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Gender Affects Heritability of Stroke

Women with female relatives who experienced ischemic stroke have a higher stroke risk

THURSDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Women with female relatives who experienced an ischemic stroke are at higher risk of having a stroke than men with affected relatives, independent of traditional risk factors, according to the results of a study published online Dec. 22 in the Lancet Neurology.

Peter M. Rothwell, F.R.C.P., and Emmanuel Touze, M.D., from the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford, U.K., examined the role of gender in the heritability of ischemic stroke using data on 806 probands from a population-based study.

The researchers found that women were more likely to have an affected first-degree relative (odds ratio, 1.4), which was almost entirely due to having more affected female relatives. Women were more likely to have a history of stroke in mothers rather than fathers (OR, 1.8) and in sisters rather than brothers (OR, 3.1). Among affected females, there was a correlation between age at first stroke and having more affected female relatives. Traditional risk factors and stroke subtype did not affect the results, the investigators found.

"Heritability of ischemic stroke is greater in women than in men, with an excess of affected mothers and affected sisters in female probands independent of traditional vascular risk factors, which could be explained by sex-specific genetic, epigenetic, or non-genetic mechanisms," Rothwell and Touze conclude.

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