Navigation Links
Mini-strokes leave 'hidden' brain damage: Vancouver Coastal Health and UBC Research

Each year, approximately 150,000 Canadians have a transient ischemic attack (TIA), sometimes known as a mini-stroke. New research published today in Stroke, the journal of the American Heart Association shows these attacks may not be transient at all. They in fact create lasting damage to the brain.

The stroke research team, led by Dr. Lara Boyd, physical therapist and neuroscientist with the Brain Research Centre at Vancouver Coastal Health and the University of British Columbia, studied 13 patients from the Stroke Prevention Clinic at Vancouver General Hospital and compared them against 13 healthy study participants. The TIA subjects had all experienced an acute episode affecting motor systems, but had symptoms resolved within 24 hours. The patients were studied within 14-30 days of their episode, and showed no impairment through clinical evaluation or standard imaging (CT or MRI). Participants then underwent a unique brain mapping procedure using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) with profound results.

"What we found has never been seen before," says Dr. Boyd, who also holds the Canada Research Chair in Neurobiology of Motor Learning at UBC. "The brain mapping capabilities of the TMS showed us that TIA is actually causing damage to the brain that lasts much longer than we previously thought it did. In fact, we are not sure if the brain ever recovers."

In the TIA group, brain cells on the affected side of the brain showed changes in their excitability making it harder for both excitatory and inhibitory neurons to respond as compared to the undamaged side and to a group of people with healthy brains. These changes are very concerning to the researchers as they show that TIA is likely not a transient event.

A transient ischemic attack is characterized as a brief episode of blood loss to the brain, creating symptoms such as numbness or tingling, temporary loss of vision, difficulty speaking, or weakness on one side of the body. Symptoms usually resolve quickly and many people do not take such an episode seriously. However, TIAs are often warning signs of a future stroke. The risk of a stroke increases dramatically in the days after an attack, and the TIA may offer an opportunity to find a cause or minimize the risk to prevent the permanent neurologic damage that results because of a stroke.

"These findings are very important," says Dr. Philip Teal, head of the Stroke Prevention Clinic at VGH and co-author of the study. "We know that TIA is a warning sign of future stroke. We treat every TIA as though it will result in a stroke, but not every person goes on to have a stroke. By refining this brain mapping technique, our hope is to identify who is most at risk, and direct treatment more appropriately."

The use of transcranial magnetic stimulation in examining the patterns of brain activation as they relate to motor learning after stroke has been a main focus of Dr. Boyd and her research lab.

The research team has recently received a Canadian Institutes for Health Research grant to continue their research in this area. "We know now that people may look and feel fine, and even standard imaging says they are fine, but they are not," says Jodi Edwards, PhD candidate in the School of Population and Public Health, UBC, lead author of the study, and member of Dr. Boyd's lab. "We want to know if the damage persists, if we can identify who is most at risk, and how we can most effectively target the damaged area for optimum treatment. We are extremely excited to continue to follow this work."


Contact: Lisa Carver
604-875-4111 x61777
University of British Columbia

Related medicine news :

1. Apology May Leave You Feeling Unsatisfied, Study Finds
2. One in 12 Fans Leaves Major Sports Events Drunk: Study
3. Brain Anomaly Leaves Woman Without Fear
4. Elderly Patients Who Get on Feet Leave Hospital Sooner
5. Alternative therapies may leave asthmatics gasping
6. For Ex-Smokers, Some Cigarette Cravings May Never Leave
7. Report shows federal poverty guidelines leave states seniors destitute
8. Mental health leaves most costly disability to Canadian employers
9. Leave July 4 Fireworks to the Pros
10. US dental schools leave graduates unprepared to screen for sleep disorders
11. Club Drug Special K Could Leave Users Incontinent
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... , ... Pixel Film Studios is back again with ProPanel: Pulse . ... endless. Users have full control over angle of view, speed method, start point, end ... to get heads to turn. , ProPanel: Pulse offers fully customizable pulsating shape masks, ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... , ... The rapid speed at which Americans are aging ... is needed, especially with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other cognitive conditions becoming more prevalent. ... part of this equation: 80 percent of medical care occurs in the home, ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... The print ... USA Today in Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Minneapolis, South Florida, with a circulation ... is distributed nationally, through a vast social media strategy and across a network ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... A simply groundbreaking television series, "Voices ... show that delves into an array of issues that are presently affecting Americans. Dedicated ... open dialogue, this show is changing the subjects consumers focus on, one episode at ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Dr. Thomas Dunlap ... Inc. and Dr. Tucker Bierbaum with Emergency Medicine at St., Joseph Health ... both STEMI and Sepsis conditions present in similar ways and require time-critical intervention to ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 ... the  "2016 Future Horizons and Growth ... Marker Testing Market: Supplier Shares, Competitive ... offering.  --> ) ... "2016 Future Horizons and Growth Strategies ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015  The American Academy of Pediatrics ... and the March of Dimes cheered today,s signature ... Infants Act of 2015 (S.799), which takes ... born exposed to drugs, such as opioids, and ... all three organizations have worked together leading advocacy ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... -- ARKRAY USA , Inc., a leader ... the accuracy of its blood glucose meter systems. Last ... and Cardiovascular Disease in Los Angeles ... 01 meter and the Assure ® Prism ... accurately measure glucose levels in blood is essential for ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: