Study finds racial differences in risk for intracranial atherosclerosis

Black men are at much higher risk for the condition than other groups.
By Amy Wallace  |  Nov. 2, 2017 at 12:52 PM
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Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Researchers have found racial differences in the prevalence and risk factors for intracranial atherosclerotic disease, a major risk factor for stroke.

The study, published today in JAMA Cardiology, found that black men had the highest incidence of ICAD.

Intracranial atherosclerosis disease is a significant cause of stroke in patients causing atherosclerotic lesions in intracranial large arteries.

Researchers analyzed data on 1,752 elderly African-American and white adults age 67 to 90 who participated in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities cohort study who had 3D intracranial vessel wall MRIs between October 2011 and December 2013.

Of the 1,752 participants, 58.4 percent were women and 29.6 percent were black. Results showed that black men had the highest prevalence of ICAD at 50.9 percent, followed 35.9 percent for black women, 35.5 percent for white men and 30.2 percent for white women.

Researchers found that the prevalence of ICAD increased with age in 50 percent of cases occurring before age 68 in black men, age 84 in white men and age 88 in white women.

Hypertension in midlife was also associated with an increased prevalence and larger plaques in patients.

Smoking and type 2 diabetes in mid-life were also strongly linked with late-life ICAD in black patients, but not in white patients.

The racial differences found in the study may contribute to racial differences in stroke rates in the United States, which could provide insights on improving treatment and risk reduction.

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