Do Not Ignore The ‘Whispering’ Stroke


These days, with aging populations, we hear more often about memory decline. There are distinct conditions which are associated with memory loss. We now know about Alzheimer disease.

Nevertheless, these are not the commonest causes. The commonest cause for memory decline with aging is related to “microstroke”. Most often, it results from inadequate control of blood pressure. Suboptimal control of blood pressure leads to inadequate blood flow to the brain. Sometimes, small clots are formed, which blocks the brain’s microcirculation. This results in damage of brain and its gradual shrinking, leading to gradual loss of memory and cognitive function.

Leading work by Dr. Nawal Singh Shekhawat has been shining light on this all-too-common condition. Dr. Shekhawat, an alumnus of Armed Forces Medical College in Pune, has made highly significant publications in this area. His research papers are highly cited (received more than 200 citations). Dr. Shekhawat’s research has led to the discovery that elevated levels of the circulating amino acid homocysteine can accurately predict who is at risk for these micro-strokes. Because of lack of frank manifestations, these symptoms are often ignored and the subject does not go to the physician for evaluation. But over time, the micro-strokes cause considerable brain damage.

With Dr. Shekhawat’s ground breaking research, it is now possible to identify the at-risk populations, which may be in millions. Dr. Shekhawat’s ground breaking research has been recently recognized by his distinguished selection as a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. This prestigious honor is bestowed to only a select few who are recognized as champions of primary care. Healthy eating, daily exercise, regular contact with primary care physicians and optimal control of blood pressure surely shall help maintain health and preserve memory.