According to a study which will be published in the journal Stroke in July the brain of people who have suffered a stroke seems to be 7.9 years older overnight. The research was conducted by experts from the VA Centre for Clinical Management Research, the School of Public Health in Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan U-M Medical School.
The study was conducted on more than 4,900 participants who were both white and black and were over 65 years old. The study included data from two sources: detailed surveys and Medicare records. All in all the study contained years of data from an extensive national study which was performed on senior US individuals cross-referenced with Medicare records of the same persons. The data included measurements of thinking speed and memory tests.
The first detailed surveys and examinations were performed in 1998 and the new ones in 2012. The researchers narrowed the investigation on participants who did not suffer from dementia or other illnesses which involved cognitive impairment. They used data about individuals who had a history of stroke within the period of 12 years of the study. This means 6.7% of the white participants and 7.5% of the black ones.
The investigators identified and compared changes in the performance which patients showed on cognitive tests before they had experienced a stroke and afterwards. Over the period of time between 1998 and 2012 the tests were repeated. The findings indicated that participants who were affected by stroke performed noticeably worse. In the tests they scored as if their brains were 7.9 years older than in reality.
Past studies show that black elderly people are twice more prone to experience cognitive decline in comparison with non-Hispanic white people. However this study also indicates that there was no important change regarding the extent in the case of black and white participants. This proves that cognition and memory in older people across races is not based on whether one had suffered from stroke or not.
The lead author of the study Dr Deborah Levine assistant professor at U-M Medical School remarked:
“Although we found that stroke does not explain the difference, these results show the amount of cognitive aging that stroke brings on, and therefore the importance of stroke prevention to reduce the risk of cognitive decline.”
Experts say that irrespective of the race people should take measures and prevent stroke since it has severe effects on the brain function. Such factors which should be taken into account include physical activities, smoking, blood sugar regulation, blood pressure and the cholesterol level.
Image Source: io9