Scientists at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine have discovered the cause of a deadly type of secondary stroke known as cerebral vasospasm.
A constriction of the blood vessels in the brain, cerebral vasospasm usually occurs three to 10 days following a massive brain bleed known as hemorrhagic stroke. Sixty percent of patients who survive the initial stroke develop vasospasm, and 40 percent of them die from it.
Vasospasm, says neurology department researcher Joseph Clark, PhD, results from a buildup of toxins caused by bleeding from the initial stroke. "Normally the cerebral spinal fluid that envelopes the brain carries off wastes and exchanges them for nutrients at whats called the blood-brain barrier," Dr. Clark says. "After a hemorrhagic stroke, however, toxins given off by the brain bleed contribute to the development of specific molecules that later causes the constricting vasospasm." A research team led by Dr. Clark has now identified the molecules that trigger vasospasm, a breakthrough, he says, that "raises hopes of developing not only new ways to treat the condition, but also a diagnostic test to determine which hemorrhagic stroke survivors are at greater risk."
Sheryl Hilton | EurekAlert!
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