I know a couple of regular readers are nurses, and at least one is married to a doc. I got the following material from my friend Michel. If it's accurate, it seems like it warrants widespread dissemination. And if it's hooey, it's important to debunk, just as widely.
If you, or someone you love, can confirm it, I'd appreciate it. Or if they can advise that it's hokum, I'll know to take it down. I'd appreciate that too.
Snopes seems to confirm it, with the caveat that the last bit of advice, about tongue-sticking-out, is less useful than the first three.
STROKE: Remember The 1st Three Letters.. S.T.R.
RECOGNIZING A STROKE - Remember the '3' steps: STR.
Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.
A bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:
S* Ask the individual to SMILE.
T* Ask the person to TALK to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE. (Coherently) (I.e. It is sunny out today.)
R* Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to stick out their tongue. If the tongue is crooked, if it goes to one side or the other, that is also an indication of a stroke. If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call 911 immediately!!
Describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people, you can bet that at least one life will be saved.