Survey of Stroke and Dementia awareness


Recent studies have shown that knowledge of stroke and dementia risk factors and warning signs is deficient.
Despite compelling evidence that increasing population/country-specific knowledge about warning signs and risk factors can reduce stroke and dementia burden in the population, there has been no recent research on the prevalence and risk factors of stroke and dementia in NZ.  Therefore this study aims to fill these gaps in knowledge by utilising two methods to determine:

(1)stroke/dementia awareness, and
(2) prevalence of stroke/dementia and their risk factors in the NZ population.

Primary aims:

(1) to develop and test a questionnaire about knowledge and awareness about stroke/dementia and their symptoms in Māori, Pasifika, Asian, and NZ Europeans aged 20+ to be used in the main survey (subject to a separate application to and funding from HRC in 2015); and

(2) to provide population estimates of stroke and dementia prevalence and risk factors in NZ adults (aged 20+). Secondary aim: to identify differences in prevalence of stroke and dementia and their risk factors among major demographic groups categorised by age, gender, and ethnicity. People younger than 20 years will not be included in this project as their risk profile for stroke and dementia is significantly different from that in adults.


The project will have two distinct but inter-linked studies to be conducted concurrently:

(1) A pilot nation-wide stroke/dementia awareness survey. A pilot questionnaire will be developed to determine stroke and dementia awareness in the NZ population. A national random sample of 400 adults stratified by ethnicity (100 Māori, 100 Pasifika, 100 Asian/other, and 100 NZ Europeans) aged 20 years and older will be surveyed using computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI), validated for CVD risk factor assessment in ethnically diverse populations.

(2) A nation-wide smartphone-based stroke/dementia cross-sectional study to determine the prevalence of stroke/dementia and their risk factors.  The stroke/dementia awareness pilot survey will include a stratified sample across all major ethnic groups and all adults in New Zealand and capture information on awareness that will not be obtained from the Smartphone study. It may capture some populations that may not participate in the Smartphone based study for stroke/dementia prevalence (for e.g. Smartphones less likely to be used by the elderly). Therefore the two studies will provide both unique and complementary information on of stroke/dementia (1) awareness, and (2) prevalence.

Research Impact:

Data from this project is urgently needed in NZ to develop evidence-based and cost-effective interventions for primary prevention and management at the population level. A reliable national survey data will also assist knowledge transfer to policy makers; programme planners and funding agencies to make informed decisions about effective ways to promote healthy lifestyles that reduce the risk of stroke/dementia.


Two years duration, starting January 2015.


  • Prof Valery Feigin, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland
  • Assoc Prof Suzanne Barker-Collo, University of Auckland, Auckland
  • Assoc Prof Lynette Joy Tippett, University of Auckland, Auckland
  • Prof Alan Barber, University of Auckland, Auckland
  • Prof John Dalrymple-Alford, University of Canterbury, Christchurch
  • Prof. Richie Poulton, University of Otago, Dunedin
  • Dr Nicholas J. Cutfield, University of Otago, Dunedin
  • Dr Rita Krishnamurthi, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland
  • Assoc Prof Chris Bullen, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland
  • Prof Patria Hume, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland
  • Dr Amy Jones, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland
  • Rohit Bhattacharjee, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland
  • Priya Parmar, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland

Funded by:

  • Brain Research New Zealand
  • Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand