The stroke belt in the US also has a higher incidence of cognitive decline than other parts of the country, indicating that the brain injury has shared risk factors with stroke.
Research published in Annals of Neurology found that individuals living in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, had an 18 per cent higher risk of cognitive impairment that those in other states.
People living in the stroke belt have a 50 per cent elevated risk of stroke mortality than other regions in the country.
Virginia Wadley, of the University of Alabama, said: "Investigating regional patterns that contribute to modifiable risk factors affecting cognitive decline will allow for prevention and intervention efforts that are geographically concentrated."
This follows research at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil which found that lithium could be used to slow down mild cognitive impairment.
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Posted by Paul Breen