The study is published in the scientific journal BMC Medicine.
"There appears to be a correlation between stress and stroke, but this needs to be interpreted with great caution. We asked about self-perceived stress among the stroke patients, and there is, of course, a risk of patients who have just had a cerebral infarction remembering incorrectly or over-interpreting with regard to their level of stress, says Katarina Jood, who is a researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy and a neurologist at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.
Nearly 600 patients were asked to complete a questionnaire in this study, no later than ten days after being admitted to Sahlgrenska University Hospital with acute cerebral infarction. In the questionnaire, the patients were asked to choose between six different alternatives to indicate how stressed they had felt before their stroke, from "never been stressed" to "constantly stressed over the past five years". The patients' responses were compared with a healthy control group who were asked the same question.
"We found an independent link between self-perceived psychological stress and stroke. A new finding was that the link between stress and stroke varies between different types of cerebral infarction," says Jood.
The study shows that there is a link to stress in those cases where the stroke is caused by atherosclerosis or to blood clots that have developed locally in the smaller vessels of the brain. The link was also found for those patients in whom it had not been possible to establish the cause of the stroke despite an extensive evaluation. On the other hand, the researchers could not see any independent correlation with stress for those patients who had had a stroke due to a blood clot from the heart.
"We do not know why stress appears to play a greater role in particular types of stroke, but it is an important finding as it prompts further studies on what role stress plays in the development of stroke," says Jood.
Christian Blomstrand, professor emeritus at the Sahlgrenska Academy, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.orgJournal: BMC Medicine
Authors: Katarina Jood, Petra Redfors, Annika Rosengren, Christian Blomstrand and Christina Jern
Clinical research in cooperation Sahlgrenska Academy is the faculty of health sciences at the University of Gothenburg, and Sahlgrenska University Hospital is one of the largest hospitals in Northern Europe. Nearly 300 research projects take place in collaboration between the Academy and the University Hospital. Examples of strong research areas are obesity with cardiovascular research and diabetes, biomaterials, pharmacology, neuroscience, paediatrics, epidemiology, rheumatology and microbiology.
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