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Avoiding This Popular Habit Means Good Recovery Post-Stroke – Says New Study

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Kamal Saini
Kamal Saini
Kamal S. has been Journalist and Writer for Business, Hardware and Gadgets at Revyuh.com since 2018. He deals with B2b, Funding, Blockchain, Law, IT security, privacy, surveillance, digital security and network policy. As part of his studies of political science, sociology and law, he researched the impact of technology on human coexistence. Email: kamal (at) revyuh (dot) com

Recovery after a stroke varies from complete recovery to disability or death. Although prior research has shown a correlation between smoking and poor stroke recovery, it has been unclear whether or not smoking actually contributes to the problem.

A new study published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, today, found that a genetic tendency to smoke makes a person more likely to have a slower recovery from an ischemic stroke. Ischemic strokes happen when the brain doesn’t get enough blood. This is the most common type of stroke.

“Stroke recovery can vary widely among people, from full recovery to serious disability or death,” explains study author Xinfeng Liu, PhD, of Nanjing University in China. “While previous studies have found links between smoking and worse stroke recovery, it has been unclear if smoking is a cause. By examining gene variants that increase a person’s risk of smoking, we found that smoking does cause worse stroke outcomes.”

Researchers examined the findings of a meta-analysis of 12 studies on genetics and stroke recovery in the United States, Europe, and Australia to assess the genetic link between smoking and stroke recovery. There were a total of 6,021 patients with ischemic stroke from European genetic background. 3-month post-stroke recovery was measured.

Recovery was categorised as either “good” or “poor.” “Good” meant that a person had fully recovered or had a slight disability but did not need help from others. “Poor” meant that a person had a moderate disability that required help, a severe disability, or had died. Overall, 3,741 patients had successful stroke recoveries, while 2,280 had less than optimal outcomes.

To ascertain whether there was a causal relationship between 373 genetic variations known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and poor recovery from stroke, the team employed a trial strategy known as Mendelian randomization. SNPs are widespread and can serve as biological markers to identify genes linked to disease.

After taking into account age, gender, and the severity of the stroke, researchers found that people who were genetically more likely to smoke had a 48% higher chance of having a harder time recovering from a stroke than others. When researchers made further adjustments for genetically predicted alcohol use, the findings remained unchanged.

“Our results provide genetic support for the theory that smoking causes poor recovery after ischemic stroke,” adds Liu. “These findings have important implications for stroke recovery. Not only should doctors encourage all people to not smoke, people who have had a stroke should be encouraged to quit smoking.”

The study’s small size, as well as the fact that all of the subjects were of European descent, both urge larger studies of other populations.

Image Credit: Getty

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