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Brain Health and Cerebrovascular Care


Key Researcher

Clinical Profile

Behnam Sabayan, MD, MSc, PhD, is a vascular neurologist, neuro-epidemiologist and clinician investigator at Hennepin Healthcare.

Dr. Sabayan earned his medical degree from Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Iran, and continued his postgraduate studies by obtaining a master of science in aging and vitality along with a PhD in clinical neuroscience at Leiden University, the Netherlands. After postdoctoral training in neuro-epidemiology at NIA/NIH, he pursued clinical training in Neurology at Northwestern University followed by a fellowship in vascular neurology at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital.

Brain Health and Cerebrovascular Care

Dr. Behnam Sabayan's research is centered on contributions of vascular and social factors in brain health and aging. He has published several articles, book chapters and abstracts exploring and discussing the role of systemic and cerebrovascular dysfunction in impairment of brain structural and functional integrity. His research area has a specific emphasis on defining brain health phenotypes and to study how interventions at the level of high-risk individuals, and at the population level can impact preservation and promotion of brain health.

At HHRI, Dr. Sabayan's research lab is dedicated to identifying biomarkers capable of distinguishing diverse trajectories of brain health. These biomarkers serve as a crucial foundation for devising preventive and therapeutic approaches aimed at decelerating cognitive decline in patients predisposed to cerebrovascular risk factors and associated diseases, such as intracranial atherosclerosis, cerebral small vessel diseases, as well as cardiac and kidney impairments. In addition, at a bigger scale, his work seeks to unravel social determinants of brain health and how health policies can influence the state of brain health in the society.

In recent decades, our understanding about the etiology and management of dementia and stroke has undergone significant transformation. Recognizing their extended pre-clinical phases, emphasis now lies on life-course preventive strategies, pivotal in altering the trajectories of cognitive decline and preventing stroke.

Related statistics:

  • The 3 major burdensome neurologic disorders (stroke, dementias, and migraine) result in more than 8.5 million disability-adjusted life-years in the United States.
  • About 40% of dementia cases can be prevented or delayed by multimodal lifestyle and vascular risk factors modification.
  • Approximately 800,000 people experience stroke each year in the United States, resulting in over 140,000 deaths, while many survivors face major disabilities.
  • It is estimated that about 80% of strokes are preventable.



Key Publications

Additional publications can be found on Google Scholar.

  • Sabayan B, et al. The role of population-level preventive care for brain health in aging. Lancet Healthy Longev. 2023;4(6):e274-e283.
  • Sabayan B.Primary Prevention of Ischemic Stroke. Semin Neurol. 2022;42(5):571-582.
  • Sabayan B, et al. Preventive Neurology: An Emerging Field Toward Brain Health. Neurology. 2021;97(19):916-919.
  • Sabayan B, et al. Reducing Risk of Dementia in Older Age. JAMA. 2017;317(19):2028.
  • Sabayan B, et al. Association of visit-to-visit blood pressure variability with cognitive function in old age: A prospective cohort study. BMJ. 2013 29;347:f4600.
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