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New Stroke Treatments Reduce Brain Damage, Improve Recovery
Date:2/21/2008

Caffeine-alcohol mix plus clot-busting drug proves potent resource as does body cooling with fever reducer

THURSDAY, Feb. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Giving stroke patients a caffeine-alcohol mixture in concert with a clot-busting drug was safe and led to better recovery, new research shows.

One of the researchers has a patent on the mixture, called caffeinol, but lead author Dr. Sheryl Martin-Schild, a neurovascular fellow at the University of Texas Health Science Center, noted that, "this could easily be put together by pharmacists, it's easy to deliver and well-tolerated."

The group has U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to use caffeinol in studies and is hoping approval for "common consumption" will follow.

This was one of several studies on new stroke treatments that were detailed during a teleconference Thursday as part of the American Stroke Associations International Stroke Conference in New Orleans.

Previous studies showed that caffeinol, a combination of caffeine and ethanol that is the equivalent of four to six cups of strong coffee and a shot of alcohol, reduced brain damage and improved recovery when used in mice.

"When this medication was given, the final size of the stroke was much smaller than if the animal did not get caffeinol," Martin-Schild said. The combination also lowered body temperature, which further limited damage and enhanced recovery.

In the Phase I study presented Thursday, 10 adult stroke patients received the clot-busting drug tPA within three hours and an infusion of caffeinol within six hours of the stroke, while 90 received tPA alone within three hours of the beginning of stroke symptoms.

By the time they were discharged from the hospital, 60 percent of those in the caffeinol group had little or no disability, compared with 26 percent of those who had received tPA alone.

Although the severity of stroke was worse at baseline in t
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