The impact of sleepiness was about the same regardless of gender, race or ethnicity.
The issue deserves further probing, Pacia said.
"The study controlled for obesity, which is often associated with obstructive sleep apnea and drowsiness, but it would be important to study the entire group to determine if sleep apnea was present in the dozing patients," he said.
"Another important factor to investigate would be the presence of silent strokes or other brain abnormalities on MRI in the dozing patients prior to their first clinical stroke," Pacia added. "Finally, medications may be associated with drowsiness and may be markers of concurrent illness in the dozing patient group. Investigating prescription and over-the-counter medications in these patient at risk for stroke may also shed some light on the findings."
In the meantime, said the study authors, physicians might well be advised to assess their patients for sleep problems.
Learn more about stroke at the American Stroke Association.
SOURCES: Steven V. Pacia , M.D., director, neurology, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Feb. 21, 2008, American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference, New Orleans
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