Suf­fer­ing a stroke may dou­ble the risk of de­men­tia, large-scale study con­cludes

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Alert Fitness -

IN THE largest study of its kind ever con­ducted, new UK re­search has found that peo­ple who suf­fer a stroke could be around twice as likely to de­velop de­men­tia. Led by re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Ex­eter Med­i­cal School, the new meta-anal­y­sis looked at data on stroke and de­men­tia risk gath­ered from 48 stud­ies with a to­tal of 3.2 mil­lion peo­ple around the world.

Af­ter tak­ing into ac­count other risk fac­tors for de­men­tia, such as blood pres­sure, di­a­betes and car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, the re­searchers found that hav­ing a stroke still sig­nif­i­cantly in­creased the risk of the con­di­tion, pro­vid­ing the strong­est ev­i­dence yet that stroke plays a role in de­men­tia risk. The find­ings also sup­port pre­vi­ous re­search which has also found an as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween the two con­di­tions, how­ever pre­vi­ous stud­ies did not es­tab­lish to what ex­tent a stroke may in­crease the risk of de­men­tia.

“We found that a his­tory of stroke in­creases de­men­tia risk by around 70 per cent, and re­cent strokes more than dou­bled the risk. Given how com­mon both stroke and de­men­tia are, this strong link is an im­por­tant find­ing. Im­prove­ments in stroke preven­tion and post-stroke care may there­fore play a key role in de­men­tia preven­tion,” said study au­thor Dr Ilianna Lourida, of the Univer­sity of Ex­eter Med­i­cal School.

“Around a third of de­men­tia cases are thought to be po­ten­tially pre­ventable, though this es­ti­mate does not take into ac­count the risk associated with stroke. Our find­ings in­di­cate that this fig­ure could be even higher, and rein- force the im­por­tance of pro­tect­ing the blood sup­ply to the brain when at­tempt­ing to re­duce the global bur­den of de­men­tia,” added Dr David Llewellyn.

The team noted that as most peo­ple who have a stroke do not go on to de­velop de­men­tia, fur­ther re­search is now needed to as­sess whether other fac­tors could mod­ify the in­creased risk of de­men­tia, and whether dif­fer- ences in care and life­style fol­low­ing a stroke can re­duce the risk of de­men­tia fur­ther. Ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion, 15 mil­lion peo­ple have a stroke each year and around 50 mil­lion peo­ple have de­men­tia. The find­ings can be found pub­lished in Alzheimer’s & De­men­tia: The Jour­nal of the Alzheimer’s As­so­ci­a­tion.

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