Minor infections may slightly increase stroke risk in children

A new study suggests colds, the flu and minor infections could potentially lead to a higher risk of stroke in children.

The study, published in the Sept. 30 online issue of the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, compared two groups of around roughly 350 children -- one group diagnosed with stroke and the other stroke-free -- to analyze whether exposure to infection and vaccines had an impact on their risk of stroke.

While researchers did find an association with regards to infection, the risk of stroke was determined to be short-lived as it only increased for those children who had infections in the week before the stroke happened. The study also revealed that children who received some or none of their routine vaccinations were more likely to have a stroke compared to those who received most or all of their vaccinations.

Despite the findings, it is important to note that the overall risk of stroke among children remains low and may only be triggered sometimes -- particularly for those children who already have underlying health conditions

"It is possible that changes in the body as a result of these infections, such as inflammation and dehydration could tip the balance in a child who is already at a higher risk for stroke," José Biller, with the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago, author of a corresponding editorial and a fellow with the American Academy of Neurology, said. "Parents should not be alarmed if their child has a cold that it will lead to a stroke."

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American Academy of Neurology

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