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1 in 4 stroke victims experiences PTSD, study finds

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Author: 
Brad Balukjian
Published Date: 
19 June 2013
Publication: 
The Los Angeles Times
Original article: 

Post-traumatic stress disorder, known as PTSD, is not just a problem for military veterans, sexual assault survivors and other crime victims  — it also plagues many stroke victims, according to new research.

The study, published online Wednesday in the journal PLOS One, reports that 23% of stroke and mini-stroke victims surveyed within one year of the event suffered from PTSD. In addition, 11% of stroke victims surveyed more than a year after the event reported that they experienced PTSD.

A stroke occurs when an artery carrying essential oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked or bursts, causing damage to the brain and potentially impairing speech, sight and motor control. A mini-stroke, also known as a transient ischemic attack, occurs in a similar way but lasts only a few minutes.

Strokes kill about 137,000 people per year in the United States and in 2010 led to $73.7 billion in healthcare costs.

The new research developed from a growing awareness that medical traumas can lead to PTSD. Study leader Donald Edmondson, an assistant professor at Columbia Universitypreviously established that PTSD is common among heart attack survivors and that it is linked to an increased risk of later developingheart disease. This led his team to question how often stroke victims develop PTSD.

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