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Does Weather Play a Role in Stroke? Meteorological Study Reveals an Association

Denver, Colo. – Researchers have found an association between weather and the occurrence of stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA). Results of the 14-year longitudinal study of 3,289 first-time stroke patients are being presented at the American Academy of Neurology 54th Annual Meeting. Abstract co-author Dominique Minier, MD, Service de Neurologie, Dijon, France, said the researchers recorded weather conditions - temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind strength, and the presence of sun and rain - on the day of the stroke, and five days prior. They compared these meteorological factors with the different types of stroke (ischemic stroke from large or small cerebral arteries, ischemic stroke from embolic heart disease, transient ischemic attack, and hemorrhages) encountered by the Dijon-area patients in the study. Different stroke sub-types appeared to be tied to different weather conditions. "There was a big decline in the number of strokes from an atheroma (a lipid deposited within the blood vessel wall which thickens it and disrupts or reduces blood flow) in the large arteries during the warmer seasons," said Minier. "Further, we observed that there were a greater number of overall strokes and strokes caused by blockage of the large arteries in the brain and heart occurring when there had been a temperature drop five days previously." The researchers also discovered an increase in stroke from blockage of large arteries in the brain or heart during periods of higher air pressure and humidity. The study was supported by INSERM, the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale, and the University of Burgundy, France.

The American Academy of Neurology is the world's largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with 32,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.

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Editor's Notes:Dr. Minier will present the research during a poster presentation on Tuesday, April 16, 2002 at 3:00 p.m. in Exhibit Hall C of the Colorado Convention Center.

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