Depression Impacts Stroke Survivors

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DURHAM, N.C., (UPI) — Depression is more prevalent among those who suffer stroke and transient ischemic attack than in the general population, U.S. researchers said.

Dr. Nada El Husseini of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., analyzed 1,450 adults with ischemic stroke — blockage of a blood vessel in the brain — and 397 with transient ischemic attack.

The study, published in the journal Stroke, found three months after hospitalization, depression affected 17.9 percent of stroke patients and 14.4 percent of transient ischemic attack patients. At 12 months, depression affected 16.4 percent of stroke patients and 12.8 percent of transient ischemic attack patients.

“The similar rates of depression following stroke and transient ischemic attack could be due to similarities in the rates of other medical conditions or to the direct effects of brain injury on the risk of depression, but more studies are needed,” El Husseini, the study author, said in a statement.

“Patients need to be open about their symptoms of depression and discuss them with their physicians so that they can work together to improve outcomes. It is important for physicians to screen for depression on follow-up after both stroke and transient ischemic attack.”

Nearly 70 percent of stroke and transient ischemic attack patients with persistent depression still weren’t treated with antidepressant therapy at either the three- or 12-month intervals, the study said.

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