According to this new study, young women with a self-attacking antibody are at an increased risk for a stroke. Antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) fight a person's own body tissue. Generally, antibodies fight foreign infections. Researchers say aPL antibodies increase the chance of blood clots, which can lead to an ischemic stroke.
University of Texas Health Science Center researchers conducted a study to determine the connection of aPL and stroke in young healthy women. Investigators evaluated frozen blood samples that were collected in the Stroke in Young Women study. The samples were from 650 women age 12 to 40. One hundred twenty of the women had suffered a stroke and 300 of the women had not.
Using several laboratory tests, researchers found women with aPL antibodies were 1.65 times more likely to have a stroke. These results were obtained even after the researchers took into consideration the other major risk factors for stroke in the participants. Lead author Robin Brey, M.D., says, "The importance to doctors is that these antibodies are an independent risk factor for stroke, but the frustration is that we do not have a specific treatment to prevent stroke in this setting."
Researchers note that these antibodies are also associated with recurrent miscarriages and low platelet counts. They say further research on the benefit of blood-thinning drugs for people with aPL antibodies must be presented.