Stroke Epidemiology, Etiology, and Background

  • Deven ReddyEmail author
  • Robert G. Hart


Throughout the ages various theories and beliefs prevailed conceptualizing physician and lay perceptions of the entity of stroke. The term “apoplexy” (from the Greek word apoplexia, meaning striking or hitting away) emerged in the time of Hippocrates and was used into the early part of the twentieth century [2]. Initial theories centered around the concept of blood being one of four crucial humors necessary for survival and a vital spirit. Apoplexy would result when its motion was interrupted. Galen (129–c. 200 ce) expanded on these theories, which were accepted for many centuries. In this time, apoplexy carried a grim prognosis and patients were usually advised as such. Supernatural phenomena were also a popular belief through the ages, with stroke seen as a punitive judgment at the hand of God.


Ischemic Stroke Infective Endocarditis White Matter Lesion Carotid Artery Stenting Moyamoya Disease 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Neurosurgery, Department of SurgeryMcMaster University, Hamilton General HospitalHamiltonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Medicine (Neurology)Hamilton General HospitalHamiltonCanada

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