Have a brain injury? You may be at higher risk for stroke

June 26, 2013

People who have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may be more likely to have a future stroke, according to research that appears in the June 26, 2013, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

"Both stroke and are common, costly, and leading causes of severe disability in adults, and approximately 20 percent of strokes occur in adults under age 65," said study author James F. Burke, MD, MS, of the University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "A large proportion of is unexplained, especially in the young, so if we can identify new , we have the potential to prevent more strokes and improve outcomes."

For the study, researchers looked at the records of adults who went to the or were admitted to a hospital for TBI or other trauma with no brain injury in the state of California during a five-year period.

A total of 435,630 people with traumatic brain injury were studied, along with 736,723 people with trauma with no brain injury. Over an average of 28 months following the injury, 11,229 people, or 1 percent, had an ischemic stroke. A total of 1.1 percent of those with TBI suffered a stroke, compared to 0.9 percent of those with trauma with no brain injury. With an , blood flow to part of the brain is blocked. Eighty percent of strokes are ischemic.

After adjusting for factors that can affect stroke risk, such as age, and , as well as other disorders such as heart disease and the severity of the trauma, the researchers found that people with traumatic brain injury were 30 percent more likely to develop a stroke than those with trauma with no brain injury.

"While the stroke risk of one person with TBI is small, the overall link between TBI and stroke was substantial— as large as the link between the strongest stroke risk factor, high blood pressure, and stroke," Burke said. "If further research establishes TBI as a new risk factor for stroke, that would stimulate research to help us understand what causes stroke after TBI and help us learn how to prevent these strokes."

Explore further: Stroke symptoms associated with developing memory and thinking problems

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Imaging technique maps serotonin activity in living brains

October 20, 2016

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that's partly responsible for feelings of happiness and for mood regulation in humans. This makes it a common target for antidepressants, which block serotonin from being reabsorbed by neurons ...

ALS study reveals role of RNA-binding proteins

October 20, 2016

Although only 10 percent of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) cases are hereditary, a significant number of them are caused by mutations that affect proteins that bind RNA, a type of genetic material. University of California ...

Overcoming egocentricity increases self-control

October 19, 2016

Neurobiological models of self-control usually focus on brain mechanisms involved in impulse control and emotion regulation. Recent research at the University of Zurich shows that the mechanism for overcoming egocentricity ...

Exercise may help ward off memory decline

October 19, 2016

Exercise may be associated with a small benefit for elderly people who already have memory and thinking problems, according to new research published in the October 19, 2016, online issue of Neurology, a medical journal of ...

Going for a run could improve cramming for exams

October 19, 2016

Ever worried that all the information you've crammed in during a study session might not stay in your memory? The answer might be going for a run, according to a new study published in Cognitive Systems Research.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.