Value through Innovation17 September 2014
22 March 2011

Actress Jane Seymour takes up the fight against common heart rhythm disorder, atrial fibrillation and its link to stroke

Public vote will decide how €1 Million in funding will be used to prevent atrial fibrillation-related strokes

Logo 1Mission 1Million - getting to the heart of stroke

Madrid, Spain and Ingelheim, Germany, 22nd March 2011– Today, actress Jane Seymour invites the public to vote for projects that increase awareness of the link between atrial fibrillation (AF) and stroke. AF is the most common sustained heart rhythm disorder worldwide and leads to as many as 3 million strokes worldwide each year.1,2 Seymour, who has herself been touched by tragic effects of AF-related stroke, pledges her support for 1 Mission 1 Million – Getting to the Heart of Stroke, a first-of-its-kind disease awareness effort. The global initiative will provide up to €1 million for projects, to be selected by public vote, which fulfill the overall mission of helping prevent as many as 1 million AF-related strokes through information campaigns. It is supported by over 40 third party organisations around the world and is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim.

Jane Seymour

Jane Seymour

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"I'm involved in 1 Mission 1 Million – Getting to the Heart of Stroke for very personal reasons; my mother had AF and in fact she had a stroke," said Jane Seymour, ambassador for 1 Mission 1 Million, "Anyone who's been a caregiver for someone who's had a stroke, will know how debilitating and horrendous strokes can be. There is an urgent need for people to learn more about AF and how it relates to stroke. Through 1 Mission 1 Million, the public can actively help to prevent one million AF-related strokes by doing something as simple as voting online."

The public can now vote on 184 1 Mission 1 Million project submissions entered by individuals, patient and professional groups and healthcare centres across 36 countries. Each submission proposes an approach to increase awareness of AF-related stroke within the community whether through research, screening programmes or the creation of patient groups and websites.

"AF is a very common heart rhythm abnormality with one in four adults over the age of 40 developing AF in their lifetime which means that the majority of us will know someone who has AF," said Trudie Lobban, campaign supporter and CEO of the Atrial Fibrillation Association (AFA), "It is so important that the public joins us in the mission to help prevent 1 million strokes worldwide and make a difference by voting for their favourite AF awareness projects on is one of the organisations from around the world to partner with the initiative and we hope the public will prove to be just as enthusiastic for such a worthwhile cause."

Largest ever Global AF Survey reveals need for information
SPEAK about AF (Stroke Prevention Education, Awareness and Knowledge), the largest and most extensive survey (over 3700 participants) ever conducted in people diagnosed with AF and the physicians who treat the condition, revealed that more education is needed about the link between AF and stroke.

Key survey findings include:3

  • AF has a negative impact on the lives of people with this condition
  • While physicians are aware of the risk of AF-related stroke, not all people with AF fully understand their risk
  • There is a need to provide more information about the risk of AF-related stroke and to utilise new channels for communication with people with AF
  • Over time and with more information, people with AF feel less worried and more in control of how they manage the prevention of stroke
  • For more information, visit

"AF-related strokes are debilitating with an increased risk of death, but most importantly, in many cases they can be prevented," said Professor Ariel Cohen, Sainte-Antoine Hospital, Paris. "By supporting scientific projects that will increase awareness of the relationship between AF and stroke, the public has an opportunity to play a real role in helping to prevent strokes. I encourage people to seek additional information by visiting the website where they can learn more about AF and the risk of stroke, view the projects and vote for those that best meet the objective of decreasing the burden of this common heart rhythm disorder."

In addition to information about all 184 projects, features useful information about the risk factors for AF-related stroke and offers support and advice for people who have been diagnosed with the condition.

Notes to Editors

About Atrial Fibrillation (AF)
AF is the most common sustained heart rhythm abnormality worldwide with one in four adults over the age of 40 developing AF in their lifetime.4,5 AF causes the heart to beat irregularly and often too quickly or too slowly.6 People with AF are five times more likely to suffer a stroke than people without AF and AF-related strokes tend to be more severe and disabling than non AF-related strokes.7,8,9 Many AF-related strokes can be prevented with correct management but many patients are not aware of their risk and so take no action to prevent it.10

About 1 Mission 1 Million
1 Mission 1 Million – Getting to the Heart of Stroke is a first-of-its-kind disease awareness initiative, supported by leading health experts and patient organisations including AntiCoagulation Europe, Atrial Fibrillation Association, Stroke Alliance for Europe and the World Heart Federation and is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim. Project applications, submitted by healthcare professionals and organisations worldwide, have been reviewed by an Expert Panel whose members are leaders in the field of AF, and voting is now open to the public.  Voting will close on 22nd June 2011 and the projects with the most votes will be awarded funding. The Expert Panel members will also select seven 'Expert Picks' – projects that are deemed to be deserving of special recognition. There are a total of 32 awards available, ranging from €10,000 to €100,000, totaling €1 million.

About the Global Atrial Fibrillation Survey
SPEAK about AF (Stroke Prevention Education, Awareness and Knowledge) is the largest and most extensive global survey of physicians and people living with AF and was sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim. It involved over 3,700 patients diagnosed with AF, cardiologists, neurologists and general practitioners covering 12 countries and four continents. For more information, visit

About the Campaign Supporters
Over 40 third party organisations around the world support the 1 Mission 1 Million – Getting to the Heart of Stroke initiative. Below is some information about the four global supporters.

AntiCoagulation Europe (ACE)

As a leading European charity dedicated to the prevention of thrombosis, 1 Mission 1 Million is a marvellous opportunity to join with other organisations to make a united call to make a difference to stroke prevention in AF.

Atrial Fibrillation Association (AFA)
AFA is involved in 1 Mission 1 Million because as the voice of patients, carers and medical professionals dealing with atrial fibrillation, AFA is dedicated to improving the health, well-being and ultimately, the lives of those suffering with this debilitating condition, often described by patients as 'taking away the essence of life.'

Stroke Alliance for Europe (SAFE)

The Stroke Alliance for Europe (SAFE) is proud to be a supporter of 1 Mission 1 Million. This valuable initiative will highlight awareness of Atrial Fibrillation (AF), one of the hidden risk factors for stroke. The proper treatment options for patients with AF are not always used, and public awareness of it is currently extremely low. With AF rising up the medical agenda, we look forward to an increase in understanding amongst the general public as well as in physicians so that they are able to more effectively manage the condition.

World Heart Federation

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is a growing public health issue, affecting not only the patients who live with the condition, but also their families and the healthcare systems in the countries where they live. Yet research shows there is a perceived lack of awareness and understanding of AF. The World Heart Federation supports the 1 Mission 1 Million initiative and its goal to draw attention to this serious condition, the consequences of which can have devastating effects on patients and healthcare systems.

About Boehringer Ingelheim
The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world’s 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it operates globally, with 142 affiliates in 50 countries and more than 41,500 employees. Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel products of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.

In 2009, Boehringer Ingelheim posted net sales of 12.7 billion euro, while spending 21% of net sales in its largest business segment (Prescription Medicines) on research and development.

1Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke, World Health Organization, September 2004. Viewed March 2011 at 2Wolf PA, Abbott RD, Kannel WB. Atrial fibrillation as an independent risk factor for stroke: the Framingham Study. Stroke 1991; 22(8);983-8
3SPEAK about AF Survey
4Stewart S, Murphy N, Walker A, et al. Cost of an emerging epidemic: an economic analysis of atrial fibrillation in the UK. Heart 2004; 90:286-92.
5Lloyd-Jones DM, Wang TJ, Leip EP, et al.Lifetime risk for development of atrial fibrillation: the Framingham Heart Study. Circulation 2004; 110:1042-6.
6Goodacre S, et al. ABC of clinical electrocardiography. Atrial arrhythmias. Br Med J 2002; 324:594-7.
7Saveliea I, et al. Stroke in atrial fibrillation: update on pathophysiology, new antithrombotic therapies, and evolution of procedures and devices. Ann Med 2007; 39:371-91.
8Lin HJ, Wolf PA, Kelly-Hayes M, et al. Stroke severity in atrial fibrillation: the Framingham study. Stroke 1996; 27:1760-4.
9Kelly-Hayes M, et al. The influence of gender and age on disability following ischemic stroke: The Framingham Study. J Stroke Carebrovasc Dis 2003; 12:119-266.
10Hart GR, et al. Meta-analysis: Antithrombotic therapy to prevent stroke in patients who have nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. Ann Intern Med 2007; 146:857-867.

Media contact

  • Judith von Gordon
    Boehringer Ingelheim

    Head of Global Media & PR
    Judith von Gordon
    Binger Strasse 173
    55216 Ingelheim am Rhein