Silent strokes may be linked with worse memory in older people, a study finds.

Reply Sat 31 Dec, 2011 11:46 am
I'm 82 years old. This may be what has cause me to sometimes not being able to find the right word immediately during the last three years. When I went to the doctor three times immediately after noticing symptoms, they could not discover any events. They tested by body but they did not test my brain. Since I had my knee replacement surgery causing four years of severe pain, I've had no more episodes. Could the events have been caused by the pain?---BBB

Silent strokes may be linked with worse memory in older people, a study finds.
By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times
December 30, 2011

Silent strokes, small areas of dead brain tissue, may be responsible for memory loss in older people.

A study, released recently in the journal Neurology, looked at the effects of those silent strokes on memory, as well as hippocampus size. A smaller hippocampus has been linked in some prior studies with memory loss.

Participants included 658 people age 65 and older who had no signs of dementia. They took neuropsychological tests that measured language, information processing speed, memory and visual perception. They were also given MRIs and their hippocampal volume was measured.

Among the study subjects, 174 had silent strokes, so called because they can sometimes go unnoticed, although they can damage the brain. Those strokes were linked with having a smaller hippocampus. But researchers also discovered that the strokes by themselves were associated with doing more poorly on memory tests compared with those who didn't have evidence of silent strokes.

The study authors wrote that brain infarctions are "a largely preventable brain injury with clearly identified risk factors, and prevention programs."

Study co-author Adam M. Brickman of Columbia University Medical Center in New York said in a news release: "Given that conditions like Alzheimer's disease are defined mainly by memory problems, our results may lead to further insight into what causes symptoms and the development of new interventions for prevention. Since silent strokes and the volume of the hippocampus appeared to be associated with memory loss separately in our study, our results also support stroke prevention as a means for staving off memory problems."
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