Researchers reported in the Annals of Neurology that people living in the stroke belt had an 18% increased risk of showing signs of cognitive impairment, with 1,090 residents of the eight Southern states exhibiting symptoms compared with 847 Americans living in 40 other states, according to the study of almost 24,000 people. The study's authors speculate that the findings may be attributed to multiple factors, including genetic predisposition, nutrition and obesity.

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