Study Finds Lower Mental Ability in Teens Linked to Higher Stroke Risk Before Age 50

Research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health indicates a concerning link between lower mental ability during adolescence and an increased risk of stroke before the age of 50.

This association persists even after adjusting for factors like current diabetes, underscoring the need for broader assessments beyond traditional stroke risk factors to prevent premature disability and death.

Recent data shows a rising incidence of stroke among individuals under 50, with approximately half of survivors facing long-term physical and psychological challenges. While prior studies have suggested connections between lower mental ability and future cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, findings have been inconsistent.

To strengthen understanding, researchers examined a nationally representative sample of 1.7 million young Israelis evaluated before military service between 1987 and 2012. Evaluations included assessments of verbal, mathematical, and visual-spatial abilities alongside health metrics such as weight, blood pressure, and diabetes status.

Study Finds Lower Mental Ability in Teens Linked to Higher Stroke Risk Before Age 50
Study Finds Lower Mental Ability in Teens Linked to Higher Stroke Risk Before Age 50

Over the study period, 908 strokes were documented, predominantly ischemic (blood clot-related). Participants with lower mental ability scores faced notably higher stroke risks, particularly ischemic strokes occurring before age 40.

Those with the lowest mental ability were over 2.5 times more likely to experience a stroke before 50 compared to those with higher scores, while medium-level scores increased risk by 78%.

Risk escalated proportionally with decreasing mental ability scores, highlighting a 33% increased risk per unit decrease on the assessment scale. Interestingly, no significant associations were found for strokes involving brain bleeds.

Despite these findings, the study’s observational nature prevents establishing causation. Limitations include the lack of data on lifestyle factors like smoking and diet, as well as higher education levels, which could influence stroke risk independently of mental ability.

Researchers stress the importance of early intervention strategies tailored to individuals with lower cognitive function, potentially mitigating their heightened stroke risk through improved health literacy, education, and health-related behaviors.

They emphasize the critical role of comprehensive risk assessment and support systems in reducing the burden of stroke among younger populations.

Jackson Kelley
Jackson Kelley
Jackson is a political activist and market expert. He covers the impact of politics on the market and global economy.
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