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By Laura Sanders COVID-19 cases described by U.K. doctors offer a sharper view of the illness’s possible effects on the brain. Strokes, confusion and psychosis were found among a group of 125 people hospitalized with infections of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus behind the pandemic. The results, described June 25 in Lancet Psychiatry, come from a group of severely sick people, so they can’t answer how common these types of neurological symptoms may be in a more general population. Still, these details bring scientists closer to better understanding COVID-19. Brain-related symptoms of COVID-19 patients can slip through the cracks. “These relatively rare but incredibly severe complications get missed, like needles in a haystack,” says Benedict Michael, a neurologist at the University of Liverpool in England. So he and his colleagues designed a survey to uncover these symptoms. Sign up for e-mail updates on the latest coronavirus news and research In April, neurologists, stroke physicians, psychiatrists and other doctors across the United Kingdom entered COVID-19 patient details to a centralized database as part of the survey. Targeting these scientific specialties meant that the patients included were likely to have brain-related symptoms. Of the 125 patients described fully, 77 experienced an interruption of blood flow in the brain, most often caused by a blood clot in the brain. Blood clots are a well-known and pernicious COVID-19 complication (SN: 6/23/20), and strokes have been seen in younger people with COVID-19. About a third of the 125 patients had a shift in mental state, including confusion, personality change or depression. Eighteen of 37 patients with altered mental states were younger than 60. So far, it’s unclear exactly how SARS-CoV-2 causes these symptoms. © Society for Science & the Public 2000–2020.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 27330 - Posted: 06.27.2020

Jon Hamilton A neurologist who encased his healthy right arm in a pink fiberglass cast for two weeks has shown how quickly the brain can change after an injury or illness. Daily scans of Dr. Nico Dosenbach's brain showed that circuits controlling his immobilized arm disconnected from the body's motor system within 48 hours. But during the same period, his brain began to produce new signals seemingly meant to keep those circuits intact and ready to reconnect quickly with the unused limb. Dosenbach, an assistant professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, repeated the experiment on two colleagues (their casts were purple and blue) and got the same result. In all three people, the disconnected brain circuits quickly reconnected after the cast was removed. The study, published online in the journal Neuron, shows that "within a few days, we can rearrange some of the most fundamental, most basic functional relationships of the brain," Dosenbach says. It suggests it is possible to reverse brain changes caused by disuse of a limb after a stroke or brain injury. The results of the study appear to support the use of something called constraint-induced movement therapy, or CIMT, which helps people – usually children — regain the use of a disabled arm or hand by constraining the other, healthy limb with a sling, splint or cast. Previous studies of CIMT have produced mixed results, in part because they focused on brain changes associated with increased use of a disabled arm, Dosenbach says. "We looked at the effect of actually not using an arm because we thought that was a much more powerful intervention," he says. © 2020 npr

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 11: Motor Control and Plasticity
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language; Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 27311 - Posted: 06.19.2020

In a nationwide study, NIH funded researchers found that the presence of abnormal bundles of brittle blood vessels in the brain or spinal cord, called cavernous angiomas (CA), are linked to the composition of a person’s gut bacteria. Also known as cerebral cavernous malformations, these lesions which contain slow moving or stagnant blood, can often cause hemorrhagic strokes, seizures, or headaches. Current treatment involves surgical removal of lesions when it is safe to do so. Previous studies in mice and a small number of patients suggested a link between CA and gut bacteria. This study is the first to examine the role the gut microbiome may play in a larger population of CA patients. Led by scientists at the University of Chicago, the researchers used advanced genomic analysis techniques to compare stool samples from 122 people who had at least one CA as seen on brain scans, with those from age- and sex-matched, control non-CA participants, including samples collected through the American Gut Project(link is external). Initially, they found that on average the CA patients had more gram-negative bacteria whereas the controls had more gram-positive bacteria, and that the relative abundance of three gut bacterial species distinguished CA patients from controls regardless of a person’s sex, geographic location, or genetic predisposition to the disease. Moreover, gut bacteria from the CA patients appeared to produce more lipopolysaccharide molecules which have been shown to drive CA formation in mice. According to the authors, these results provided the first demonstration in humans of a “permissive microbiome” associated with the formation of neurovascular lesions in the brain.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language; Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 27280 - Posted: 06.04.2020

