elderly stroke patient and speech therapist

Forms of post-stroke cognitive impairment can increase the likelihood of a second stroke, according to a new study published in the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases.

Researchers found that impaired language was associated with a 35% increased risk of stroke recurrence, orientation impairment was associated with a 41% increase in stroke recurrence and impaired attention was associated with a 34% increase in risk of all-cause mortality. 

“This research highlights the importance of cognitive testing of patients around 3 months after stroke to better  identify those at higher risk of stroke recurrence and death,”  study co-author Zurab Nadareishvili, MD, of the George Washington University Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation, said in a statement. “Further research is needed to better understand how these cognitive impairments increase the risk of stroke, and more work should be done to better identify how to best treat patients at a higher risk.”  

Stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked by a clock or is ruptured. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of disability in the United States, according to the American Stroke Association. It’s estimated nearly 800,000 Americans suffer strokes annually.