services offer the patient a holistic approach to care not commonly found in typical neurosurgical practices.

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