Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) detected stroke 83% of the time,  the American Academy of Neurology says.

WASHINGTON - An MRI is much better for diagnosing a stroke than a CT scan, the current standard test, the American Academy of Neurology said in new guidelines released Monday.

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, detected strokes 83% of the time, compared to just 26% for computed tomography or CT scans, the group said.

CT scans are a specialized series of X-rays; MRIs use magnets and radio waves. Both use computer programs to arrange the data into an image.

Most strokes are ischemic, caused by a blood clot in the brain, and patients do far better when treated within three hours.

Symptoms of a stroke can be subtle and include sudden numbness or weakness of the face or a limb, sudden confusion, trouble speaking and walking, and a sudden headache.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, after heart disease and cancer.


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