Worldwide study triples number of known genetic risk factors for stroke

March 12, 2018

Research co-author Dr. Sudha Seshadri of UT Health San Antonio’s Glenn Biggs Institute predicts that the study will also be a boon for dementia research

SAN ANTONIO (March 12, 2018)—A landmark international study of DNA samples from 520,000 individuals worldwide—including 67,000 affected individuals—identified 22 new genetic risk factors for stroke. Sudha Seshadri, M.D., of UT Health San Antonio, is senior co-author of this largest genetic study of stroke to date. Nature Genetics published the results online today [March 12].

Previously, only 10 genetic risk factors had been identified for stroke.

Dr. Seshadri, founding director of the Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s & Neurodegenerative Diseases at UT Health San Antonio and holder of the university’s Robert Barker Distinguished University Chair, said the identification of genetic regions that are strongly correlated to stroke will increase potential targets for stroke drug development.

A chief aim of the Glenn Biggs Institute is to identify novel risk factors and groundbreaking treatments for dementia, and the study provides excellent fodder for investigations along that line, Dr. Seshadri said.

“Understanding these newly identified risk factors for stroke should also enable us to find novel treatments for dementia,” Dr. Seshadri said. “Vascular disease in the brain—a series of strokes—can lead to dementia.”

The study identified novel genetic risk factors for all major subtypes of ischemic stroke. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel supplying the brain is blocked. About 80 percent of strokes are ischemic.

To read the full article, visit the UT Health San Antonio Newsroom.

Article Categories: News, Research