News / Health

    New Stroke Treatment Shows Promise in Mice

    Approach focuses on reprogramming brain cells

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Art Chimes

    Scientists hope undamaged regions of the brain can take over the role of brain cells killed off in a stroke, allowing patients to regain some lost functions.
    Scientists hope undamaged regions of the brain can take over the role of brain cells killed off in a stroke, allowing patients to regain some lost functions.

    Researchers in California are showing some promising results with a new approach to treating stroke. The scientists are focusing on getting undamaged parts of the brain to take over functions impaired by the stroke.

    In a stroke, a loss of blood supply — from a clot, for example — can starve brain tissue of oxygen, and brain cells die.

    Each part of the brain is hard-wired for certain functions. One part interprets vision, for example; another moves the left hand. But if undamaged regions can take over the role of the brain cells killed off in the stroke, then patients might regain lost functions.

    Thomas Carmichael of the University of California Los Angeles explains that the brain can do that itself, in a limited way.

    "The tissue around the damaged region can take over some of the function that was lost," he said in a telephone interview.

    "For example, if the region that was lost moved the arm, a portion of the brain that, say, normally moves the face — which is adjacent to the arm region — can take over some arm movement."

    Carmichael and his colleagues have been trying to figure out how to improve the process.

    Using laboratory mice, the scientists induced a stroke in the animals' forelimbs.

    "And the rest of the forelimb-movement area [of their brains] is supposed to kick into gear and take over function," Carmichael said. "And what we found is this tissue that was supposed to kick into gear was instead over-inhibited because it had an accumulation of this inhibitory molecule, GABA."

    GABA helps regulate the body's muscle tone, but it also inhibits brain cells from taking on any new functions.

    So the researchers gave the mice drugs designed to counter the effect of GABA. The result was a significant gain of function in the forelimbs affected by the stroke.

    But the scientists found that timing was critical.

    "And what we found is, you can give these chemicals beginning, in the mouse, three days after stroke. But if you give them earlier, you actually make the stroke worse."

    They got the best results when the treatment was continued for 30 days.

    As Carmichael and his colleagues continue their research, one thing they'll be looking at is whether this kind of treatment would work for strokes affecting any part of the brain.

    "We know that this therapy works in strokes that occur in the cortex — one part of the brain — as well as in the basal ganglia, a second part of the brain. And so far it looks like this therapy will work with strokes in many different parts of the brain," Carmichael said.

    There's a long way to go before this stroke treatment is used to treat human patients. More animal tests are needed; and then, if all goes well, there will be human trials.

    The research by Thomas Carmichael and his colleagues was published online by the journal Nature.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.