Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lack of awareness about stroke hinders use of life-saving drugs, precludes testing of new therapies

09.03.2004


Dr. Hal Unwin, associate professor of neurology, is leading a study at UT Southwestern of a clot-busting drug that can be administered up to nine hours after the onset of a stroke.


A widespread lack of public awareness about stroke prevents the delivery of leading-edge therapies and hampers the efforts of researchers to test the next generation of clot-busting drugs, said Dr. Hal Unwin, associate professor of neurology at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Last year at Parkland Memorial Hospital – the primary adult teaching hospital for UT Southwestern faculty physicians – only 19 percent of 349 patients diagnosed with the most common form of stroke arrived within three hours of the initial attack, Dr. Unwin said. Three hours is the crucial window of time in which the fast-acting, clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) must be administered. The drug dissolves blood clots in the brain, greatly reducing the risk of death or severe disability.

In June 2003 UT Southwestern launched a trial of Desmoteplase, a second-generation clot-buster made from the saliva of vampire bats that can be administered up to nine hours after the onset of a stroke. But only 16 percent of 252 stroke patients screened for the study since its inception arrived within nine hours of the onset of stroke, and of those 40 patients, none qualified for the treatment. Some arrived in time to receive tPA, and others failed to qualify because they had high blood pressure, were over 85, or had taken an anticoagulant.



"Here we have this opportunity to triple the window of time in which we can treat patients with an effective, fast-acting drug, and we haven’t been able to use it in this study – largely because people don’t know the signs of stroke, and they don’t treat it like an emergency," Dr. Unwin said. "It’s amazing the number of people we encounter who suddenly can’t use their arm one night, and they’ll just go to bed and hope it’s better by morning."

Stroke is the third-leading cause of death and a leading cause of severe disability in the United States. It affects 750,000 Americans of all ages each year. Less than 3 percent of stroke patients nationwide receive tPA, which was refined by UT Southwestern researchers in the 1980s.

According to the American Stroke Association, 74 percent of Americans do not know the most common warning signs of stroke:
  • Sudden numbness in the arm, leg or face on one or both sides of the body
  • Unexpected severe headache with no apparent cause
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or comprehending
  • Sudden vision problems, dizziness, and loss of balance or coordination

While stroke is more common in those over 50, it can happen at any age, even in children. Recognition of stroke in children has increased in recent years partly because of the widespread use of noninvasive diagnostic tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), and, in the neonatal months, cranial ultrasound studies.

In children, strokes occur most frequently during the first year of life, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The most common cause of stroke in children is congenital heart disease.

"Stroke is still, in many environments, poorly understood and poorly treated. It really is a tragedy, and it strongly emphasizes the importance of the educational process," said Dr. Duke Samson, chairman of neurological surgery at UT Southwestern.

UT Southwestern neurologists are on call 24 hours a day to treat stroke, either at Parkland, St. Paul University Hospital or Children’s Medical Center Dallas. The medical center is involved in ongoing stroke studies and is equipped with an array of high-tech tests that help to pinpoint the cause of stroke, and, in many cases, prevent future attacks. One such procedure preempts the chance of stroke from a ruptured aneurysm using a medical device smaller than a standard paper clip.

A stroke is caused when a blood vessel leading to the brain is blocked or bursts. About 83 percent of strokes are caused by blocked blood vessels and are called ischemic strokes. The remaining 17 percent are known as hemorrhagic strokes – caused by a ruptured blood vessel.

When either form of stroke occurs, part of the brain begins to die from lack of oxygen and nutrients, and the parts of the body controlled by that area of the brain are adversely affected.

Desmoteplase, the second-generation clot-buster currently undergoing clinical trials, was discovered after Mexican scientists hypothesized in the 1960s that bats must possess something that keeps blood from clotting when they extract it from prey. The specific protein responsible for the anti-clotting action was identified in the 1980s.


To automatically receive news releases from UT Southwestern via e-mail, subscribe at http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/utsw/cda/dept37326/files/37813.html

Rachel Horton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.swmed.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht How prenatal maternal infections may affect genetic factors in Autism spectrum disorder
22.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht Camouflage apples
22.03.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pulverizing electronic waste is green, clean -- and cold

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers hazard a ride in a 'drifting carousel' to understand pulsating stars

22.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New gel-like coating beefs up the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>