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Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center research shows fish oil component given up to 5 hours after stroke limits brain damage
Date:11/9/2010

beneficial effects in patients with coronary heart disease, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, sepsis, cancer, dry eye disease, and age-related macular degeneration, but its potential benefit in stroke was not known.

"We are just now beginning to understand the significant impact of omega-3 essential fatty acids on stroke," notes Dr. Bazan. "There is no simple solution just yet, but each new discovery brings us closer to defeating stroke and other debilitating neurodegenerative diseases."

To determine how DHA might be effective in stroke treatment and recovery, the LSUHSC research team administered either DHA or saline intravenously at 3, 4, 5, and 6 hours after the onset of stroke. MRIs showed that neurological deficits were reduced by the administration of DHA. DHA treatment reduced swelling and facilitated neurobehavioral recovery. The volume of the area of destroyed tissue was reduced by an average of 40% when DHA was administered at 3 hours, 66% at 4 hours, and 59% at 5 hours. Further analysis showed it triggered production of Neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1), a naturally occurring neuroprotective molecule in the brain derived from DHA and discovered by Dr. Bazan. Not only did DHA treatment salvage brain tissue that would have died, its repair mechanisms rendered some areas indistinguishable from normal tissue by 7 days. Dr. Bazan's laboratory leads the field of medical research into understanding DHA's and NPD1's pro-survival properties.

Administering clot-busting drugs (thrombolysis) is currently the only treatment for ischemic stroke. But due to a narrow therapeutic window and complexity of administration, only 300% of patients benefit from thrombolysis.

According to the World Health Organization, 15 million people worldwide have a stroke each year, 6 million of whom die from it. Stroke is the second leading cause of death for people above the age of 60 and is the leading cause of long-term disability irrespective of age, gender, ethni
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Contact: Leslie Capo
lcapo@lsuhsc.edu
504-568-4806
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
Source:Eurekalert

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