The Intravenous Magnesium Efficacy in Acute Stroke (IMAGES) trial is a multicentre,randomised, placebo-controlled trial of magnesium sulphate (MgSO4) funded by the UK Medical Research Council. When complete, it will be the largest single neuroprotective study undertaken to date. Conscious patients presenting within 12 h of acute stroke with limb weakness are eligible. The primary outcome measure is combined death and disability as measured using the Barthel Index at 90-day follow up. By randomizing 2700 patients, the study will have 84% power to detect a 5.5% absolute reduction in the primary end-point. By April 2000, 86 centres were participating, with representation in Canada, USA, Europe, South America, Singapore and Australia. So far, 1206 patients have been randomised, of whom 37% were treated within 6 h. Overall 3-month mortality was 20% and the primary outcome event rate was 43%. The study is ongoing and centres worldwide are encouraged to participate.