Thursday, September 08, 2011

Shuffling gait might be clue of mini-stroke history

We all see people shuffling rather than walking, often associated with older people. Now, a study showed how transient ischemic attacks - or TIAs, may cause the shuffling gait of old age:
The small strokes may impair their ability to walk, balance and function just the same.

Scientists examined the brains of 418 priests and nuns after they died. The researchers found that one-third of the brains that had seemed normal using conventional tests while the people were alive actually had damage to tiny blood vessels. The damage was so slight it was impossible to see without a microscope.

The people whose brains had these tiny signs of hardened arteries and stroke were most likely to have had shuffling gait and other movement problems while they were still alive.
What good is this info? Well, a mini-stroke is a warning that a bigger one is on the way. So an unexplained shuffling gait might mean the person should take precautions - watching blood pressure, for example, and seeing a doctor about this - to perhaps prevent a more devastating stroke.

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