Study shows stroke could age brain function by 8 years

Baku, June 10, AZERTAC 

A recent study has revealed that a stroke could result in loss of cognitive functions that equals brain aging by an average of 8 years.

Researchers from the University of Michigan U-M Medical School and the School of Public Health in Ann Arbor looked at 4,900 black and white stroke survivors over the age of 65. The findings revealed, based on a 27-item memory and cognition test, that participants who have had a stroke appeared to have aged 7.9 years overnight.

The results were published in the journal Stroke and per the study's lead author, Assistant Professor at U-M Medical School Dr. Deborah Levine, M.D., MPH, "As we search for the key drivers of the known disparities in cognitive decline between blacks and whites, we focus here on the role of 'health shocks' such as stroke."

She continued to say, "Although we found that stroke does not explain the difference, these results show the amount of cognitive aging that stroke brings on, and therefore the importance of stroke prevention to reduce the risk of cognitive decline."

The team focused on the 7.5 percent of black study participants and 6.7 percent of white participants with no recent history of stroke, dementia or other cognitive conditions but suffered a stroke within 12 years of their first survey and cognitive test in 1998.

Based on the cognitive test scores between 1998 and 2012, it was evident that both black and white participants did significantly worse on the tests taken after they suffered their stroke, as opposed to their earlier performance with no documented episode.

Other studies that have looked at cognitive decline and related disparities has zeroed in on racial differences in socio-economic status, educational background as well as vascular risk that include diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking that can increase the risk of strokes.

While these factors may explain some racial differences in cognitive decline, there is still uncertainty regarding the reasons for cognitive decline. However, one thing is certain from the study, strokes have serious consequences for brain function.

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