survivors have twice the risk of dementia
compared to stroke-free men and women of the same age, according to a study published in today’s rapid access issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.
“The risk of dementia increases dramatically with advancing age. Our results show that sustaining a stroke increases this risk even further,” said lead author Cristina S. Ivan, M.D. a fellow in stroke and cerebrovascular disorders at the Boston Medical Center. “Dementia is a growing problem because of the aging of the population, particularly the ‘baby boomers’.”
Data for this research comes from a subset of the original participants in the Framingham Study, the nation’s longest-running investigation of risk factors for heart and blood vessel disease. The subjects – predominantly white men and women from the Framingham, Mass., area – began undergoing surveillance for stroke in 1950 and for dementia in 1975. The current study compared 212 men and women who had a stroke between 1982 and 2001 with 1,060 controls who were stroke-free. None of the people with stroke had dementia prior to the stroke.
“Dementia developed in 19.3 percent of the stroke cases and in 11 percent of the controls. Having a stroke doubled the risk of dementia. Adjusting for age, sex, education and exposure to individual stroke risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking did not diminish the risk,” Ivan said.