News / Health

Silent Strokes Tied to Memory Loss Among Older Adults

A massive stroke - when a blood vessel in the brain bursts - can leave someone paralyzed, mute or dead. The World Health Organization says at least six million people died from strokes in 2008 alone. But not everyone recognizes when they've had a mild stroke, which may not cause any symptoms. New research indicates these so-called ‘silent’ strokes affect more people than previously thought. And they can cause memory loss in one out of four older adults.

The results of a stroke are painfully evident as this patient struggles to get out of a wheelchair and walk again.

Sudden numbness, physical weakness, difficulty speaking and comprehending and loss of balance are all common symptoms.

Stroke patients lucky enough to get to an emergency room in time often get the right treatment, and with physical therapy, manage to recover some of the motor skills they once had.

But scientists have found that a silent stroke, with no obvious symptoms, is often not diagnosed or treated as quickly. The patient continues daily routines, unaware that something has happened inside the brain. The damage is detected only when the patient undergoes a special MRI imaging procedure.

Silent Strokes Tied to Memory Loss Among Older Adults
Silent Strokes Tied to Memory Loss Among Older Adults
In this scan of a patient who has had two strokes, the arrows point to dark holes filled with fluid. Neuropsychologist Adam Brickman at the Columbia University School of Medicine, says these dark spots were once healthy cells killed by blood clots traveling to the brain.

Silent Strokes Tied to Memory Loss Among Older Adults
Silent Strokes Tied to Memory Loss Among Older Adults
The hippocampus - the red block in another section of the brain - controls memory, and may also be affected by a stroke.

“When we see memory changes in aging, we usually attribute those changes to some sort of functional change or structural change in the hippocampus. What we found was that in silent strokes, the presence of strokes in the brain was also related to memory functioning,” Brickman said.

Brickman and his colleagues studied a group of more than 650 men and women 65 years and older with no previous signs of dementia or severe memory loss. They underwent MRI brain scans, as well as tests to measure their ability to absorb information. Previous studies had found that changes in the size of the hippocampus and strokes were related to cognitive functioning, but Brickman says this research confirms a strong link between silent strokes and a decline in memory.

"What our study shows is that they're both independently related to memory functioning, and that's a new observation," Brickman explained.

The MRI scans identified silent strokes in one fourth of the participants who also did not do as well on memory tests. The researchers hope to follow the group in coming year, watching for signs of Alzheimer’s Disease, the most serious form of dementia.



You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid