Trending Clinical Topic: Stroke

Ryan Syrek


February 28, 2020

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Research into new prevention strategies, along with other news from an international conference, drove interest to stroke this week, making it the top trending clinical topic. Results from the phase 3 THALES trial revealed that a combination of ticagrelor and aspirin significantly reduced the rate of repeat stroke or death in patients who had previously experienced a minor acute ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). These initial results from the THALES trial follow those of the POINT trial, in which a combination of clopidogrel and aspirin reduced major ischemic events compared with aspirin alone in patients with minor ischemic stroke or high-risk TIA.

Another preventive strategy was explored at the International Stroke Conference (ISC) 2020. Researchers found that the herpes zoster (shingles) vaccination reduced the risk for stroke among older adults. The findings suggest that vaccination in individuals aged 50 years or older not only confers benefit against shingles but also against shingles-associated stroke risk. The study evaluated the only shingles vaccine available at the time, Zostavax (zoster vaccine live); however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now calls the adjuvanted, non-live recombinant Shingrix the preferred vaccine for healthy adults aged 50 years or older. Shingrix may provide even greater protection against stroke, according to researchers.

Among other findings presented at ISC 2020, further evidence supports that diabetic retinopathy predicts an elevated risk for stroke. A new study of nearly 3000 individuals found that those with diabetic retinopathy were 60% more likely than others with diabetes to develop an incident stroke over time. Addressing glucose, lipid, and blood pressure levels was not found to mitigate risk. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common complication of diabetes mellitus; nearly 75% of those with type 1 diabetes develop retinopathy, whereas around 50% of those with type 2 develop the condition.

Considering that stroke is a leading cause of death and disability, new insights into warning signs and prevention strategies are of substantial interest. The findings described here, along with others presented at ISC 2020, helped to make stroke this week's top trending clinical topic.

Read more about stroke prevention.


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