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Insulin Resistance Might Raise Risk of Stroke
Date:10/12/2010

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- People with insulin resistance may be at higher risk for stroke even if they don't have full-blown diabetes, a new study indicates.

Paying close attention to people who show signs of insulin resistance -- a reduction in the ability of the hormone insulin to clear glucose from the bloodstream -- may be helpful in preventing stroke, the researchers noted. Treating it may also reduce the risk of having an ischemic stroke, which occurs when blood supply to the brain is blocked.

"We showed that the increased risk of stroke among people with insulin resistance is three times higher than among those that don't have insulin resistance and are non-diabetic," said Dr. Tatjana Rundek, lead author of the study in the October issue of the Archives of Neurology. "That's telling us that there is a group of people that may be targeted for more treatment intervention in order to reduce the traditional vascular risk, but we cannot really say at this point that there are clinical implications."

Other experts agreed that widespread testing for insulin resistance is not ready for clinical use.

"This provides some additional evidence that insulin resistance may be an important risk factor, but I don't know how much more this study will impact . . . the type of screening that already happens in a doctor's office," said Dr. Adam Kelly, an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y. "Most physicians will probably wait for more evidence."

There are also problems with current methods to measure insulin resistance. According to an accompanying editorial, the best way to measure insulin resistance, the euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp, is "cumbersome."

The homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) index used in this study is easier to use, but doesn't measure insulin resistance directly. "It's
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