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Scientists are investigating new ways to combat devastating effects of stroke

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New ways to combat devastating effects of Stroke

Researchers at the University of Connecticut Health Center are investigating new methods to prevent the devastating effects of stroke data, which is a major source of disability. Dr. Louise D. McCullough, professor of neurology and neuroscience and director of stroke research, explained that the stroke does not kill you but most people say they would rather be dead than live for life with severe disabilities which prevent to care for themselves. Dr. McCullough added that such patients need assistance because most cannot get out of bed. Another important disability is that sometimes stroke affects speech centers in the brain and patients cannot speak anymore. The number of stroke survivors grow increasingly as global population becomes increasingly older.



Stroke is of two types: hemorrhagic stroke and ischemic stroke. Hemorrhagic stroke is rare but often more serious than  ischemic stroke. Ischemic stroke is the most common and occurs through the clogging of arteries in the brain due to an embolus or plaque. Signs and symptoms of stroke are weakness on one side of the body or face, inability to speak or understand, vision problems, etc.. Symptoms vary depending on which brain area is affected.

Research conducted by Dr. McCullough focused on ischemic stroke, the most common form of brain attack. Ischemic stroke is a medical emergency that can be treated with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a “clot-busting” medication. If this therapy is administered shortly after the occurrence of stroke, the chances of recovery are much higher. It should be noted that this drug cannot be given for patients with certain medical conditions.

Dr. McCullough said that nationwide only 5-8% of stroke patients receive tPA, so treatment is quite limited in these patients. She noted that there has not yet been found a drug to protect the brain after a stroke and that reperfusion is less effective because the brain is already affected.

There are many risk factors that lead to stroke and one of them is high blood pressure. Therefore, researchers are trying to find a way to reduce both the occurrence of stroke and its effects. However successful treatments in laboratory animals cannot be applied with the same success rate in humans. “We create a model, study it, go back to patients, then go back to research. Our overall goal is to someday say we have a new treatment that can make a difference in people’s lives”, said Dr. Lauren Hachmann Sansing, assistant professor of neurology.