Kerry Grens Several hospitals in the US have observed strokes in a number of patients being treating for coronavirus, leading to concern that the infection may be causing devastating blockages in the brain. For at least two facilities, these events account for a spike in stroke cases among middle-aged patients. “Our report shows a seven-fold increase in incidence of sudden stroke in young patients during the past two weeks,” Thomas Oxley, a neurosurgeon at Mount Sinai Health System in New York who describes five of his patients in an upcoming paper in the New England Journal of Medicine, tells CNN. “Most of these patients have no past medical history and were at home with either mild symptoms (or in two cases, no symptoms) of Covid.” Although the numbers of stroke incidents among coronavirus patients remains low, The Washington Post notes that three medical centers in the US will be publishing reports on dozens of COVID-19 patients who experienced strokes. And these appear to be the most serious kind of stroke, called a large vessel occlusion, which might account for the surge in the number of people who have died at home during the pandemic, but this cannot be confirmed. Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals and NYU Langone Health found that 40 percent of the 12 people treated for large vessel blockage who also tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 were under age 50, according to the Post. “We are used to thinking of 60 as a young patient when it comes to large vessel occlusions,” Eytan Raz of NYU Langone tells the newspaper. “We have never seen so many in their 50s, 40s and late 30s.” © 1986–2020 The Scientist.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 27217 - Posted: 04.29.2020

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press While the new coronavirus is known to cause respiratory illness, some scientists suggest it can also potentially lead to brain and nerve damage in certain patients. Beyond the typical symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough and difficulty breathing, doctors around the world have reported cases of infected patients with an array of neurological problems, including stroke, seizures, anosmia, or a loss of smell, and encephalopathy, a broad term used to describe brain damage or dysfunction. Since these reports have so far been limited to anecdotal case studies, it is still too early to know whether the virus is to blame for these neurological symptoms, said clinical epidemiologist Jose Tellez-Zenteno, a professor of neurology at the University of Saskatchewan. Nevertheless, he said, it’s important for the public and health care providers to know this is a possibility. “The virus can go to the brain potentially,” Dr. Tellez-Zenteno said. “And not only for neurologists, but for [front-line] doctors …, they have to be aware that neurological complications can happen and be ready to diagnose and ready to treat, if there is some treatment for them.” He noted that in one study of 214 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Wuhan, China, researchers reported more than 35 per cent had neurological complications, including decreased levels of consciousness, stroke and muscle damage. These were more likely to occur among the hospitalized patients who were severely ill with COVID-19. Dr. Tellez-Zenteno emphasized that the vast majority of individuals who catch COVID-19 have mild or no symptoms. © Copyright 2020 The Globe and Mail Inc.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 27175 - Posted: 04.07.2020

By Sarah Witman Nicole Dodds first noticed her son, Rowan, was having trouble using the right side of his body when he was about 6 months old. Babies typically use both hands to pick up toys and lift their chest off the floor at that age, but Rowan was mostly using his left arm and hand, keeping his right hand balled in a fist. That started a string of doctor visits. Around Rowan’s first birthday, doctors did an MRI and diagnosed his one-sided weakness as hemiplegia, probably caused by a stroke he sustained in utero. This surprised Dodds, since as far as she knew she’d had a totally normal pregnancy and birth Perinatal stroke — when an infant loses blood supply to the brain in late pregnancy, during birth or in the first month of life — is one of the most common causes of hemiplegia in infants, affecting anywhere from 1 in 2,500 to 1 in 4,000 live births in the United States every year. Like adult stroke, perinatal stroke is usually caused by a blood clot that jams brain arteries, or else by bleeding in or around the infant’s brain. Babies with heart disease, clotting disorders such as hemophilia, and bacterial infection among other factors have a higher risk of perinatal stroke, but the exact cause is often unknown. As in the case with Rowan, there are often no outward signs for up to a year that something is amiss, resulting in delayed or inconclusive diagnosis. It’s nearly impossible to detect a stroke in utero, or even in the first few weeks after birth, since the symptoms can seem within the norm for infants: favoring one side, extreme sleepiness, mild seizures that seem like shivering or sudden stiffening. More obvious behaviors such as trouble walking and talking don’t usually become apparent until the child turns 2, and are associated with other childhood problems.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 27069 - Posted: 02.25.2020

