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Some of the sharpest minds in the field are meeting this weekend to discuss how to reduce the burden of stroke.
AUT University's Professor Valery Feigin says it's New Zealand's leading cause of death and disability.
"One in five New Zealanders do suffer from one or another form of neurological disorders ranging from stroke and dementia to back pain."
He says unlike most other developed countries where stroke cases have fallen by nearly half in the past 30 years, they've declined only 11 percent here - and that's only in New Zealand Europeans.
In Maori and Pacific people strokes have increased by 19 percent and 66 percent respectively.
"And it's not just the higher occurrence of those disorders but also worse outcomes and the reasons for that are not clearly defined so far so that's where most of the research in this area is going to."
The issue is being discussed at the Applied Neurosciences Conference in Auckland this weekend.