Educated people with memory lapses at higher risk for stroke

When people with higher education levels suffer memory lapses, they may be at a higher risk of suffering a stroke, according to a study at Erasmus University in Rotterdam in The Netherlands.

The research, published in the journal Stroke, found that such people had a 39 percent greater risk of stroke than people with a lower level of education.

The scientists tracked 9,000 healthy Rotterdam participants ages 55 or older for 20 years and the research included a questionnare. By 2012, 1,134 had suffered a stroke, and that was more likely to happen to people who early in the study had mentioned memory lapses.

A mechanism known as cognitive reserve, helps the brain protect itself against damage, cognitive loss, and diseases like dementia. It has been found that it generally takes longer for damage to occur in those with higher education, which means their mechanism is stronger.

But, according to the researchers, when people with a higher education complain of memory loss early on, they may have either lost the mechanism altogether, or it may signal brain damage has begun to reach past a point where the mechanism can provide protection. The scientists say earlier memory complaints may be a key warning sign of stroke in those with higher education, and should be monitored closely. 

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Sourced from: BBC News, Memory lapses in well-educated may signal stroke risk