International Stroke Conference 2008 News Releases

The International Stroke Conference 2008 was held last February 20 – 22 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The following excerpts were the news releases from the conference.

Stroke risk factors may signal faster cognitive decline in elderly

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 22   —  Older Americans with the highest risk of stroke, but those who have never suffered a stroke, also have the highest rate of cognitive decline, researchers reported at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2008.

“Everyone knows that people lose some cognitive function as they age,” said George Howard, Dr.P.H., the principal investigator of the ongoing study.  “We found that people at high risk of stroke, decline twice as fast as those persons considered at low-risk.”

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Stroke more prevalent in United States than in Europe

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 22 – American adults have a higher prevalence of stroke than their European counterparts, due in part to a higher rate of stroke risk factors among Americans and barriers to care in the United States, according to a study presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2008.

Compared to European men,  U.S. men had 61 percent higher odds of having a stroke and U.S. women had almost twice the odds of stroke as European women.

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Moderate level of aerobic fitness may lower stroke risk

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 21 — A moderate level of aerobic fitness can significantly reduce stroke risk for men and women, according to a large, long-running study presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2008.

“Fitness has a protective effect regardless of the presence or absence of other stroke risk factors, including family history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels and high body mass index,” said Steven Hooker, Ph.D., the study’s lead author.

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Daytime dozing linked to increased stroke risk in elderly

NEW ORLEANS, Feb.21 — Regular daytime dozing forewarns of a significantly increased risk of stroke in older Americans, researchers reported at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2008.

Stroke risk was two- to four-fold greater in those with moderate dozing.  This suggests that daytime dozing “may be an important and novel stroke risk factor,” said Bernadette Boden-Albala, Ph.D., lead author of the study.

In this study, dozing refers to a person unintentionally falling asleep.

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Calls to doctor’s office may delay stroke treatment

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 20 – Calling a primary care doctor instead of 9-1-1 at the first sign of a stroke can delay patients from reaching an emergency room during the most critical period — the first three hours after onset of stroke symptoms, researchers reported at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2008.

In two separate studies, one in the United States and the other in Australia, investigators found possible significant delays when doctors’ offices were called first.  Calling an emergency number or an ambulance is the quickest way to reach a hospital within the three-hour window of opportunity for acute stroke treatment that can potentially avert serious post-stroke disability.

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Deaths higher in stroke patients who enter hospital at night, weekends

NEW ORLEANS, Feb, 20 – Stroke patients who enter the hospital at night and on weekends are more likely to die in the hospital than those treated during regular business hours and on weekdays, according to two studies presented at the American Heart Association’s International Stroke Conference 2008.

However, regardless of when a symptom may occur, the American Stroke Association urges anyone who may be experiencing stroke symptoms to seek emergency treatment immediately.

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Obesity linked to stroke increase among middle-aged women

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 20 — Middle-aged women’s waists aren’t the only thing that increased in the last decade.   So did their chance of stroke.   In a new study reported at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2008, rising obesity rates have been linked to more strokes among women aged 35 to 54.

A previous analysis of stroke prevalence rates in the United States from 1999 to 2004 revealed that women in their midlife years were more than twice as likely as men of similar age to report having had a stroke, said Amytis Towfighi, M.D., an assistant professor in the Neurology Department at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, Calif.

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Source: American Heart Association / American Stroke Association

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