Study: Balancing Ability May Reflect Stroke Risk


Trouble balancing on one leg for 20 seconds may indicate blood vessel damage in your brain and predict your risk of stroke, according to a new study.  The findings hold true, even if there are no symptoms of brain disease.

Japanese researchers at the Center for Genomic Medicine at Kyoto University say individuals who showed poor balance while standing on one foot should receive increased medical attention.

They measured leg-standing time in a group of almost 1,400 otherwise healthy men and women, whose average age was 67.  In the study, participants stood with one leg raised and their eyes open.

Researchers found that those who had trouble standing on one leg for longer than 20 seconds were at significantly increased risk for cerebral small vessel disease.  Investigators confirmed the presence of the condition with high-tech brain imaging.

In general, participants with increased blood vessel damage were older and had high blood pressure.

Researchers, who published their findings in the American Heart Association journal Stroke, also found those who had trouble balancing had reduced cognitive function.