Research Highlights the Prevalence of and Common Risk Factors for Post-Stroke Cognitive Impairment

Research Highlights the Prevalence of and Common Risk Factors for Post-Stroke Cognitive Impairment
Research Highlights the Prevalence of and Common Risk Factors for Post-Stroke Cognitive Impairment

HEIDI DOUGLASS | h.douglass@unsw.edu.au

Latest research led by the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) at UNSW Sydney has identified global prevalence and common risk factors for cognitive impairment following a stroke.

The research, published in Neurology, harmonised data from 13 international studies from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and the USA as part of the Stroke and Cognition Consortium (STROKOG). Led by CHeBA, STROKOG is an international collaboration which brings together post-stroke cohort studies. By performing joint analyses on combined datasets, the consortium aims to facilitate a better understanding of the determinants of cognitive decline and dementia after stroke, and to help improve the diagnosis and treatment of post-stroke cognitive disorders.

Jessica Lo, Study Co-ordinator of STROKOG, said this research aimed to address the variability in prevalence estimates and inconsistencies in potential risk factors for post-stroke cognitive impairment across diverse ethno-racial groups and geographical regions.

“This study is significant for practicing neurologists and clinicians because it presents a comprehensive profile of the cognitive performance of patients after stroke from around the world,” said Ms Lo.

“Based on 3,146 patients admitted to hospital for stroke, we found that 44% were impaired in global cognition and 30 to 35% in each of five cognitive domains two to six months after stroke,” said Ms Lo.

Diabetes and a history of past stroke were strongly associated with poorer cognitive function.

Co-Director of the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing and co-author on the research, Professor Perminder Sachdev, said that the research warranted attention in the development of prevention strategies.

“This research confirms that, globally, prevalence of impaired cognitive function is consistently high across diverse populations in stroke survivors, with diabetes being an important and independent risk factor for post-stroke cognitive impairment,” said Professor Sachdev.

This research was supported by the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation (VFFF) and the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia Program Grant. The funding sources were not involved with the study design, analysis or interpretation of data.

Established in 2012, STROKOG is one of four international consortia led by CHeBA to investigate risk and protective factors for dementia incidence and healthy brain ageing world-wide. Support for the consortia research is driven by CHeBA’s major philanthropic initiative, The Dementia Momentum.  Spokesman for The Dementia Momentum and Chairman of IPH Limited & FBR Limited, Richard Grellman AM says CHeBA is in an excellent position to make a world-wide difference to prevention, earlier diagnosis, and earlier and more effective interventions for dementia and related illnesses.

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