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Researchers unveil indicator that can predict strokes
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2018.03.20 14:47
  • Updated 2018.03.21 11:41
  • comments 0

Researchers at Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH) and Korea University Guro Hospital (KUGH) have discovered an indicator that can predict strokes in advance.

Professor Lee Seung-hoon (left), Doctor Yang Wook-jin and Professor Kim Chi-kyung

Divided mainly into two categories -- cerebral infarction and cerebral hemorrhage-- stroke is currently the third leading cause of death in Korea, accounting for about 10 percent of the nation’s death toll. Even if the patient survives the event, there is a high probability of having a physical disability, resulting in considerable socioeconomic costs.

The research team, led by Professor Lee Seung-hoon and Doctor Yang Wook-jin of the department of neurology at SNUH and Professor Kim Chi-kyung at KUGH, found that gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) can predicts strokes.

Until now, GGT, which is a type of blood test, had limited use in evaluating the degree of drinking alcohol or liver disease.

The team analyzed 456,100 data from the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) to confirm the role of GGT in predicting strokes.

As a result, the team found that future stroke risks increased 39 percent in patients with high GGT -- 53 IU/L for men and 23 IU/L for women. When divided into the two large stroke categories, the risk of cerebral infarction and cerebral hemorrhage was at 45 percent and 46 percent, respectively.

The result is the world's first evidence that GGT is an independent predictor of stroke, as the research also included all existing risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and smoking.

“There are still no established blood markers for predicting the risk of stroke in healthy adults,” Professor Lee said. “This study showed the possibility of using GGT for stroke prevention in adults.”

The results of the study were published in the Annals of Neurology, one of the most renowned neurology publications.


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