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New point scale to ascertain the stroke recovery

Stroke is undoubtedly the most common neurological disorder and one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. Five million people die of stroke each year and more than 15 million suffer non-fatal strokes.

But the question of the day is about the recovery - whether the patient would recover and if so how long would it take. Researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) in Maryland devised a method which allows doctors to give patients and their families more accurate information about their chances of recovery.

This new method is based on brain scanning using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a stroke assessment test and the number of hours between the onset of the stroke and the MRI to determine the severity of the stroke.

The size of the stroke abnormalities in the brain as a result of blood clot can be measured using the MRI.

Simple tests called the stroke assesment tests to asses the severity of mental damage through simple questions and tasks patients must answer or perform. The time interval between the first stroke symptoms and the MRI gives doctors an indication of critical changes in blood flow to the brain.

"This allows us to be more certain about the probability of recovery, and to put a number on that probability," said Dr. Steven Warach, a neurologist at the NINDS.

Dr. Warach and collegues did a study on 129 subjects. They have devised a 0-7 point scale to assess the severity of the stroke and thereby the recovery. He said only 6% of patients with a low score of 0-2 recovered, but 47% who had medium scores and 93% with the highest marks recovered.

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