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Cognitive Decline Associated with Increased Stroke Risk — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
August 26, 2014

Cognitive Decline Associated with Increased Stroke Risk

By Kelly Young

Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH

Cognitive decline is associated with an increased risk for future stroke, according to a meta-analysis in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Previous studies have shown that stroke is linked to subsequent cognitive decline.

Researchers looked at 18 studies of more than 120,000 people. During follow-up of at least 1 year, roughly 7800 strokes occurred. Patients with cognitive impairment identified at baseline had a 39% increased risk for stroke, compared with those without cognitive impairment.

The authors write that patients with cognitive decline may have experienced silent brain infarcts, which are linked to stroke. They also say dementia could be caused by underlying vascular disease, which in turn can cause stroke.

The authors conclude: "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."

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