Cognitive Impairment and Dementia After Stroke: Design and Rationale for the DISCOVERY Study

Natalia S. Rost, James F. Meschia, Rebecca Gottesman, Lisa Wruck, Karl Helmer, Steven M. Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Stroke is a leading cause of the adult disability epidemic in the United States, with a major contribution from poststroke cognitive impairment and dementia (PSCID), the rates of which are disproportionally high among the health disparity populations. Despite the PSCID's overwhelming impact on public health, a knowledge gap exists with regard to the complex interaction between the acute stroke event and highly prevalent preexisting brain pathology related to cerebrovascular and Alzheimer disease or related dementia. Understanding the factors that modulate PSCID risk in relation to index stroke event is critically important for developing personalized prognostication of PSCID, targeted interventions to prevent it, and for informing future clinical trial design. The DISCOVERY study (Determinants of Incident Stroke Cognitive Outcomes and Vascular Effects on Recovery), a collaborative network of thirty clinical performance clinical sites with access to acute stroke populations and the expertise and capacity for systematic assessment of PSCID will address this critical challenge. DISCOVERY is a prospective, multicenter, observational, nested-cohort study of 8000 nondemented ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke patients enrolled at the time of index stroke and followed for a minimum of 2 years, with serial cognitive evaluations and assessments of functional outcome, with subsets undergoing research magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography and comprehensive genetic/genomic and fluid biomarker testing. The overall scientific objective of this study is to elucidate mechanisms of brain resilience and susceptibility to PSCID in diverse US populations based on complex interplay between life-course exposure to multiple vascular risk factors, preexisting burden of microvascular and neurodegenerative pathology, the effect of strategic acute stroke lesions, and the mediating effect of genomic and epigenomic variation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E499-E516
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021


  • Alzheimer disease
  • biomarker
  • cognition
  • dementia
  • risk factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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