Washington: A new study has suggested that severely anemic kids, especially those with sickle cell disease, are at a higher risk of having silent strokes.
One-quarter to one-third of children with sickle cell disease have evidence of silent strokes in their brains, said lead author Michael M. Dowling, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
"These are 5- to 10-year-old children who have brains that look like the brains of 80-year-olds. These strokes are called ``silent`` because they don``t cause you to be weak on one side or have any obvious neurologic symptoms. But they can lead to poor academic performance and severe cognitive impairments," he said.
Dowling and colleagues hypothesized that silent strokes occur during severe anemia and may be detectable by MRI.
They compared severely anemic children with sickle cell disease to a group of children without sickle cell disease and identified silent strokes in about 20 percent of the children with sickle cell disease who were experiencing acute anemia.
They also saw evidence of silent strokes, though not as often, in severely anemic children who didn`t have sickle cell disease.
The findings have suggested that children with or without sickle cell disease who have acute anemia could be suffering undetected brain damage.
The findings were presented at the American Stroke Association``s International Stroke Conference 2011.