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STD and other Pathogens can cause of Stroke


Scientists believe that common sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and the herpes virus could increase the chances of someone having a stroke. They believe that the common pathogens could accelerate arterial disease, which itself increases the chances of someone having a stroke.

The study, published in the online edition of the Archives of Neurology, tracked 1,625 adults in Manhatten from a multi-ethnic communition over a period of 7.6 years. Over the study time, 67 of them suffered a stroke and even when risk factors like diabetes or smoking were taken into account, the team discovered that the majority of them were positive in tests for one of the pathogens.

The results further showed that people with a history of several of the infections, which also included the bacteria that cause stomach viruses and cytomegalovirus, were 40% more likely to experience a stroke.

However the team are unsure how the pathogens harm arterial function. The leader of the study, Dr. Mitchell Elkind, said that possibly the pathogens disrupt the normal functioning of the arterial walls, or that chronic infection leads to the blood vessels becoming inflamed.

If it is definitely proved that herpes and chlamydia, as well as other pathogens, can increase the chance of stroke it could result in a dramatic change in the government’s approach to encouraging people to go for a chlamydia test or practice safe sex.

Herpes has become an increasingly common sexually transmitted infection in Britain and the government are eager to make people more aware of the need to have safe sex to prevent it. Though it was not thought to have any serious consequences for health, it is a chronic infection for which there is no cure, meaning that even if a herpes test is positive herpes treatment can only manage it rather than eradicate it. It can be embarrassing and painful (though herpes treatment shortens the outbreaks), with sufferers developing weeping blisters around their genital area.

Previously, the biggest concern about chlamydia has been the possibility of it leading to infertility, as it can cause the fallopian tubes to become blocked. The possibility of infertility has been a key message health authorities have sought to get across to encourage people to have a chlamydia test.

Over the past couple of years, research has increasingly suggested that pathogens like chlamydia and herpes could be associated with coronary heart disease. There was previously a study that showed that untreated gum disease and other infections in the mouth could be spread throughout the body and result in cardiovascular problems.

Dr. Elkind and his team concluded, “Each individual infection was positively, though not significantly, associated with stroke risk after adjusting for other risk factors. The infectious burden index was associated with an increased risk of all strokes after adjusting for demographics and risk factors.

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