Increased risk of stroke in people with cognitive impairment

People with cognitive impairment are significantly more likely to have a stroke, with a 39% increased risk, than people with normal cognitive function, according to a new study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

"Given the projected substantial rise in the number of older people around the world, prevalence rates of cognitive impairment and are expected to soar over the next several decades, especially in high-income countries," writes Dr. Bruce Ovbiagele, Chair of the Department of Neurology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, with coauthors.

Cognitive impairment and stroke are major contributors to disability, and stroke is the second leading cause of death world-wide. Although stroke is linked to the development and worsening of cognitive impairment, it is not known whether the reverse is true. Previous studies that have looked at the link between cognitive impairment and subsequent stroke have been inconsistent in their findings.

The study in CMAJ, by researchers in the United States, Taiwan and South Korea, analyzed data from 18 studies of 121 879 people with cognitive impairment, of whom 7799 later had strokes. Most of the included studies were conducted in North America or Europe.

The researchers observed a significantly higher rate of stroke in people with cognitive impairment than in people with normal cognitive function.

"We found that the risk of future stroke was 39% higher among patients with cognitive impairment at baseline than among those with normal cognitive function at baseline," write the authors. "This risk increased to 64% when a broadly adopted definition of cognitive impairment was used."

Blockage of blood vessels in the brain (brain infarcts), atherosclerosis, inflammation and other vascular conditions are associated with a higher risk of stroke and and may contribute to the increased risk.

"Cognitive impairment should be more broadly recognized as a possible early clinical manifestation of cerebral infarction, so that timely management of vascular risk factors can be instituted to potentially prevent future stroke events and to avoid further deterioration of cognitive health," conclude the authors.

More information: Canadian Medical Association Journal, www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.140147

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cardiac disease linked to higher risk of mental impairment

Jan 28, 2013

Cardiac disease is associated with increased risk of mild cognitive impairment such as problems with language, thinking and judgment—particularly among women with heart disease, a Mayo Clinic study shows. Known as nonamnestic ...

Recommended for you

'Chatty' cells help build the brain

12 hours ago

The cerebral cortex, which controls higher processes such as perception, thought and cognition, is the most complex structure in the mammalian central nervous system. Although much is known about the intricate ...

'Trigger' for stress processes discovered in the brain

Nov 27, 2014

At the Center for Brain Research at the MedUni Vienna an important factor for stress has been identified in collaboration with the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm (Sweden). This is the protein secretagogin ...

New research supporting stroke rehabilitation

Nov 26, 2014

Using world-leading research methods, the team of Dr David Wright and Prof Paul Holmes, working with Dr Jacqueline Williams from the Victoria University in Melbourne, studied activity in an area of the brain ...

User comments

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.