A rare type of stroke can occur as a result of long airplane flights, according to a study in the June 24 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The type of stroke can occur in people who have a patent foramen ovale, or an opening between two chambers in the heart. The opening is present in about 30 percent of the general population. Air travel increases the risk of developing blood clots in the veins of the legs, which can then enter the bloodstream and block an artery in the lungs, a condition called pulmonary embolism. In some cases, the opening can allow the blood clot to enter the arteries of the brain, causing a stroke.