Harvard Medicine

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Brain Storm Warnings

A new forecast for early stroke recurrence goes by the numbers.

A Web-based tool developed at Massachusetts General Hospital may provide a much-needed 90-day forecast of the risk for a second stroke among people who have suffered one such calamity. A stroke soon after an initial one increases the chance of death or severe disability, writes Hakan Ay, an HMS assistant professor of radiology, in his January 12, 2010, article in Neurology. The tool—the recurrence risk estimator at 90 days—scores risk by assessing data such as age, history of transient ischemic attacks, cause of first stroke, and brain-scan information. The higher the score, the greater the chance of a repeat attack. The study showed that long-term stroke predictors—smoking, diabetes, and hypertension—are not predictive of short-term recurrences.

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