Stopping Stroke Damage with a Shot

Stopping Stroke Damage with a Shot

Reported June 17, 2011

NEW ORLEANS, LA (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Every year, 750 thousand Americans suffer a stroke. And more than 150 thousand die. Time is life following an attack, so the sooner you get treatment, the better chance you have to survive. A stroke can take away your ability to speak or even move, functions that may never come back. But now, scientists may have found a new way to stop and even reverse that damage.

50-year-old David Adams used to run a restaurant. Then, five years ago, he had a stroke. His life changed in an instant. Thanks to years of therapy, David’s gotten his independence and some skills back.

“Reading, writing, talking, driving,” David told Ivanhoe.

While David and countless others face the daily challenges of life after stroke, LSU researchers have been looking for a way to stop the damage. The answer came from a surprising place.

“DHA, which is a very important component of fish oil,” Nicolas Bazan, M.D., Ph.D., a neuroscientist at LSU Health Sciences Center, said.

A team led by LSU neuroscientist doctor Nicolas Bazan discovered that one injection of DHA can protect the brain for up to five hours after a stroke and stop the damage.

“In fact, it does both, protection and reversion of cells that are in the process of being severely injured,” Dr. Bazan said.

In the brain with DHA the injured area continues to shrink from the first day to the seventh.

“This could be the way to protect and minimize the terrible consequences of stroke.” Dr. Bazan said.

It’s still early, but some are calling it a breakthrough. David calls it something else.

“Beautiful, I mean beautiful,” David said.

Administering clot-busting drugs is currently the only treatment for ischemic stroke. But, only three to five percent of stroke patients benefit from these drugs. LSU researchers hope to begin human clinical trials with the new fish oil compound within two or three years. Meanwhile, David Adams is working as a stroke advocate, helping other stroke victims in their recovery.