A genetic variant that was newly identified by scientists from the University of Texas Health Science Centre, Houston may be linked to a possible increase in the risk of ischemic stroke.
While analysing the genomes, or DNA, of almost 20,000 individuals from the United States and Europe, the research team discovered a variant on chromosome 12 near one gene associated with brain injury repair called NINJ2 and another connected to blood pressure control called WNK1.
The data suggests that about 20 percent of whites and 10 percent of blacks have at least one copy of this genetic variant and that each copy increases the risk of ischemic stroke by approximately 30 percent.
"This is the first study to identify a common genetic variant influencing the risk of stroke in the United States," the New England Journal of Medicine quoted Dr Eric Boerwinkle, one of the study's authors.
"Identification of genes that predispose to stroke may aid in the identification of persons at increased risk of stroke in whom particularly vigorous attention to preventive measures can be applied," added Dr Philip A. Wolf, one of the study's lead authors.
"It may also lead to the development of medications to reduce this increased stroke risk," he added.