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Insulin resistance predicts risk of ischaemic stroke

By Nigel Praities

Insulin resistance is independently associated with an increased risk of stroke and could be a new target for risk prevention, say US researchers.

They used the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) – a widely used tool for measuring insulin sensitivity and secretion – on 1,500 adults without a history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

They found 23% of men and 26% of women were classified as insulin resistant – although the proportion varied according to ethnicity – highest in Hispanic and lowest in white people.

Insulin resistance significantly predicted the risk of ischaemic stroke, with a hazard ratio of 2.83. This effect was independent of sex, race/ethnicity, traditional vascular risk factors, metabolic syndrome and its components.

Lead author Professor Tatjana Rundek, professor of neurology at the University of Miami, said: This study provides evidence that insulin resistance as measured using HOMA is independently associated with an increased risk of first ischaemic stroke. Insulin resistance may be a novel therapeutic target for stroke prevention.’

Arch Neurol 2010; 67: 1195-1200

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