Our society may be benefiting from an era of improved brain health and neurology. According to the findings of a long-term study recently published in the Journal of American Medical Association, stroke incidences across the United States have seen a dramatic decline.The study, conducted by researchers including experts in neurology from a diverse selection of universities and medical institutions, followed over 14,000 participants over the course of more than two decades, from 1987 to 2011. The analysis was designed to chart trends in occurrences of stroke and consequent mortality rates.
The most significant factor that marked the lower rates was the age of the participants. Marked decreases in incidences were most prominent in people over the age of 65, the group most at-risk for strokes. The younger group of participants in the study also displayed reduced rates of mortality following a stroke. The decline in both incidents and deaths were comparable between men and women, as well as between blacks and white.
Various improvements to general public health may account for a large part of the decrease, according to an author of the study. Lower rates of smoking, hypertension, and cholesterol—all major contributors to increased risk of stroke—have helped to bring down incidences and mortality. In the past twenty years, our society has become vastly more educated about the dangers of such risk factors, and better medical technology and healthcare services have made control and treatment more accessible and effective.
Overall progress in the quality of wellness and care in the field of neurology have brought great advances to preventing and treating such conditions. The types of decreases observed by the study is a positive sign regarding many conditions associated with aging. If you or someone you know is at high risk for a stroke or has experienced one, contact a neurologist as soon as possible.
For more information on stroke prevention and health and wellness, explore our resources section for more articles on the topic.