A new study from the University of Michigan shows that having a stroke ages a person’s memory and brain function by almost eight years. Stroke, a publication of the American Heart Association, will publish the results in its July issue. The study team comprised members of the University of Michigan Medical School and School of Public Health and the VA Center for Clinical Management Research. The National Institutes of Health funded the study.
We talked with Deborah A. Levine, M.D., MPH, lead author of the study and a University of Michigan Medical School assistant professor, to learn more about the study and her thoughts on stroke prevention.
What was the effect of stroke on brain function?
We found that having a stroke meant that our participants’ score on a 27-item test of memory and thinking speed dropped as much as it would have if they had aged 7.9 years.
By measuring participants’ changes in cognitive test scores over time—from 1998 to 2012—we could see that both blacks and whites did significantly worse on the test after their stroke. Continue reading