Spouses and unrelated friends of probands as controls for stroke genetics studies

Bradford Burke Worrall, Devin L. Brown, Thomas G. Brott, Robert D. Brown, Scott L. Silliman, James F. Meschia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


To plan a multisite, ischemic stroke genetic study, stroke patients were surveyed about the availability and characteristics of a convenience sample of spouse/friend controls. 65% of all stroke-affected probands reported a living spouse. A more detailed survey was conducted at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va., USA: 51% of stroke patients reported a living, stroke-free spouse who would be willing to serve as a control, and 49% reported having a stroke-free friend who would be willing to serve as a control. Overall, 75% of stroke patients reported at least 1 individual willing to participate as a control. Cases without an identified control were more likely to be non-white (48%) than were cases with a control (13%; p = 0.00004). Cases were older than controls (67.3 vs. 59.2 years; p = 0.000002), and a greater proportion of cases than controls were male (57 vs. 33%; p = 0.0002). Without proper attention to matching, the use of a spouse/friend convenience sample would result in imbalances in basic demographic characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-244
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2003


  • Case-control study
  • Design/methodology
  • Genetics
  • Ischemic stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Clinical Neurology


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