Data from 23,572 Americans from the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study has revealed that those who survived a stroke went on to have significantly faster rates of cognitive decline as they aged.
Participants, who were aged 45 years or older, had no history of cognitive impairment at the beginning of the population-based study. Over the next five to seven years, 515 of them (2%) had a stroke.
Stroke was associated with an acute decline in global cognition, new learning, and verbal memory. Those who had a stroke showed faster declines in global cognition and executive function (but not new learning nor verbal memory) over the next years.
Global cognition was assessed using the Six-Item Screener [SIS]; new learning by the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer Disease Word-List Learning; verbal memory by the Word-List Delayed Recall; executive function by the Animal Fluency Test.
The findings suggest a need for better long-term follow-up care for stroke survivors, including therapy to retain or even regain cognitive ability.
(2015). Trajectory of cognitive decline after incident stroke.
JAMA. 314(1), 41 - 51.