BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Memory problems and other cognitive declines may signal increased stroke risk, a U.S. researcher says.
Abraham Letter of the University of Alabama at Birmingham says those who scored in the bottom 20 percent on the memory test were 3.5 times more likely to have a stroke than those scoring in the top 20 percent.
Letter and colleagues also found at age 50, those who scored in the bottom 20 percent of the memory test were 9.4 times more likely to later have a stroke than those in the top 20 percent, but the difference was not as large at older ages.
"This study shows we might get a better idea of who is at high risk of stroke by including a couple simple tests when we are evaluating people who already have some stroke risk," Letter says in a statement.
Letter and colleagues tested people -- average age of 67 -- who had never had a stroke and then tracked them by phone up to 4.5 years. A total of 17,851 people took a word recall memory test.
The findings are scheduled to be presented in Honolulu at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in April.