Shingles Vaccine Linked to Lower Stroke Risk
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Prevention of shingles with the Zoster Vaccine Live (Zostavax, Merck) may reduce the risk of subsequent stroke among older adults as well, the first study to examine this association suggests.

The overall decrease of 16% in stroke risk associated with vaccination included a 12% drop in hemorrhagic stroke and 18% decrease in ischemic stroke over a median follow-up of 3.9 years follow-up.

Shingles vaccination was linked to a 20% decrease in stroke risk in people under 80 years of age in the large Medicare cohort study. Older participants showed a 10% reduced risk, according to data released in advance of formal presentation at this week's International Stroke Conference (ISC) 2020 in Los Angeles. Reductions were seen for both ischemic and hemorrhagic events.

"Our findings might encourage people age 50 or older to get vaccinated against shingles and to prevent shingles-associated stroke risk," Quanhe Yang, PhD, lead study author and senior scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

A reduction in inflammation from Zoster Vaccine Live may be the mechanism by which stroke risk is reduced, Yang said. The newer vaccine, which the CDC notes is more than 90% effective, might provide even greater protection against stroke, although more research is needed, he added.

To assess the vaccine's protective effect on stroke, Yang and colleagues reviewed health records for 1.38 million Medicare recipients. All participants were aged 66 years or older, had no history of stroke at baseline, and received the Zoster Vaccine Live between 2008 and 2016.

The investigators compared the stroke rate in this vaccinated group to the rate in a matched control group of the same number of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries who did not receive the vaccination. They adjusted their analysis for age, gender, race, medications, and comorbidities. The overall decrease of 16% in stroke risk associated with vaccination included a 12% drop in hemorrhagic stroke and 18% decrease in ischemic stroke over a median follow-up of 3.9 years follow-up

Source: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/925331
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