alifornia (Online) - People who have recently experienced a stroke may be more than twice as likely to develop dementia than individuals who haven’t had a stroke, a new study suggests.

While stroke has long been linked to a heightened risk of dementia, particularly in older adults, the exact magnitude of the increased risk hasn’t been consistent across previous studies investigating this connection. For the current study, researchers pooled data from 48 previous studies with a total of 3.2 million participants worldwide.

People who had a recent stroke were 2.2 times more likely to develop dementia than people who never had a stroke, the analysis found. And a history of stroke was associated with a 69 percent higher chance of developing dementia.

“These findings stress the importance of protecting the blood supply to the brain in order to protect against dementia,” said senior study author Dr. David Llewellyn of the University of Exeter Medical School in the UK.