Stroke remains a primary cause of morbidity throughout the world mainly because of its effect on cognition. Individuals can recover from physical disability resulting from stroke, but might be unable to return to their previous occupations or independent life because of cognitive impairments. Cognitive dysfunction ranges from focal deficits, resulting directly from an area of infarction or from hypoperfusion in adjacent tissue, to more global cognitive dysfunction. Global dysfunction is likely to be related to other underlying subclinical cerebrovascular disease, such as white-matter disease or subclinical infarcts. Study of cognitive dysfunction after stroke is complicated by varying definitions and lack of measurement of cognition before stroke. Additionally, stroke can affect white-matter connectivity, so newer imaging techniques, such as diffusion-tensor imaging and magnetisation transfer imaging, that can be used to assess this subclinical injury are important tools in the assessment of cognitive dysfunction after stroke. As research is increasingly focused on the role of preventable risk factors in the development of dementia, the role of stroke in the development of cognitive impairment and dementia could be another target for prevention.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology