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AHA: Faster Pre-Stroke Memory Decline for Stroke Decedents

Last Updated: February 01, 2012.

Individuals who die from stroke have faster pre-stroke memory decline than stroke survivors or stroke-free adults, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association's International Stroke Conference, held from Feb. 1 to 3 in New Orleans.

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals who die from stroke have faster pre-stroke memory decline than stroke survivors or stroke-free adults, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association's International Stroke Conference, held from Feb. 1 to 3 in New Orleans.

Qianyi Wang, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues compared change in memory in stroke-free elderly, and in elderly before and after stroke, using data from a prospective cohort. Change in memory functioning was measured in participants aged 50 years and older from the Health and Retirement Study in three groups: 1,027 stroke survivors, 499 stroke decedents (who died after stroke and before the next cognitive assessment), and 10,886 participants who remained stroke-free during follow-up.

The investigators found that individuals who went on to survive a stroke had lower memory functioning before the first stroke onset compared with those who remained stroke-free, but there was a similar rate of memory decline in the two groups (−0.034 points/year; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], −0.04 to −0.029, for stroke survivors versus −0.028 points/year; 95 percent CI, −0.031 to −0.025, for stroke-free adults). Significantly faster pre-stroke memory decline was seen for stroke decedents (−0.118 points/year; 95 percent CI, −0.155 to −0.079). For stroke survivors, there was an average memory decline of 0.157 points (95 percent CI, −0.199 to −0.116) at stroke onset, comparable to 5.6 years of age-related decline in stroke-free participants. The rate of memory decline in stroke survivors accelerated slightly in the years following stroke to −0.038 points/year (95 percent CI, −0.048 to −0.03), compared with the pre-stroke rate of decline.

"Pre-stroke rate of memory decline among future stroke survivors was similar to age-related memory decline in adults who remained stroke-free, but those who died after stroke had faster memory decline," the authors write.

Abstract No. 31
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