About 2 million patients worldwide suffer a stroke at age 18-49 years, a so called stroke in young adult or young stroke. In contrast to stroke in elderly patients, little is known about etiology, treatment and secondary prevention and prognosis in these young stroke patients. In about 40% of the patients, no cause can be identified. A proper understanding of the cause is also the cornerstone in providing new leads for rational designed therapeutic strategies to prevent subsequent stroke, rather than the one size fits all approach that is currently in use, based on studies that included very few, or none, patients aged under 50 years. Besides that, clinicians should be able to tell their patients what to expect after they have been hit by a stroke. More information about prognosis is needed to be able to do this.

The GOAL initiative is set up to identify risk factors, etiology and prognosis in patients that suffered a stroke under the age of 50 in a large global cohort with individual patient data.

The following institutes contributed to setting up the GOAL initiative:

RadboudUMC, Nijmegen, the Netherlands
Frank-Erik de Leeuw, Merel S. Ekker, Myrna M.E. van Dongen and Mina A. Jacob
Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
Jukka Putaala
Università degli Studi di Brescia, Brescia, Italia
Alessandro Pezzini
Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen Norway
Ulrike Waje-Andreassen