WEDNESDAY, Feb. 1 (HealthDay News) -- High levels of a
personality trait called harm avoidance -- which includes excessive
worrying, pessimism, fear and fatigue -- is associated with a
higher stroke risk, a new study indicates.
It included 1,082 older adults without dementia who were rated
on the 35-item Harm Avoidance Scale. During 3-1/2 years of
follow-up, 258 of the participants died. Of those, 80 percent
underwent a brain autopsy.
People who scored high on the Harm Avoidance Scale had a 2.4
times increased risk of microscopic stroke and a 1.8 times
increased risk of a stroke that's easily visible in the brain.
The link between high levels of harm avoidance and increased
stroke risk remained after researchers accounted for brain and
motor function, cardiovascular risk factors and conditions, and
The study was to be presented Wednesday at the American Stroke
Association meeting in New Orleans.
Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data
and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in
a peer-reviewed journal.
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
has more about
stroke risk factors and symptoms.