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E. What You Should Know about 'Mini-Strokes'

Narrator: This is Science Today. Every year, about 240 thousand Americans are diagnosed with a transient ischemic attack, or TIA. Dr. S. Claiborne Johnston, a neurologist at the University of California , San Francisco Medical Center , says TIAs are essentially mini-strokes.

Johnston : The traditional definition for TIAs that those symptoms resolve within twenty-four hours, but they typically resolve in an hour or less. What's new is that just in the last few years, we've come to realize that risk of having a permanent stroke after a TIA is very high after the first few days to weeks after the TIA.

Narrator: That's why seeking treatment immediately is essential.

Johnston : Any sudden neurological symptoms should be considered an emergency. The only way that you'll be adequately treated if we could figure it out is to come in right away and have the physicians try to figure it out and do testing and often when a patient arrives and is carefully evaluated, we can tell whether it was a TIA and certainly we can always tell whether it was a stroke.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.