Postmenopausal women may be at higher risk of having a stroke than they think.
A new study by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center and colleagues found that traditional risk factors for stroke – such as high cholesterol – are not as accurate at predicting risk in postmenopausal women as previously thought. Instead, researchers say doctors should refocus their attention on triglyceride levels to determine which women are at highest risk of suffering a devastating and potentially fatal cardiovascular event. The study appears online today in the journal Stroke.
"Every year, hundreds of thousands of people are affected by stroke and there is a tremendous emphasis on identifying people at increased risk," said lead author Jeffrey S. Berger, MD, assistant professor of medicine and director of Cardiovascular Thrombosis at NYU School of Medicine, part of NYU Langone Medical Center. "This study revealed that what we've been using to evaluate risk all these years actually has little to no predictive value in older women. Triglyceride levels, however, take on a new significance. "
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year. Ischemic strokes, the type assessed in this study, account for more than eight out of every ten strokes. They occur when blood clots, developing from high levels of a waxy substance in the blood called cholesterol, obstruct blood vessels to the brain. Cholesterol is made up of several lipids, or lipoproteins. Triglycerides are one type of such a lipoprotein, while others include low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL)."
"We've always believed that total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels were the most important biomarkers for identifying stroke risk, but this study gives us strong evidence to question that approach," Dr. Berger said.
The researchers analyzed data from the Hormones and Biomarkers Predicting Stroke (HaBPS) study, consisting of women enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), a landmark National Institutes of Health-sponsored study that has monitored the health of more than 90,000 postmenopausal women nationwide for more than 15 years. HaBPS is comprised of the first 972 women who experienced an ischemic stroke while participating in the WHI. These women were matched with a control group of 972 participants who had not had strokes. All the women had donated blood samples when they first enrolled in the WHI, and these samples were then analyzed for differences in lipid biomarkers.
The most compelling finding, according to Dr. Berger, was that high triglyceride levels were significantly associated with the development of stroke. In fact, women in the highest quarter of baseline triglyceride levels were nearly twice as likely to have suffered an ischemic stroke as women in the lowest quarter of triglyceride levels during the course of the study. Surprisingly, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol, however, were not associated with stroke risk in this population, despite their perceived value in the medical community.
Whether the strong association between triglycerides and stroke would also be seen in other populations is still unknown. "This is only the first step. It's a really important step, but it's not the end of the story," Dr. Berger said. "While this study identifies subjects at increased risk of ischemic stroke, the long term goal is to reduce that risk. Future studies aimed at lowering triglyceride levels for reducing the risk of stroke are warranted."
About NYU School of Medicine:
NYU School of Medicine is one of the nation's preeminent academic institutions dedicated to achieving world class medical educational excellence. For 170 years, NYU School of Medicine has trained thousands of physicians and scientists who have helped to shape the course of medical history and enrich the lives of countless people. An integral part of NYU Langone Medical Center, the School of Medicine at its core is committed to improving the human condition through medical education, scientific research and direct patient care. The School also maintains academic affiliations with area hospitals, including Bellevue Hospital, one of the nation's finest municipal hospitals where its students, residents and faculty provide the clinical and emergency care to New York City's diverse population, which enhances the scope and quality of their medical education and training. Additional information about the NYU School of Medicine is available at http://school.med.nyu.edu/
Jessica Guenzel | EurekAlert!
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences