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Neurology Patients With Stroke and Dementia Receive Inadequate Care

Posted by floriza in Neurology

A study conducted at the University of Toronto in Canada and published in the November 2011 issue of the journal, Neurology, has found that patients who are diagnosed with both dementia and stroke rarely receive adequate care for both. The study was funded by the Canadian Stroke Network.

The neurology researchers evaluated the data of 9,304 patients from the Registry of the Canadian Stroke Network, all of whom had suffered strokes. Seven hundred two of the patients also had dementia prior to their stroke. The data was from July 2003 to September 2008 and included patients who had been admitted to a dozen different stroke centers within the province of Ontario.

The data showed that the majority of the patients with dementia were women who had other medical diagnoses as well, such as atrial fibrillation. These women also tended to have strokes that were more severe.

The 702 patients with dementia generally stayed in the hospital longer than those without dementia, and more of them developed complications such as pneumonia. These patients were 35 percent more likely to need full-time nursing home care after they were released from the hospital than the patients without dementia.

In their article, the neurologists stated that they believe more studies need to be conducted to determine the specifics of care that these patients require. Then, guidelines could be put into place to make sure that patients with dementia who also suffer strokes are given proper care with both diagnoses taken into account. This is especially important since an aging population means that more of these cases will present themselves to the medical establishment.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke is caused by a blocked blood clot in a blood vessel or artery. As a result, blood does not properly flow to the brain. The portion of the brain that does not receive blood can be quickly damaged. Sometimes, this damage can repair itself, and sometimes, it cannot. The damage occurs because brain cells die when they do not receive blood flow.

Each area of the brain governs a particular type of memory, movement, or speech capability. As a result of a stroke, the patient can lose memories or movement or speech abilities temporarily or permanently based on where the brain damage occurs, as well as the extent of the damage.

Large strokes can cause paralysis or death, while small strokes may cause only a small amount of weakness in a limb, for example.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is a condition in which an individual loses the ability to function cognitively in the world and intellectually process day-to-day life. Alzheimer’s disease is one form of dementia that is the most well-known, but there are other forms of dementia that are not caused by Alzheimer’s disease. A stroke can cause dementia.

Medical facilities specializing in neurology in New Jersey, New York, and other states provide patients with care related to both strokes and dementia.


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