Prevalence of Cerebrovascular Accident within African Americans of the Cobb Collection

Natalia Christian 1,2

  1. W. Montague Cobb Research Laboratory, Howard University
  2. Department of World Languages and Culture, Howard University
In the African American community, cerebral vascular accident (or stroke) is one of the leading causes of death. Hypertension causes approximately 50% of ischemic strokes, which are caused by a development of atherosclerosis. Studies show that African-Americans have the highest rate of hypertension in the United States. Stress can significantly contribute to the development of hypertension through recurrent blood pressure elevation and stimulation of the nervous system to produce large amounts of vasoconstriction hormones that eventually lead to elevated blood pressure. Socio-economical, sociological and psychological factors coupled with familial history in the African American community contribute to the development of this fluctuation in blood pressure and nervous response. From the clinical materials available on the Cobb Collection, I will identify the individuals who reportedly died from ischemic stroke. I will use additional resources to reconstruct the biological histories of a subset of individuals with stroke and relating ailments. By performing case studies on the affected individuals in the Cobb Collection and delving into their personal lives, the causes of hypertension and eventual stroke will be identified and placed in historical context. This information will provide insight into the progression of modern day environmental circumstances and treatments that have contributed to the clinical expression of cerebrovascular accident.

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