Monday, June 9, 2014

Groundbreaking Study, New Hope to Stroke Patients

Worldwide, stroke is the second-leading cause of death after heart disease and the second leading cause of disability, after dementia.

It may not come as a surprise that stroke, recently referred to as “the old folks’ problem,” affects over 800,000 Americans each year.  However, according to the consensus report, published in the journal Neurology, 15% are young adults – and the number is rising.

For young adults, stroke is a sudden life changing event with economic consequences. Disabling patients before their most productive years, equally while dealing with relationships, careers and raising children. About 1 in 8 lose the ability to live independently.

Alarmed by statistics, UGA scientific researchers at the Regenerative Bioscience Center (RBC), Simon Platt, Shannon Holmes, Elizabeth Howerth, and Franklin West hope advanced results from animal magnetic resonance imaging and cell-based therapies may lead to new opportunities for treatment and prevention of the disease.

There are two broad types of stroke – ischemic stroke (85% of all strokes) and hemorrhagic stroke (15% of all strokes).

Ischemic stroke is one of the world’s fastest-growing diseases with high mortality and the leading cause of long-term disability worldwide. Ischemic strokes result from an occlusion of a major cerebral artery by a thrombus or an embolism, which leads to loss of blood flow in a specific region. The remaining strokes are hemorrhagic, where a blood vessel bursts either in the brain or on its surface.  

Regardless of the type of stroke a person experiences, immediate medical imaging is required to prevail against damage to the brain.  

The RBC research team; Platt, Holmes, Howerth, and West showed that through Magnetic Resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain they could correlate changes in stroke pig brain maps with human patient outcomes. Lending hope, that MRI neuroimaging with brain maps (ADC), could become a standardize baseline for a rapid comprehensive assessment in acute stroke with the potential to steer timely treatment decisions for optimal human patient outcomes.

Better mapping will eventually lead to better treatments, such as stem cell therapies.

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For press information contact: Charlene Betourney Regenerative Bioscience Center UGA

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