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News tips from the June issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association

Changes in retina linked to poorer cognitive function, dementia

DALLAS, June 7 Abnormalities in tiny branches of retinal blood vessels might serve as an early warning system for dementias associated with Alzheimer's disease, stroke, and other diseases, researchers report in the June issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

In the study of more than 8,000 middle-aged people who had not suffered a stroke, those with impaired mental function were about three times more likely to have abnormalities in the retinal vessels, called arterioles.

"There has been a hypothesis for some time that some vascular cause other than the aging process itself was associated with Alzheimer's and stroke," says Tien Yin Wong, M.D., M.P.H. "This study shows that people with cognitive dementia are more likely to have pathological changes in the retinal vessels, which may be a reflection of similar pathological changes in the brain."

Retinal examination could potentially provide an inexpensive, noninvasive way to diagnose and evaluate vascular dementia in the general population, says Wong, a researcher and professor of ophthalmology at the Singapore National Eye Center and National University of Singapore.

Previous research by this group found that retinal abnormalities predict stroke independently of traditional risk factors. The study was funded in part by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Low vitamin C intake linked with stroke risk

DALLAS, June 7 Low vitamin C concentration in the blood stream may be a risk factor for stroke, especially among hypertensive and overweight men, Finnish researchers report in the June issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Men with blood vitamin C levels in the lowest quarter [less than 28.4 micromoles per liter (umol/L)] had a 2.1 times higher risk of any type of stroke compared with men in the highest quarter (more tha
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Contact: Carole Bullock
carole.bullock@heart.org
214-706-1279
American Heart Association
6-Jun-2002


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