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Pricking a person’s fingers will not stop a stroke

May 22, 2019 GMT

CLAIM: A stroke can be stopped by pricking the fingers of the person showing symptoms.

AP’S ASSESSMENT:  False. An expert on strokes says the best thing someone can do for a person showing signs of a stroke is call 911 and get the person to a hospital.  

THE FACTS:  A video posted on a health-focused Facebook page claims that “a Chinese professor,” who isn’t named, suggests using a needle to save the life of a person suffering a stroke. The video says to sterilize a needle, then prick the tips of all 10 fingers a few millimeters from the nail. When all 10 fingers are bleeding the person will come back to life.

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There is no medical evidence that using a syringe or needle to prick the fingers of someone having a stroke will help them. In fact, it could waste valuable time.

“It’s absolute nonsense, so sad,” says Dr. Mitchell Elkind, a professor of neurology at Columbia University, who works with the American Heart Association.

The claim has been around for years. It circulated by email in 2006, and the video can be found online since at least 2017.

Elkind says if a person is showing symptoms, such as face drooping, arm weakness or difficulty speaking, calling an ambulance is the best course of action.

He says the person showing symptoms needs to be taken to a hospital as quickly as possible for a CT scan to determine whether they can be treated with clot-busting drugs.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.