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Study finds elevated levels of biomarkers associated with Stroke

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A group of researchers from Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health (MA, US) may have identified four biomarkers that could help predict stroke. The study was published in a recent issue of Neurology.

The team measured levels of 15 different biomarkers linked with inflammation in blood in 3224 individuals from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort, the average age being at 61 years.

Of the 3224, 98 of the patients suffered from a stroke during the study.

It was found that patients who had elevated levels of four of the 15 biomarkers had a higher risk of stroke during the study.

Individuals with increased levels of In-tumor necrosis factor were 33% more likely to suffer from stroke followed by those with elevated levels of homocysteine, who had a 32% risk.

Patients with In-C reactive protein were 28% more likely and those with high vascular endothelial growth factor had a 25% risk of stroke.

“Identifying people who are at risk for stroke can help us determine who would benefit most from existing or new therapies to prevent stroke,” commented study author Ashkan Shoamanesh (McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada).

The identification of these biomarkers is hoped to enhance current methods of predicting stroke.

Existing practice relies on collecting patient data on factors such as blood pressure, age, cholesterol and sex collectively known as the Framingham Stroke Risk Profile.

Although the study reveals promising results it is still in premature stages. A correlation between high levels of biomarkers and stroke is not an indication of the biomarkers causing stroke noted lead author Shoamanesh.

“Our study does not provide evidence that these markers are validated well enough to be implemented in clinical practice. Future research could also investigate whether lowering the levels of these biomarkers or blocking their action could be a way to prevent strokes”, stated Shoamanesh.

He added that the identified biomarkers were measured once and other factors which may have affected the results were not considered in this study.

Furthermore, most of the individuals in the study were of European ancestry so there is a possibility that the findings may not be applicable to other populations.

Further research is needed to explore the role of these biomarkers in stroke.

Sources: Shoamanesh A, Preis SR, Beiser AS et al. Circulating biomarkers and incident ischemic stroke in the Framingham Offspring Study. Neurology doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000003115 (2016); https://www.aan.com/PressRoom/Home/PressRelease/1488.

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