Background: Finding an acute brain lesion by diffusion-weighted (DW) MRI upon an episode of transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a predictor of imminent stroke in the near future. Therefore, exploring risk factors associated with lesions in DW-MRI of the brain is important in adopting an approach to TIA management. In the current study, we tried to determine the risk factors associated with lesions in DW-MRI of the brain in patients experiencing TIA episodes.Methods: Fifty patients with TIA were recruited consecutively in Sina Hospital, Tehran, Iran, over a 6-month period between July 2008 and January 2009. All of the patients underwent a complete neurological examination and laboratory tests. Brain DW-MRIs were performed for all the patients within 72 hours of a TIA episode.Results: DW-MRI revealed an acute lesion in 16% of the participants. There was a significant correlation between presence of an acute lesion in DW-MRI and TIA duration, history of diabetes mellitus and presence of unilateral facial palsy (P=0.0003, P=0.02 and P=0.008, respectively). Other variables such as age, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, past history of TIA, headache, vertigo, and sensory or visual disturbances had no significant relation with the presence of an acute lesion in DW-MRI.Conclusion: Duration of TIA, presence of diabetes mellitus and unilateral facial palsy are risk factors for an acute lesion in DW-MRI, meaning that patients with such risk factors are at risk for stroke in the near future.