The researchers are now moving to randomized trials.
A second study found that cooling stroke patients with a fever-reducing drug and ice helps reduce both fever and the collection of fluid around the brain. This would be an alternative to moderate hypothermia (body cooling), which requires general anesthesia.
Of the 20 patients studied, the body-cooling therapy showed reduced brain damage when compared with the hospital records of 60 similar patients who did not receive hypothermia, according to the authors, from the National Cardiovascular Center in Suita, Japan.
Yet another study, this one from Spain, found that a modified form of tPA, called tenecteplase, was better at re-opening blocked brain arteries than standard tPA. Tenecteplase stays in the blood longer and is drawn more to fibrin, a protein associated with clotting.
Although the time it took to begin re-opening the artery was similar in both groups (27 to 35 minutes), the tenecteplase patients had experienced more progress two hours after the procedure, with an average of 69 percent of the artery cleared compared with only 53 percent in those treated with tPA. Just over 42 percent of the tenecteplase patients saw complete re-opening of the artery versus 33.4 percent of tPA patients.
A final study, from researchers in South Korea, found that stem cells from human fat tissue might one day be able to treat ischemic strokes. Rats who received transplantations of these cells showed better brain blood flow and other signs of improved stroke recovery.
The American Stroke Association has more on ischemic stroke.
SOURCES: Sheryl Martin-Schild, M.D., Ph.D., University of Texas Health Sc
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