Stroke

Brain Saver: Vitamin E Supplement Helps ‘Redirect’ Blood During Stroke

Body.Blood.CellsStrokes are a leading cause of death and long-term disability in the US. With the failure of more than 1,000 experimental neuroprotective drugs, one scientist has stopped trying to discover the next new stroke treatment, and instead is trying to prevent strokes from happening in the first place. He thinks he may have found the answer in a little known member of the vitamin E family, which appears to remodel the brain’s circulatory system and provide protection the instant a stroke strikes.

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Source: Ohio State University Center for Clinical and Translational Science. “Brain saver: Vitamin E supplement helps ‘redirect’ blood during stroke.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 April 2014.


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How Does Stress Increase Your Risk for Stroke and Heart Attack?

Body.Disease.Heart1It is thought that persisting stress increases the risk for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease by evoking negative emotions that, in turn, raise the levels of pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body.

Researchers have now investigated the underlying neural circuitry of this process, and report their findings in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry. “Drawing upon the observation that many of the same brain areas involved in emotion are also involved in sensing and regulating levels of inflammation in the body, we hypothesized that brain activity linked to negative emotions – specifically efforts to regulate negative emotions – would relate to physical signs of risk for heart disease,” explained Dr. Peter Gianaros, Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh and first author on the study.

They found that individuals who show greater brain activation when regulating their negative emotions also exhibit elevated blood levels of interleukin-6, one of the body’s pro-inflammatory cytokines, and increased thickness of the carotid artery wall, a marker of atherosclerosis.

The inflammation levels accounted for the link between signs of atherosclerosis and brain activity patterns seen during emotion regulation. Importantly, the findings were significant even after controlling for a number of different factors, like age, gender, smoking, and other conventional heart disease risk factors.

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Source: Medical News Today.

Blood Pressure Control, Lifestyle Changes Key to Preventing Subsequent Strokes

Body.BrainStroke survivors should control their blood pressure, cholesterol and weight and do moderate physical activity regularly to avoid having another stroke, according to an American Heart Association/American Stroke Association scientific statement.

They should also receive other evidence-based therapy specific to their individual health, which may include aspirin therapy or a surgical procedure to keep neck arteries open.

The statement, “Guidelines for the Prevention of Stroke in Patients with Stroke and Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA),”is published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

Treating high blood pressure is possibly most important for secondary prevention of ischemic stroke, according to the statement. About 70 percent of people who have had a recent ischemic also have high blood pressure.

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Source: American Heart Association. “Blood pressure control, lifestyle changes key to preventing subsequent strokes.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 May 2014.