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Saturday, 9 February, 2002, 00:00 GMT
Sudden moves can trigger stroke
Sudden movements as simple as jumping when the doorbell rings can trigger a stroke, research suggests.

Scientists from Tel Aviv University studied 150 people who had suffered an ischemic stroke, the most common form and one caused by a blood clot blocking blood flow in an artery in the brain.

We would be concerned that people might panic when they see these the results of this study

Eoin Redahan
They found that in more than one in five cases abrupt changes in body position caused by sudden loud noises, calls for help or other unexpected events had occurred within two hours before the start of the stroke.

It has been shown that heavy physical exertion can trigger a heart attack within less than an hour, probably by dislodging fragments of plaque from the arteries, which then block blood supply to the heart.

But until now it has not been clear whether similar factors act as triggers for ischemic stroke.

Researcher Dr Silvia Koton said: "The triggering mechanism for ischemic stroke may be comparable, in part, to that for a heart attack, but the mechanisms underlying ischemic stroke are more complex than those underlying heart attack.

"The most important finding of this study is the recognition of new risk factors for ischemic stroke that function as short-term triggers rather than factors such as hypertension and smoking, which affect long-term risk."

She added: "Older people, in particular, need to be aware of the potential negative influence of reactions to emotions and to sudden exposure to familiar, but startling activities such as a ring of a doorbell or telephone."

Surprising findings

Eoin Redahan, of the Stroke Association, described the research as "quite extraordinary".

He said the researchers looked at a small number of patients and excluded certain types of strokes.

"Unfortunately this type of research throws up more questions than answers.

"We would be concerned that people might panic when they see these the results of this study.

"The effect could be caused by a sudden jump in blood pressure which might knock off a blood clot which could travel to the brain, causing a stroke.

"But this needs to be looked at in much more detail."

The research was presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference.

See also:

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