Could Poor Memory Signal Raised Stroke Risk?02/09/11
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Poor memory and problems
with other mental skills may be early signs of an increased risk
for stroke, a new study suggests.
Researchers gave a word recall memory test to 17,851 people,
while 14,842 people were give a verbal fluency test designed to
measure the brain's executive functioning skills. The participants,
who were aged 45 and older (average age 67) and had never had a
stroke, were then contacted twice a year for up to 4.5 years.
During the follow-up period, 129 people who took the memory test
and 123 people who took the verbal fluency test suffered a stroke,
the investigators found.
Among those who took the memory test, participants who scored in
the bottom 20 percent were 3.5 times more likely to suffer a stroke
than those who scored in the top 20 percent. Among those who took
the verbal fluency test, participants who scored in the bottom 20
percent were 3.6 times more likely to have a stroke than those who
scored in the top 20 percent.
Although the difference was not as significant at older ages,
the study authors found that at age 50, people who scored in the
bottom 20 percent of the memory test were 9.4 times more likely to
have a stroke than those who scored in the top 20 percent.
The study findings were released online Feb. 9 and will be
presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of
Neurology (AAN) in Honolulu in April.
Experts note that research presented at meetings has not been
subjected to the same type of rigorous scrutiny given to research
published in peer-reviewed medical journals.
"Finding ways to prevent stroke and identify people at risk for stroke are important public health problems," study author Abraham J. Letter, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in an AAN news release. "This study shows we might get a better idea of who is at high risk of stroke by including a couple of simple tests when we are evaluating people who already have some stroke risk."
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
has more about
stroke risk factors.
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