Colds and other minor infections may lead to a strong but short-lived period of increased stroke risk among children, according to the results of a recent study.
The study, published online on August 20, 2014, in Neurology, analyzed the relationship between the timing and the number of minor infections and the risk of childhood arterial ischemic stroke. For 102 children who had suffered a stroke, researchers of the study assessed data for all medical visits for minor infections during the 2 years leading up to the stroke. Data for age-matched controls who had not suffered strokes were also collected.
After adjusting for known pediatric stroke risk factors, the strongest association between infection and stroke was seen in children who visited a physician for an infection within days before the stroke. Those who had a stroke were approximately 12 times more likely to have visited a physician for an infection in that time period. Of these infections, 80% were respiratory infections. When compared with controls, children who suffered strokes had more physician visits for infection, although the increase in infections was not significant for all time periods before the stroke. In addition, a greater cumulative number of medical visits for infections over the entire 2-year period was not associated with an increased risk of stroke.