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Keywords:

  • stroke;
  • cognition;
  • depression;
  • vascular dementia

To investigate the cognitive capacities of a cohort of ischaemic or haemorrhagic stroke survivors and to identify the clinical determinants of post-stroke cognitive impairment, we evaluated 237 patients admitted to a Stroke Unit (mean age 59; SD=12.7). Three months after stroke, patients were submitted to a neuropsychological evaluation that included the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), a complementary battery to assess specific cognitive domains, the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) and the Blessed Dementia Scale (BDS). Disturbed performance on at least one domain was detected on 131 (55%) patients: 27% had cognitive deficits other than memory, 7% had focal memory deficit, 9% had memory and other cognitive deficits and 6% had dementia. Dementia was associated with female gender (P=0.01), older age (P=0.01) and lower education level (P=0.04). Patients with memory deficits were older (P=0.01) with lower educational level (P=0.08) and more left sided lesions (P=0.02) than patients without memory deficits. In this middle aged stroke survivors cognitive impairment was common 3 months after stroke, while dementia was infrequent.