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'Mini-Stroke' May Lead To Post-Traumatic Stress: Study

Update Date: Oct 03, 2014 09:10 AM EDT

A 'mini-stroke' might increase the risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a new study. 

Transient ischemic attack (TIA), like stroke, is caused by restricted blood supply to the brain, which often lasts less than five minutes. It doesn't cause permanent damage to brain. 

"We found one in three TIA patients develop PTSD," said Kathrin Utz, Ph.D., a study author and post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Neurology at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany, in the press release.

"PTSD, which is perhaps better known as a problem found in survivors of war zones and natural disasters, can develop when a person experiences a frightening event that poses a serious threat."

The study is first to analyze if a TIA and the knowledge of an increased risk for stroke can lead patients to develop psychiatric problems, the press release added. 

"Patients who use certain types of coping strategies, such as denying the problem, blaming themselves for any difficulties or turning to drugs for comfort, face a greater risk of developing PTSD after TIA," Utz said.

"It is not yet entirely clear why some people develop PTSD following a TIA, but others do not. However, what we do know at this stage is that younger patients and patients who in general find it difficult to cope with stress are more likely to develop psychological problems following a TIA."

The study has been published in the journal Stroke.

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