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July 26, 2011

Drug Could Limit Brain Damage After Stroke

Scientists said recently that brain damage after stroke could be limited by administering a drug within 12 hours of the attack, which is twice as long as current treatments.

A protein known as alpha-B-crystallin, which slows the immune system, could be used to reduce the swelling after stroke. 

A study found that the protein can work like a sponge to soak up inflammatory molecules in the brain and reduce further damage.

Stroke happens when blood flow to the brain suddenly drops due to a clot or bleeding.

The Stanford University scientists used mice in the experiment that were genetically engineered to lack alpha-B-crystalline.  These mice suffered more brain damage from stroke than normal mice during the study.

The only drug approved for the treatment of stroke must be administered within four and a half hours to be effective.

Dr Sharlin Ahmed of The Stroke Association said in a statement: "This potential new treatment could help improve the outcome for thousands of stroke survivors by reducing the amount of inflammation around the brain after a stroke.

"However, it's still very early days and a lot more research needs to be carried out before this treatment is tested in humans."

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

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