Men and women who experience memory loss or a decline in their thinking abilities may be at a higher risk of stroke, regardless of whether they have been diagnosed with dementia. This warning comes to us courtesy of a new report published in the February 2, 2010 issue of Neurology.
Study author Bernice Wiberg, MD (Uppsala University, Sweden) and his colleagues took 930 men in Sweden around the age of 70, all without a history of stroke, and put them through mental tests which are used by doctors to measure cognitive decline.
During a 13-year period, 166 men developed a stroke or transient ischemic attack, or TIA. Brain infarction is the most common cause of stroke -- this happened to 105 patients. It causes tissue damage when the proper amount of blood does not reach the brain. Hemorrhage is another kind of stroke.
The study found that people who were among the bottom 25 percent of performers in at least one of the cognitive tests were three times more likely to have a stroke or a brain infarction compared to those who scored among the top 25 percent of performers on the tests.
“Our results support the idea that cognitive decline regardless of whether a person has dementia may predict risk of stroke,” said Wiberg. The test which was most successful of the three tests used is a simple test that, with more research, could be used to identify those persons for whom stroke prevention measures should be considered.