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Nat Rev Neurol. 2015 Nov;11(11):651-7. doi: 10.1038/nrneurol.2015.195. Epub 2015 Oct 20.

Brain health and shared risk factors for dementia and stroke.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, 1120 NW 14th Street, Miami, FL 33136, USA.


Impaired brain health encompasses a range of clinical outcomes, including stroke, dementia, vascular cognitive impairment, cognitive ageing, and vascular functional impairment. Conditions associated with poor brain health represent leading causes of global morbidity and mortality, with projected increases in public health burden as the population ages. Many vascular risk factors are shared predictors for poor brain health. Moreover, subclinical brain MRI markers of vascular damage are risk factors shared between stroke and dementia, and can be used for risk stratification and early intervention. The broad concept of brain health has resulted in a conceptual shift from vascular risk factors to determinants of brain health. Global campaigns to reduce cardiovascular diseases by targeting modifiable risk factors are necessary and will have a broad impact on brain health. Research is needed on the distinct and overlapping aetiologies of brain health conditions, and to define MRI markers to help clinicians identify patients who will benefit from aggressive prevention measures.

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