New studies by British and French researchers show quick treatment for minor strokes can dramatically cut the risk of major strokes later.

The research, published in the journals Lancet and Lancet Neurology, found that patients treated within 24 hours for so-called mini-strokes cut the later risk of a major stroke by about 80 percent.

Oxford researcher Peter Rothwell says the vast majority of British stroke patients wait several weeks before reporting mini-stroke symptoms to health care professionals.

The second study by French researchers also found that the early, aggressive treatment of mini-strokes brought similar benefits.

Strokes occur when blood flow to the brain is blocked. Such events kill brain tissue and are one of the leading causes of death or permanent disability worldwide.

Symptoms include facial numbness, slurred speech, partial paralysis and sudden headaches. Treatments include blood thinning drugs and anti-cholesterol medications.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.