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Stroke rates in seniors have declined but remained the same in younger people, according to a new study.

There's good news for those concerned about their brain health as they get older: Stroke rates are declining among senior citizens in America.

HealthDay News reports that a new long-term study, led by Dr. Josef Coresh of the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has found that Americans aged 65 and older are suffering fewer strokes today than they did 20 years ago. This conclusion was found true for seniors across both gender and race. Coresh attributed this decline "to improved treatment of risk factors," although the death rate among seniors who suffer from a stroke remained unchanged.

Americans under 65, however, exhibited the complete opposite result. Stroke occurrence for this younger demographic was found to be continuing at the same rate, while the frequency of stroke-related deaths actually decreased. According to Dr. Ralph Sacco, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine's neurology chairman, this is likely because "our ability to treat and improve survival after stroke" is more effective and successful in younger patients.

"The more concerning news is the lack of decline [in stroke rates] among those under 65," Sacco told the source. "When you look at that statistic in relationship to recent warnings that diabetes, obesity and lack of physical activity are still major problems that have not been reduced in the last decade, this raises some red flags."

Despite this decline in both senior stroke rates and fatal stroke rates among younger people, strokes continue to be the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S. today, and affect nearly 800,000 people each year. The uneven rate decreases found among younger and older Americans means researchers will have to pay closer attention to specific demographics.

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