Sunday, May 6, 2007

Family History and Stroke Risk

This week at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting results from a study were announced. Persons who had a brother or sister who suffered a stroke were almost 2 times as likely to have a stroke. All strokes in the study were due to an occlusion of a blood vessel which either resolved in less than 24 hours (TIA) or not. Of note the risk to Mexican Americans was even higher. Not surprising to me especially because they have a higher rate of metabolic syndrome in their population. Interestingly this risk was almost 3 fold in Mexican American men! My questions are many fold and will be found out over time. What role do hormones play? What about epigenetic changes in sperm? The list goes on forever.

So once again family history rules the day. I hate to tell all of these testing companies, but family history is the cheapest and best genetic test you have. Now if we can only convince physicians that family history is never noncontributory unless you believe in spontaneous generation!

True there are those like myself with only half a tree and that is where targeted testing guided by a physician will play a role.

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