By Lisa Sanders, M.D. The 67-year-old woman had just flown back to her old hometown, Eugene, Ore., to pick up one more load of boxes to move them to her new hometown, Homer, Alaska. As usual, the shuttle to long-term parking was nowhere in sight, so she pulled out the handles of her bags and wheeled them down the now-familiar airport road. It was a long walk — maybe half a mile — but it was a beautiful afternoon for it. A lone woman walking down this rarely used road in the airport caught the attention of Diana Chappell, an off-duty emergency medical technician, on her way to catch her own flight. She watched as the woman approached a building where some airport E.M.T.s were stationed. Suddenly the woman stopped. She rose to her toes and turned gracefully, then toppled over like a felled tree and just lay there. Chappell jumped out of the car and ran to the woman. She was awake but couldn’t sit up. Chappell helped her move to the side of the road and took a quick visual survey. The woman had a scrape over her left eye where her glasses had smashed into her face. Her left knee was bleeding, and her left wrist was swelling. She’d dropped the handle of one of her rolling bags, the woman explained. When she tried to pick it up, she fell. But she felt fine now. As she spoke, Chappell noticed that her speech was slightly slurred and that the left side of her mouth wasn’t moving normally. “I don’t know you, but your speech sounds a little slurred,” she said. “Have you been drinking?” Not at all, the woman answered — surprised by the question. Chappell introduced herself, then asked the woman if she could do a few quick tests to make sure she was O.K. Chappell asked her to smile, but the left side of the patient’s mouth did not cooperate; she asked her to shrug her shoulders, and the left side wouldn’t stay up. You need to go to the hospital, she told the woman. The woman protested; she felt fine. At least let me call my E.M.T. pals to check your blood pressure, Chappell insisted. After a fall like that, it could be high. The woman reluctantly agreed, and Chappell called her colleagues. The woman on the ground was embarrassed by the flashing lights of the emergency vehicle but allowed her blood pressure to be taken. It was sky-high. She really did need to go to the hospital. © 2020 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 26927 - Posted: 01.02.2020

By Nicholas Bakalar Sleeping a lot may increase the risk for stroke, a new study has found. Chinese researchers followed 31,750 men and women whose average age was 62 for an average of six years, using physical examinations and self-reported data on sleep. They found that compared with sleeping (or being in bed trying to sleep) seven to eight hours a night, sleeping nine or more hours increased the relative risk for stroke by 23 percent. Sleeping less than six hours a night had no effect on stroke incidence. The study, in Neurology, also found that midday napping for more than 90 minutes a day was associated with a 25 percent increased risk for stroke compared with napping 30 minutes or less. And people who both slept more than nine hours and napped more than 90 minutes were 85 percent more likely to have a stroke. The study controlled for smoking, drinking, exercise, family history of stroke, body mass index and other health and behavioral characteristics. The reason for the association is unclear, but long sleep duration is associated with increased inflammation, unfavorable lipid profiles and increased waist circumference, factors known to increase cardiovascular risk. © 2019 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language; Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 26890 - Posted: 12.12.2019

By Owain Clarke BBC Wales health correspondent World-leading research is helping scientists find new ways of trying to help younger people who have had a stroke get back to work. The study led by Manchester Metropolitan University found the speed a patient can walk is a major factor in determining how likely they are able to return to the workplace. Researchers have been working with physiotherapists and patients in Wales. It includes moving rehabilitation outdoors, including the Brecon Beacons. It is hoped it could lead to new rehabilitation methods being developed to target younger stroke patients. The average age to have a stroke in the UK is 72 for men and 78 for women. But there has been a 40% worldwide rise in people under 65 who have strokes in the last decade, according to the researchers. Image copyright Manchester Metropolitan University Image caption Researchers are studying the skeletons of stroke patients to see how joints perform when they walk What does the science say? It looked at 46 patients across Wales who had a stroke when younger than 65 years old and only 23% were able to return to work It found walking speed was a key predictor of whether a younger adult who has had a stroke could return to work They calculated a walking speed threshold of 0.93m/s (3ft a second) was a good benchmark for the likelihood of returning to work - and as a result this could be a goal set during rehabilitation As well as looking at the best environment for younger patients to recover in, it is now looking at using CGI technology to study joints to find out how stroke patients walk Nikki Tomkinson had a stroke at 53. "The world started shifting" while she was out driving in Cardiff. © 2019 BBC

