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Traumatic brain injury associated with stroke risk

Wednesday June 26, 2013
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People with traumatic brain injury may be more likely to have a future stroke, according to a study.

James F. Burke, MD, MS, of the University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System, and colleagues examined the records of adults who went to the ED or were admitted to a hospital for TBI or other trauma with no brain injury in the state of California during a five-year period. As published June 26 on the website of the journal Neurology, a total of 435,630 people with TBI were studied, along with 736,723 people who had trauma but no brain injury.

Over an average of 28 months following the injury, 11,229 people, or 1%, had an ischemic stroke. A total of 1.1% of those with TBI suffered a stroke, compared with 0.9% of those who had trauma but no brain injury.

After adjusting for factors that can affect stroke risk, such as age, hypertension and high cholesterol, and disorders such as heart disease and the severity of the trauma, the researchers found that people with TBI were 30% more likely to develop a stroke than those who had trauma with no brain injury.

"While the stroke risk of one person with TBI is small, the overall link between TBI and stroke was substantial," Burke, a member of the American Academy of Neurology, said in a news release.

Burke said the link is similar in strength to that between hypertension and stroke.

"If further research establishes TBI as a new risk factor for stroke, that would stimulate research to help us understand what causes stroke after TBI and help us learn how to prevent these strokes."

Read the study abstract: www.neurology.org/content/early/2013/06/26/WNL.0b013e318297eecf.abstract.


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