A new study, whose results are to be published in next month’s issue of the journal Stroke, revealed that a stroke adds and extra eight years to your brain function, making it much older than it really is.
The researchers from the VA Center for Clinical Management Research and the University of Michigan, who worked together to carry out the study, looked at the data collected from 4,900 people who were all over 65.
The results showed that the memory and thinking speed of both the black and the white participants in the study who had suffered a stroke and had to take a specific test, had declined as if they were 7.9 years older. On average, there was no difference between the black and white participants regarding the number of years added to their brain function.
The study made use of detailed surveys that were conducted over many years and it was part of a larger study involving older U.S. residents who used Medicare data. However, these researchers only looked at those participants who hadn’t suffered from a stroke recently but had a documented stroke within 12 years after their first cognitive test and survey in 1998. These represented 7.5 percent black people and 6.7 percent white participants.
The researchers looked at the effects a stroke had on the brain function by analyzing the changes in test scores from 1998 to 2012.
The lack of differences between black and white people are surprising for the experts, given the fact that past research shows that senior black people have twice more cognitive problems than white people belonging to the same age category.
However, the results also represent a warning for people to try to reduce the risk of stroke no matter what ethnicity they belong to.
“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,” said lead study Author Dr. Deborah Levine, who is an assistant professor at U-M Medical School.
Some preventive measures to avoid having a stroke include having a healthy lifestyle and undergoing the appropriate medical care. Thus, avoiding smoking, keeping your cholesterol levels and blood pressure under control, doing exercise and eating healthy are just a few things that you can do to avoid having a stroke.
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