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Failing memory could indicate a higher risk for stroke

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Swedish researchers found that men who performed poorly on a simple-to-administer cognitive abilities test had a higher incidence of stroke in later years. The test could help predict stroke and allow patients and their physicians to take corrective action to prevent a stroke.

People who experience memory or other cognitive loss could have a higher risk of developing a stroke, according to a study published in today’s Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The results were true whether or not the patient was diagnosed with dementia.


Bernice Wiberg, MD, Uppsala University in Sweden, and colleagues recruited 930 Swedish men around age 70 for the study. None of the men had had a previous stroke.


The men participated in three tests: Trail Making Test A, which measures attention and visual-motor abilities; Trail Making Test B which measures the ability to execute and modify a plan; and the Mini Mental State Examination, a common tool for measuring cognitive decline.


The men were followed for 13 years. During that time, 166 men developed a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA); and 105 patients developed a brain infarction, which prevents the proper amount of blood from reaching the brain and leads to tissue damage. A brain infarction is the most common cause of stroke.


Men who performed at the bottom 25 percent on the Trail Making Test B were three times more likely to have a stroke or a brain infarction compared to those who scored in the top 25 percent on the test. The other two mental tests did not predict brain infarction or stroke.


The Trial Making Test B is simple and cost-effective, said Wiberg, and could be a useful tool for identifying people at risk for stroke so they might take steps to prevent one.


“Stroke is a leading cause of disability and death among older people, making early identification of people at high risk of stroke extremely important, so preventative measures can be taken,” Wiberg said.

Along with Uppsala University, support for the study was provided by the Swedish Stroke Association, Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Heart Lung Foundation, the Geriatric Fund and the Uppsala County Association Against Heart and Lung Diseases.


Wiberg, B., Lind, L., Kilander, L., Zethelius, B., Sundelof, J. E., Sundstrom, J.
Cognitive function and risk of stroke in elderly men
Neurology 2010 74: 379-385

Subscribe to comments feed Comments (4 posted):

Bare Necessities coupon on 02/18/2010 00:36:15
Well that's really a good post to aware people of such facts so that they can take precautions before it.I will keep looking around for more information.
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memory card reader on 02/18/2010 01:58:31

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online payday loans on 03/18/2010 05:36:09
You have posted very nice information on stroke. But I want to know how we can reduce the risk of stroke ???
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Well..online payday loans.there are many of techniques in which you can reduce the risk of stroke.You can do one thing...Reducing your dietary intake of saturated fats and cholesterol may help reduce your risk of a stroke.
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