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Study Results Reveal Link Between Weather Variables and Stroke Incidence

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., July 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Study results released today at the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery (SNIS) 8th Annual Meeting revealed a correlation between lower temperatures and increased hospital admissions for ischemic stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA), commonly known as a mini-stroke, in an east coast city population. As one of the largest studies to date on this phenomenon, this data reinforces the association between stroke and meteorological variables.

"A proven correlation between environmental factors such as weather and increased stroke incidence could result in new ways of considering how we approach stroke treatment in terms of hospital preparedness, as well as steps we could take to enhance public education and stroke prevention initiatives," said Charles Prestigiacomo, M.D., Director of Cerebrovascular and endovascular Surgery at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey and principal study author.

According to Prestigiacomo and study presenter and colleague Dmitriy Petrov, prior studies on the association between weather and increased stroke incidence have taken place in areas reflective of extreme temperature patterns, resulting in data that cannot be generalized to more temperate climates. The aim of this study was to focus on the role of meteorological variables on the rate of ischemic (caused by blockage) events in a geographical area that would be representative of an east coast city population.

Study criteria included days when ischemic stroke presented versus days absent of ischemic events against weather data including temperature and dew point during the period of July 2009 to July 2010 at University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey. Additionally, weather variables, collected from two databases, 5.4 and 1.1 miles away from the study site respectively, were measured against consecutive days with stroke admissions and single days with multiple stroke admissions (defined as clusters). Using the Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) model, study authors determined that across 297 ischemic stroke events, a decrease in weather variables, including maximum temperature, minimum temperature, average temperature, and humidity (as measured by dew point and wet bulb temperature) was associated with an increased incidence of stroke. Equally as notable, these same weather variables showed a statistically significant correlation to increased clustering of ischemic events. The variation of monthly admission rates was insignificant.

For purposes of assessment, standardized data collection was utilized for each patient, including demographic information, relevant medical history, medications, disease course and laboratory data/vitals upon admission.

Looking ahead, Prestigiacomo says there is more work to be done in the assessment of the link between weather and stroke in order to determine why this association exists. For example, he says, in future studies, it will be essential to assess how weather influences individual patient behavior preceding and/or at the time of the stroke. "This additional data will help us fill in the canvas where it concerns this association, and continue to inform the way we talk about and prepare for stroke in clinical and public settings."

The Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery (SNIS) is represented by physicians who specialize in minimally invasive techniques to treat neurovascular conditions, including stroke, aneurysms, carotid stenosis and spinal abnormalities. Drawing on diverse backgrounds and expertise including interventional neuroradiology, neurosurgery and neurology, these physicians are continuing to forge new pathways in the development of the distinct specialty of neurointervention. Over the past two decades, practitioners of this field have paved the way for the scientific research and study that has resulted in new technology and revolutionary treatment approaches that have transformed the neurosciences. In keeping with the mission of SNIS, the society remains committed to working in partnership to advance the science and medical environment that will result in enhanced quality of care for patients across the globe.

SOURCE Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery

Posted: July 2011