Protein blood test could help predict stroke risk in people with diabetes
A simple blood test could help predict whether someone with
diabetes is at risk of having a stroke, according to
US scientists have identified elevated levels of a protein in the
blood of people with diabetes which could indicate stroke
Because people with diabetes are more at risk of stroke than those
without the condition, the findings and recommendations by the US
research team could be significant. People with diabetes can reduce
their stroke risk by eating a healthy diet, keeping blood glucose
levels under control and getting regular exercise.
The US team from Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan, wanted
to investigate whether there was a more accurate way to predict
whether someone was on the verge of having a stroke.
Study author Frederick Korley, an assistant professor of emergency
medicine at Michigan Medicine, said: "To be successful at
preventing strokes from occurring, we first need to accurately
identify those who are likely to have a stroke so we can target
stroke prevention therapies to the correct at-risk people."
The trial involved measuring blood protein levels in 363 people
with diabetes who had never experienced a stroke before. Seven
years later they followed up with the same people and discovered
113 had experienced a stroke.
Of those who had experienced an incident, the research team
discovered they had 43 per cent higher levels of a specific protein
called neurofilament light chain (NfL) in their blood.
The researchers used the Framingham Stroke Risk test in the study,
which is commonly used to assess someone's stroke risk. It combines
the age, sex and various other factors such as blood pressure to
predict whether a stroke may be imminent. The researchers now think
their NfL test should be incorporated into the current risk
Prof Korley said: "As an emergency physician, I see patients after
they have experienced a stroke, and for some patients, the options
for treating them at that time point are limited.
"If our findings hold true in other study populations, physicians
could use this test to monitor patients and target stroke
prevention treatments to the right at-risk people to hopefully help
them avoid a stroke from ever happening."
The study findings have been published in the journal