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 11: Motor Control and Plasticity
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language; Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 26759 - Posted: 10.28.2019

Nicoletta Lanese Cell transplantation therapy offers a promising route to recovery after stroke, but the grafted cells face a harsh environment, with elevated levels of free radicals and proinflammatory cytokines, compromised blood supply, and degraded neural connectivity, says Shan Ping Yu, a neurology researcher at Emory University School of Medicine. He and his colleagues aimed to build a new tool to help stem cells integrate with host neural circuitry after implantation. Scientists have long known that stimulating transplanted neural stem cells encourages them to differentiate into neurons and connect with nearby host cells. Many researchers turn to optogenetics to excite grafted stem cells, but because light travels poorly through dense tissue, the technique requires researchers to stick a laser into their subjects’ brains. So Yu and his coauthors turned instead to a type of enzyme that grants fireflies and jellyfish their glow: luciferase. “These proteins carry their own light, so they do not need a light source,” says Yu. The researchers injected neural progenitor cells that had been derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) into the brains of mouse models of stroke. The cells were genetically engineered to express a fusion protein called luminopsin 3 (LMO3), crafted from the bioluminescent enzyme Gaussia luciferase and the light-sensitive protein VChR1. LMO3 activates in response to either physical light or a molecule called CTZ, which can be delivered noninvasively through the nose into the brain tissue. The fusion protein can be hooked up to either excitatory or inhibitory channels in the neurons to either stimulate or tamp down the cells’ function. Yu and his colleagues dubbed the new technique “optochemogenetics.” © 1986–2019 The Scientist.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 26712 - Posted: 10.17.2019

By Caroline Parkinson Health editor, BBC News website People who eat vegan and vegetarian diets have a lower risk of heart disease and a higher risk of stroke, a major study suggests. They had 10 fewer cases of heart disease and three more strokes per 1,000 people compared with the meat-eaters. The research, published in the British Medical Journal, looked at 48,000 people for up to 18 years. However, it cannot prove whether the effect is down to their diet or some other aspect of their lifestyle. Diet experts said, whatever people's dietary choice, eating a wide range of foods was best for their health. What does this study add? It analyses data from the EPIC-Oxford study, a major long-term research project looking at diet and health. Half of participants, recruited between 1993 and 2001, were meat-eaters, just over 16,000 vegetarian or vegan, with 7,500 who described themselves as pescatarian (fish-eating). They were asked about their diets, when they joined the study and again in 2010. Medical history, smoking and physical activity were taken into account, Altogether, there were 2,820 cases of coronary heart disease (CHD) and 1,072 cases of stroke - including 300 haemorrhagic strokes, which happen when a weakened blood vessel bursts and bleeds into the brain. The pescatarians were found to have a 13% lower risk of CHD than the meat-eaters, while the vegetarians and vegans had a 22% lower risk. But those on plant-based diets had a 20% higher risk of stroke. The researchers suggested this could be linked to low vitamin B12 levels but said more studies were needed to investigate the connection. It is also possible that the association may have nothing to do with people's diets and may just reflect other differences in the lives of people who do not eat meat. © 2019 BBC

