An estimated 700,000 strokes occur each year in the United States, making stroke the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of neurologic disability. Almost a third of strokes occur in people under the age of 65, according to background information in the article. Measurement of inflammatory markers has been reported to identify individuals at increased risk for ischemic stroke, which develops when a blood vessel supplying blood to an area of the brain becomes blocked by a blood clot.
Christie M. Ballantyne, M.D., of Baylor College of Medicine and Methodist DeBakey Heart Center, Houston, Texas, and colleagues examined levels of two inflammatory markers--C-reactive protein (CRP) and the enzyme lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2)--to determine if they are associated with increased risk for incident ischemic stroke. The researchers conducted a prospective case-cohort study of 12,762 apparently healthy middle-aged men and women in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, who were observed for about six years. The final sample size for the analysis was 960, including 194 ischemic stroke cases and 766 non-cases.
The authors report that levels of Lp-PLA2 and CRP were higher in middle-aged Americans who subsequently had an ischemic stroke than in those who did not.
"Mean Lp-PLA2 and CRP levels adjusted for sex, race, and age were higher in the 194 stroke cases than the 766 non-cases, whereas low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) level was not significantly different," the authors write.
"Individuals with high levels of both CRP and Lp-PLA2 w
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