(HealthDay News) – Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is present in nearly half of patients with lacunar stroke.

Claudia Jacova, PhD, of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and associates conducted a study to characterize, and estimate the prevalence of, neuropsychological impairment in 1,636 English-speaking lacunar stroke patients. Using published norms, raw scores were converted to z scores. Participants underwent neuropsychological testing at baseline and those with impairment (z score of ≤1.5) in memory and/or non-memory domains were classified as having MCI.

The researchers found that the average z scores at baseline testing were below zero. The largest deficits were seen in measures of episodic memory (range of means, −0.65 to −0.92), verbal fluency (mean, −0.89), and motor dexterity (mean, −2.5). Of the participants, 47% were classified as having MCI, which included 36% amnestic, 37% amnestic multidomain, and 28% non-amnestic. Forty-one percent of those with Rankin score of 0–1 and Barthel score of 100% had MCI.

“In this large, well-characterized cohort of lacunar stroke patients, MCI was present in nearly half, including many with minimal or no physical disabilities,” the authors write. “Cognitive dysfunction in lacunar stroke patients may commonly be overlooked in clinical practice but may be as important as motor and sensory sequelae.”

Study medication was donated by Sanofi/BMS USA.

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