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Cognitive Test May Predict Brain Infarction in Elderly Men

High Trail Making Test-B scores associated with tripled risk of brain infarction over 13 years

TUESDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- In elderly men, impaired performance on a cognitive test is an independent predictor of brain infarction, according to a study published in the Feb. 2 issue of Neurology.

Bernice Wiberg, M.D., of Uppsala University in Sweden, and colleagues used the Trail Making Tests (TMT) A and B and the Mini-Mental State Examination to assess 930 70-year-old men who had no history of stroke or transient ischemic attack. During 13 years of follow-up, 166 men developed a stroke or transient ischemic attack, and 105 had a brain infarction.

The researchers found that each standard deviation increase in TMT-B time was associated with an increased risk of brain infarction (hazard ratio, 1.48), and that men in the highest quartile of TMT-B scores had a more than tripled risk of brain infarction compared to men in the lowest quartile.

"Our results indicate that the risk of brain infarction is increased already in the subclinical phase of milder cognitive dysfunction, which may be an indicator of unrecognized cerebrovascular injury," the authors conclude. "TMT-B is an easily accessible cognitive test for clinical use. Further studies are warranted, examining if treatment of cerebrovascular risk factors in patients with high [a] TMT-B score may reduce the risk of stroke/transient ischemic attack."

One author reported a financial relationship with AstraZeneca.

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