Memory loss is a common symptom after a stroke, but there’s hope for some that those memories could return.

A new study from Norway examined 86 patients with relatively mild strokes and found many had improved mental functioning after 12 weeks.

“Our study shows that around half of patients suffering a stroke had various forms of memory impairment one week after the stroke. But by three months after the stroke, about one-third of those with memory impairment had improved memory function,” said Dr. Ramune Grambaite. She is a psychologist and head of the Neuropsychological Outpatient Clinic at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

Nearly 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While more stroke patients survive now than they did in the past, stroke remains a serious and potentially deadly condition. Survivors may experience anxiety, depression and fatigue afterwards, in addition to memory loss and a reduced ability to learn.

Dr. Bente Thommessen, chief physician at Akershus University Hospital, said the proportion of patients seen with mild strokes has increased in recent years. “But the consequences in terms of concentration problems, reduced stamina and changes in memory function are common even in patients with mild strokes,” Thommessen said in an NTNU news release.

The study was published July 12 in the journal Nevropsykologi (Neuropsychology).

“Memory improvement is common after a stroke, but there are large individual differences,” Grambaite said. “Some stroke survivors continue to experience memory impairment and need to learn to live with it.”

The researchers noted that good follow-up and support from friends and family is important in the recovery process.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines the key signs of stroke.

SOURCE: The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, news release, July 12, 2022

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