Teen years may be critical in later stroke risk, research finds

April 24, 2013, American Academy of Neurology

The teenage years may be a key period of vulnerability related to living in the "stroke belt" when it comes to future stroke risk, according to a new study published in the April 24, 2013, online issue of Neurology.

More people have strokes and die of strokes in the southeastern area known as the stroke belt than in the rest of the United States. So far, research has shown that only part of the difference can be explained by traditional risk factors such as diabetes and . Previous studies have shown that people who are born in the stroke belt but no longer lived there in continue to have a higher risk of stroke, along with people who were born outside the stroke belt but lived there in adulthood.

The current study looked at how long people lived in the stroke belt and their ages when they lived there throughout life to see if any age period was most critical in influencing future stroke risk.

Data came from the REasons for Geographic And in Stroke (REGARDS) study, a national random sample of the general population with more people selected from the stroke belt. The study involved 24,544 people with an average age of 65 who had never had a stroke at the start of the study, with 57 percent currently living in the stroke belt and 43 percent from the rest of the country. The study tracked each person's moves from birth to present, with some people moving into or out of the stroke belt. The participants were then followed for an average of 5.8 years. During that time, 615 people had a first stroke.

After adjusting for , only living in the stroke belt during the teenage years was associated with a higher risk of stroke. People who spent their teenage years in the stroke belt were 17 percent more likely to have a stroke in later years than people who did not spend their teenage years in the stroke belt. Across all age periods, 0Tliving in the increased the risk about two-fold for African-Americans compared to Caucasians.

"This study suggests that strategies to prevent need to start early in life," said study author Virginia J. Howard, PhD, of the School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "Many social and behavioral risk factors, such as smoking, are set in place during the , and teens are more exposed to external influences and gain the knowledge to challenge or reaffirm their childhood habits and lifestyle."

Explore further: Even outside 'stroke belt,' African-Americans face higher mortality

Related Stories

Even outside 'stroke belt,' African-Americans face higher mortality

September 1, 2011
African-Americans and country folk outside the so-called “stroke belt” are at higher risk for stroke death than other populations, a large new study finds.

Depressed stroke survivors may face triple the risk of death

January 11, 2013
People who are depressed after a stroke may have a tripled risk of dying early and four times the risk of death from stroke than people who have not experienced a stroke or depression, according to a study released today ...

Cognitive decline incidence higher in Southern stroke belt

May 26, 2011
New research shows that residents of the Stroke Belt—a southern portion of the U.S. with significantly elevated stroke morality rate—also have a greater incidence of cognitive decline than other regions of the country. ...

Recommended for you

Cognitive training helps regain a younger-working brain

January 23, 2018
Relentless cognitive decline as we age is worrisome, and it is widely thought to be an unavoidable negative aspect of normal aging. Researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas, however, ...

Lifting the veil on 'valence,' brain study reveals roots of desire, dislike

January 23, 2018
The amygdala is a tiny hub of emotions where in 2016 a team led by MIT neuroscientist Kay Tye found specific populations of neurons that assign good or bad feelings, or "valence," to experience. Learning to associate pleasure ...

Your brain responses to music reveal if you're a musician or not

January 23, 2018
How your brain responds to music listening can reveal whether you have received musical training, according to new Nordic research conducted in Finland (University of Jyväskylä and AMI Center) and Denmark (Aarhus University).

New neuron-like cells allow investigation into synthesis of vital cellular components

January 22, 2018
Neuron-like cells created from a readily available cell line have allowed researchers to investigate how the human brain makes a metabolic building block essential for the survival of all living organisms. A team led by researchers ...

Finding unravels nature of cognitive inflexibility in fragile X syndrome

January 22, 2018
Mice with the genetic defect that causes fragile X syndrome (FXS) learn and remember normally, but show an inability to learn new information that contradicts what they initially learned, shows a new study by a team of neuroscientists. ...

Epilepsy linked to brain volume and thickness differences

January 22, 2018
Epilepsy is associated with thickness and volume differences in the grey matter of several brain regions, according to new research led by UCL and the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

0 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.