An Auckland researcher has received a prestigious international award for his app which alerts people to their stroke risk, prompted by his own father's death from a stroke.

Auckland University of Technology professor Dr Valery Feigin last night received the World Stroke Organisation President's award in Istanbul in recognition of his contribution to stroke research.

It comes as Feigin prepares to launch what could become one of the world's largest studies of stroke, heart disease, diabetes and dementia through his pioneering "Stroke Riskometer" app.

This enables users to assess their individual stroke risk on a smartphone or tablet, while also assessing lifestyle factors for the prevention of stroke, cardiovascular disease and dementia.


Feigin said when viewed collectively, the data could provide "unprecedented" insights into some of the world's most widespread communicable disease.

He began his career as a neurologist but turned his focus to research after a stroke claimed the life of his father, Lev.

"My father's premature death from stroke was a great shock for me and my family. He was a professor at the Novosibirsk Medical School in Russia - a productive academic and talented teacher, at the height of his career. Physically, he was very fit and had only a few cardiovascular risk factors," he said.

"When my father suffered a stroke, I asked myself, "Why?'. It was his tragic death that triggered my academic interest in studying stroke and how to prevent it."

Had his father known of his risk of suffering a stroke - and the importance of controlling his risk factors - he could still be alive, he said.