Study participants aged 55 and older were asked to rate the severity of adverse experiences such as emotional neglect, parental intimidation, and being the victim of violence on a 16-point scale. They were then followed-up for a mean of 3.5 years, during which time 257 of the participants died. Brain autopsies were conducted to reveal neuropathologies. Adjusting for age, gender,
education, socioeconomic status, and cardiovascular risk factors, researchers found a link between chronic cerebral infarction and higher childhood adversity scores, with a particularly strong link to emotional neglect. The mechanism of action that underlies the link between serious childhood adversity and stroke is yet to be determined, though telomeres may play a role.
Read coverage of the relationship between stroke and psychiatric and cognitive disorders in Psychiatric News here and here.