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 26572 - Posted: 09.05.2019

Ashley P. Taylor When adults have strokes affecting a structure called the arcuate fasciculus in the left hemisphere of the brain, they usually lose their language abilities and regain them with difficulty, if at all. But the same is not true for infants who have strokes affecting this region during the first few days of life, according to a study published August 1 in eNeuro. Despite perinatal stroke damage to or near the left arcuate fasciculus, the study finds, developing infant brains acquire fairly normal language skills by age four. The arcuate fasciculus (AF), one of the brain’s axon highways, is present in both hemispheres, but it’s the left AF that is typically important for language. The study, of six four-year-olds who had had perinatal strokes near or overlapping with the left AF, found that the larger the right AF relative to its left-hemisphere counterpart the stronger the children’s language abilities were. Overall, “the brain is showing this capacity to use other areas on the contralesional hemisphere that will take over and will support language acquisition almost at the near normal level, which is good news,” says study coauthor Laura Bosch, a psychologist focusing on language acquisition at the University of Barcelona. She notes, however, that one of the six patients had significant language impairments that can’t be discounted. Previous research had indicated that, unlike in adults, strokes in the left hemisphere of newborns did not seem to hamper language development, but the neurological mechanisms behind this stroke recovery were unknown, the authors write in their report. Prior to their analysis, there had been no neuroimaging studies on pre-school-age kids who’d had a stroke in utero or as a newborn (known as a perinatal arterial ischemic stroke, or PAIS), a rare condition occurring in 1 in 4,000 births. © 1986–2019 The Scientist.

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 26541 - Posted: 08.26.2019

By Donald G. McNeil Jr Giving people an inexpensive pill containing generic drugs that prevent heart attacks — an idea first proposed 20 years ago but rarely tested — worked quite well in a new study, slashing the rate of heart attacks by more than half among those who regularly took the pills. If other studies now underway find similar results, such multidrug cocktails — sometimes called “polypills” — given to vast numbers of older people could radically change the way cardiologists fight the soaring rates of heart disease and strokes in poor and middle-income countries Even if the concept is ultimately adopted, there will be battles over the ingredients. The pill in the study, which involved the participation of 6,800 rural villagers aged 50 to 75 in Iran, contained a cholesterol-lowering statin, two blood-pressure drugs and a low-dose aspirin. But the study, called PolyIran and published Thursday by The Lancet, was designed 14 years ago. More recent research in wealthy countries has questioned the wisdom of giving some drugs — particularly aspirin — to older people with no history of disease. The stakes are high. As more residents of poor countries survive childhood into middle age and beyond — and as rising incomes contribute to their adoption of cigarette smoking and diets high in sugar and fat — a polypill offers a way to help millions lead longer, healthier lives. About 18 million people a year die of cardiovascular disease, and 80 percent of them are in poor and middle-income countries threatened by rising rates of obesity, diabetes, tobacco use and sedentary living. Medical experts, however, are sharply divided over the polypill concept. Its advocates — including some prominent cardiologists — point to the study as evidence that the World Health Organization should endorse distributing such pills without a prescription to hundreds of millions of people over age 50 around the globe. Some have estimated that widespread use could cut cardiac death rates by 60 to 80 percent. © 2019 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 26533 - Posted: 08.23.2019

By Nicholas Bakalar Maintaining a low level of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, is important for cardiovascular health, but extremely low LDL may also have risks, researchers report. The scientists studied 96,043 people for an average of nine years, recording their LDL level biennially and tracking cases of hemorrhagic stroke, caused by the rupture of a blood vessel in the brain. About 13 percent of strokes are of the hemorrhagic type. They found that compared with people in the normal range for LDL — 70 to 99 milligrams per deciliter of blood — people who had an LDL of 50 to 69 had a 65 percent higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke. For people with an LDL below 50, the risk nearly tripled. LDL concentrations above 100, on the other hand, were not significantly associated with hemorrhagic stroke, even at levels higher than 160. The study, in Neurology, controlled for age, sex, education, income, diabetes, hypertension and other variables. The senior author, Dr. Xiang Gao, an associate professor of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University, said that this does not mean that having a high LDL is harmless. “High LDL is a risk for cardiovascular disease, and a level above 100 should be lowered,” he said. “But there is no single answer for everyone. The ideal level varies depending on an individual’s risk factors. We need a personalized recommendation rather than a general rule.” © 2019 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 26402 - Posted: 07.10.2019

