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Studies Show Ministrokes May Lead to Dementia

Update Date: Jan 20, 2017 01:56 AM EST

Recent research about ministroke shows that this type of stroke can have a serious effect on a person. Although a ministroke only lasts for a couple of minutes, it can actually lead to dementia. Results of the study suggest 25 to 30 percent of people who experience ministroke or ischemic stroke has a chance to develop vascular Dementia or delayed vascular cognitive impairment.

Stroke has been one of the most common causes of death and disability in the U.S. Ministrokes happen when a person’s artery becomes suddenly blocked by a blood clot. Further studies regarding this type of stroke show that a patient can develop dementia or cognitive decline eventually.

Based on the existing pieces of proof, the Medical University of South Carolina researchers have come to a conclusion that this type of stroke may affect the proper functioning of the patient's brain on a greater percentage. Assistant professor of Neurosciences at MUSC, Andy Shih, Ph.D., led the research team and the results were included in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism.

Shih’s study was implemented by creating a model that his team investigated for a number of weeks. Their investigation proves microinfarcts have a lasting and wider effect on the person’s brain which is enough to damage the brain’s proper circuitry. However, Shih also admitted that they may need more time to do more studies regarding ministrokes because there are not enough good tools today that can properly study a living human’s brain.

One of the solutions that Shih and his team suggest is taking a specific kind of drug that will reduce the damaging impact of a ministroke. “If an MRI shows a person is at high risk for microinfarcts, maybe one day we can put them on a drug for a while to reduce the impacts of these lesions," Shih said.

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