Protective Factors and Risks for TIA/Stroke in Senior vs. Young Adults




Nejtek, Vicki
Al-Dossari, Ranna
Lomax, Jerica


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Background: Since 1995, transient ischemic attacks (TIA) and strokes in seniors (55-84-years) have substantially declined, while risks have tripled in young adults (18-44-years). Traditional TIA/stroke risks include hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, smoking, and obesity. Protective factors explaining the decline of TIA/stroke in seniors are unclear. Previously, we found young adults with moderate/high (MH) risk had higher body and truncal fat, more stress, less coping abilities, and had worse memory recall than their low/no (NL) risk counterparts. To determine if these novel risks are present in seniors, we compared them to young adults to identify resilience or vulnerability for TIA/stroke in both age groups. Hypothesis: Anthropometric, psychological and cognitive (APC) outcomes will be protective factors for seniors and risk factors for young adults. Methods: A proof-of-concept study was designed and conducted on campus. Those eligible were young adults (20-45-years) and seniors (50-80-years) of all race/ethnicities with a minimum of 16-years education. Medical history, demographics, and anthropometric data were collected. Stress, coping, and nonverbal memory were assessed with standardized tests. Nonverbal memory using a percent retention score (PRS) was calculated from the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure. Descriptive statistics, frequency distributions, ANOVA with post hoc corrections for multiple comparisons and regression modeling were used with a 95% confidence interval for significance. Results: Seniors (n=25), young adults with MH (n= 23) and young adults with NL (n=27) risks for TIA/stroke participated in the study. Anthropometrics were higher in seniors than either young group (p Conclusions: These data suggest that seniors’ retention of nonverbal memory is comparable to young adults with NL TIA/stroke risks. High stress and poor coping have been associated with traditional TIA/stroke risks and impaired memory. Reduced stress and better coping in seniors indicate resilience and may be considered protective factors. These data should be interpreted with caution as further research is needed with a larger sample.