A New study published in Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology, has found that the risk of stroke in children could be increased by colds and other minor infections, albeit temporarily.
Although associated with older people, anyone can have a stroke regardless of age. Stroke is a leading cause of death in children in the US and, according to the National Stroke Association, stroke affects about 6 in every 100,000 children.
Minor infections and inflammatory conditions such as colds have previously been associated with an increased risk of cerebral ischemic stroke in adults. Although the origins of pediatric stroke are slightly different to adult stroke, the effects of colds are similar for both children and adults. According to study, Dr. Lars Marquardt of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, writes that “because conventional risk factors are less prevalent in children, inflammatory conditions may be more relevant contributors to stroke risk in children.”
An increased risk?
The researchers reviewed data from the Kaiser Pediatric Stroke Study, a database representing about 2.5 million children within a Californian health care organization. From this review, they identified 102 children who had an AIS without an associated major infection and 306 children who had not had an AIS to serve as a control group. The medical records of these children were then investigated for minor infections occurring up to 2 years prior to the AIS. Of the infections that were found, about 80% were respiratory in nature. The researchers found that the risk of stroke was increased, but only within a 3-day period between a visit to the doctor for signs of infection and the AIS. Of the 102 children that had an AIS, 10 had a doctor visit for an infection within 3 days of the stroke (9.8%).