Thursday, November 10, 2011

Stroke Risk Factors Predict Cognitive Decline

Vascular risk factors may lead to cognitive impairment, even if they don’t lead to stroke. Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine evaluating participants in the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study found that subjects with significant risk factors for stroke—even if they didn't experience stroke—were more likely than their peers to develop cognitive decline. "Subclinical cerebrovascular disease including white-matter abnormalities, silent cerebral infarction, and brain atrophy may underlie the association we saw between stroke risk factors and cognition,” wrote Frederick Unverzagt, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychiatry, and his colleagues in the November 8 Neurology.

Their results suggest that the Framingham Stroke Risk Profile (FSRP), which provides an estimate of the 10-year risk for future stroke based on age and presence and severity of several cardiovascular risk factors, might also be a useful tool for predicting changes in cognitive function.

In related news, a recent study bolsters evidence that depression may be a robust predictor of stroke, even independently of memory impairments that might precede a stroke. Read more about it in Psychiatric News.

(Image: ArchMan/


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