Stroke causes long-term cognitive problems

New U-M research study finds that stroke causes long-term cognitive problems—even more reason to take measures to prevent stroke.

New U-M research study finds that stroke causes long-term cognitive problems—even more reason to take measures to prevent stroke.

A new University of Michigan study finds that our memory and thinking ability keep getting worse for years after a stroke. We talked with the lead author of the study to find out more.

Lead author Deborah A. Levine, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Michigan Medical School and VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System and her U-M colleagues used data from 23,572 Americans aged 45 years or older from the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study led by the University of Alabama at Birmingham and funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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4 things you should know about the FDA ban on trans fats

What does it really mean for you?

trans fat blogAfter years of debate in the medical community and the media, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided to put its proverbial foot down, announcing in June that partially hydrogenated oils (PHO), the major dietary source of trans fats in processed foods, must be eliminated from all food products by the year 2018. This comes on the heels of a 2006 FDA mandate to include trans fats on the Nutrition Facts label, and a 2013 decision that deemed PHOs no longer “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS).

Here are 4 things you should know relating to the FDA ban on trans fats:

What Are PHOs?

So what is this stuff anyway? PHOs are artificial trans fats that are widespread in processed foods like refrigerated dough products, fast food, crackers, microwave popcorn, cakes, cookies, pies, coffee creamers and stick margarines. They are attractive to food manufacturers because they prolong shelf life and give a desirable consistency Continue reading

Do you know your risk for an aortic aneurysm?

There are often no symptoms associated with an aortic aneurysm, so it's important to know your health history

Abdominal aortic aneurysmAn aortic aneurysm generally doesn’t cause symptoms until a patient has a significant problem. Most aortic aneurysms are detected by chance — for example, through an imaging test that was ordered to rule out other health concerns.

This is why it’s so important to know your health history. Does someone in your family have an aneurysm? Has a family member died from an aneurysm or experienced a catastrophic event due to an aneurysm? If so, these are indications that you and members of your family should be tested. The key is to know your risk(s) for an aortic aneurysm to reduce your chances of stroke or sudden death. Continue reading

Strokes Steal 8 Years of Brain Function

Human brain injury or damage and neurological loss or losing memory and intelligence due to physical concussion trauma and head injury or alzheimer disease caused by aging with red gears and cogs in the shape of a thinking mind.

A new study shows that having a stroke ages a person’s memory and brain function by almost 8 years

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

Top 5 Takeaways on Diseases of the Aorta and Veins

Dr. Dawn Coleman shares information from Mini Med School presentation

mini_med_school_cardiovascular_graphic diseases blogLeading U-M Frankel CVC researchers and physicians are advancing knowledge, finding new treatments and applying new technologies. Each week one of them shared his or her expertise in a six-week Mini Med School community education program focused on cardiovascular topics.

Here are the Top 5 Takeaways from Dr. Dawn Coleman’s Mini Med School presentation on Diseases of the Aorta and Veins:

1. Surgery for AAA is a solid option

Open surgical repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) remains a durable option for patients; endovascular measures with stent graft technology continue to evolve, offering expanded indications for use with complex anatomy and a lower risk of early death and major complication. Continue reading

Stroke Prevention Tips

Many strokes are avoidable

Stroke skull imageStroke is now the 4th leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in America with more than 800,000 people suffering a stroke every year. Because I’m a stroke neurologist, many people ask me how to prevent stroke.

Best stroke prevention

The best advice is:

  • Maintain good blood pressure (probably the most powerful way to prevent stroke)
  • Control other vascular conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol
  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid second-hand smoke
  • Exercise
  • Eat well
  • Don’t consume too much alcohol

In some types of stroke, family history plays a role; unfortunately, that is one influence that patients cannot control.  Continue reading