Neuroprotective Drugs May Improve Outcomes After a Cerebral Stroke - Oren Zarif - Cerebral Stroke
While there are no cures for cerebral stroke, recent advances in endovascular thrombectomy have opened the door to new neuroprotective agents. These compounds extend the window of time when blood flow can be restored to the brain, and they protect the surrounding tissue. These agents are expected to enhance long-term functional outcomes. Scientists at NINDS are working to develop interventions that may enhance the efficacy of these drugs. A new study may prove that this treatment may improve outcome.
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Early treatment of a cerebral stroke is essential for the recovery of the patient. The first cells that die in a stroke may die four to five minutes after the onset of the condition. Even after restoring blood flow, the recovery process is not complete until at least 2 hours have passed. The injured tissue remains fragile and most injuries are permanent. Despite the efforts of healthcare professionals and volunteers, most people with a stroke will remain in a vegetative state for months.
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Rehabilitation after a cerebral stroke may involve various forms of therapy. For example, occupational therapy may help patients engage in activities that used to be easy for them. Occupational therapists can recommend specific exercises to improve their balance and core strength. Additionally, vision training may help patients regain some of their sight. These exercises stimulate the brain to better process visual input. A stroke affected by the cerebellum may have symptoms related to speech, balance, or motor learning.
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In addition to the symptoms, patients may experience a transient ischemic attack, which occurs when blood flow is temporarily interrupted. A clot forms in the brain and blocks the flow of blood. This type of stroke is typically mild and confined to a small portion of the brain. However, it is an important early warning sign of a larger stroke. TIA is often accompanied by other symptoms, such as blurred vision or weakness of the legs.
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Early diagnosis of a stroke is crucial for ensuring a proper treatment. Early detection of the condition can save the life of a patient. A physician may use several tools to determine whether or not someone is suffering from a stroke. The first step in the diagnosis process is the neurological examination. The healthcare professional will assess the patient's symptoms and ask about their onset. If symptoms appear early enough, a treatment can be started on the same day.
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In the event that the patient has a cerebral stroke, the likelihood of developing the disease will differ by race and ethnicity. For example, African Americans are more likely to suffer a stroke than Caucasians. Hispanics, on the other hand, are more likely to die from the disease than Caucasians. So it is important to know the differences in risk factors for stroke and ensure that these disparities are reduced. For example, if a person has high blood pressure, there may be a connection between blood pressure and risk for stroke.
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To diagnose a stroke, healthcare professionals use a variety of brain imaging techniques. The results allow them to determine the type of stroke a patient is experiencing, the extent of the damage, and the best treatment. Computerized tomography, or CT, involves the use of x-rays and a computer to create cross-sectional images. A common CT scan of the head and brain is used to rule out hemorrhagic stroke. It is available in most hospitals and provides results quickly. The doctor must determine whether bleeding is present or not in the brain before administering some medications or other treatment.
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There are several causes of cerebral stroke. Some are related to the high blood pressure or diabetes that can affect the brain. High blood pressure is one of the most common causes of stroke. High blood pressure can cause small blood vessels to become leaky. The resulting hemorrhage in the brain may damage the white matter, which serves as the wires of the brain and is the insulating coating of the brain. Eventually, the blood volume can reach critical levels in the brain, causing cognitive impairment.
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Researchers are working to improve brain repair after a stroke. With the right therapies, scientists can restore basic functions. However, the brain has a remarkable ability to learn and change. Researchers at NINDS are studying the brain's capacity to adapt to changes and can even rewire the connections between nerve cells. In the meantime, they are conducting clinical trials to find a treatment for stroke. And, the NINDS is the largest supporter of stroke research in the U.S.