By Jane E. Brody Kelly Baxter was 36 years old and had just moved to Illinois with her 41-year-old husband, Ted, when he suffered a disabling stroke that derailed his high-powered career in international finance. It derailed her life as well. “It was a terrible shock, especially in such a young, healthy, athletic man,” she told me. “Initially I was in denial. He’s this amazing guy, so determined. He’s going to get over this,” she thought. But when she took him home six weeks later, the grim reality quickly set in. “Seeing him not able to speak or remember or even understand what I said to him — it was a very scary, lonely, uncertain time. What happened to my life? I had to make big decisions without Ted’s input. We had been in the process of selling our house in New Jersey, and now I also had to put our Illinois house on the market and sell two cars.” But those logistical problems were minor in comparison to the steep learning curve she endured trying to figure out how to cope with an adult she loved whose brain had suddenly become completely scrambled. He could not talk, struggled to understand what was said to him, and for a long time had limited use of the right side of his body. “One of the biggest stumbling blocks for caregivers is knowledge,” said Dr. Richard C. Senelick, author of “Living With Stroke: A Guide for Families.” His advice is to learn everything you can about stroke, your loved one’s condition and prognosis. “The more you learn, the better you’ll be able to care for your loved one,” he said. © 2019 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 26397 - Posted: 07.08.2019

By Bret Stetka The pathology of a stroke is deceptively complicated. In the simplest sense, strokes occur when the blood supply to a particular region of the brain is interrupted, cutting off the area to oxygen and nutrients. This deprivation results in injury and death to the local brain cells. But for days after the breach in blood flow, the immune system also does its own fair share of damage to the already injured brain through an inflammatory response. New research by a group at Stanford University has identified a subset of immune cells that drive brain injury following a stroke, raising the possibility that immune-system inhibition might be a promising treatment for a blood-deprived brain. More surprising is that much of the immune reaction to a stroke appears to begin in the gut, shedding new light on our ever evolving understanding of the gut-brain axis. The research was published on July 1 in Nature Immunology. Strokes manifest in two ways: either an artery in the brain bursts—causing a hemorrhagic stroke—or it becomes clogged, typically by a blood clot, causing the far more common ischemic stroke. In the new study, the authors used positron-emission tomography to scan immune system activity in mice that had the blood in a single cerebral artery interrupted for 45 minutes, mimicking an ischemic stroke. © 2019 Scientific American

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language; Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 26381 - Posted: 07.03.2019

By Jane E. Brody Strange as it may seem, the massive stroke Ted Baxter suffered in 2005 at age 41, leaving him speechless and paralyzed on his right side, was a blessing in more ways than one. Had the clot, which started in his leg, lodged in his lungs instead of his brain, the doctors told him he would have died from a pulmonary embolism. And as difficult as it was for him to leave his high-powered professional life behind and replace it with a decade of painstaking recovery, the stroke gave his life a whole new and, in many ways, more rewarding purpose. Before the stroke, Mr. Baxter’s intense work-focused life as a globe-trotting executive in international finance had eroded his marriage and deprived him of fulfilling relationships with family and friends. Unable to relax even on vacation, he rarely took time to smell the roses. Now, he told me, he leads a richer, calmer, happier life as a volunteer educator for stroke victims and their caregivers and for the therapists who treat them. The stroke began with a cramping pain in his leg after a long international flight during which he wore compression hose to support his varicose veins. He didn’t take the pain seriously until suddenly he couldn’t talk or move the right side of his body. The clot that caused his leg pain had broken loose and cut off blood flow to the left side of his brain. From the team at NYT Parenting: Get the latest news and guidance for parents. We'll celebrate the little parenting moments that mean a lot — and share stories that matter to families. © 2019 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 26371 - Posted: 07.01.2019

By Michelle Roberts Health editor, BBC News online Patients who have had a stroke caused by bleeding in the brain can safely take aspirin to cut their risk of future strokes and heart problems, according to a new study. Aspirin thins the blood and so doctors have been cautious about giving it, fearing it could make bleeds worse. But The Lancet research suggests it does not increase the risk of new brain bleeds, and may even lower it. Experts say the "strong indication" needs confirming with more research. Only take daily aspirin if your doctor recommends it, they advise. Aspirin benefits and risks Aspirin is best known as a painkiller and is sometimes also taken to help bring down a fever. But daily low-dose (75mg) aspirin is used to make the blood less sticky and can help to prevent heart attacks and stroke. Most strokes are caused by clots in the blood vessels of the brain but some are caused by bleeds. Because aspirin thins the blood, it can sometimes make the patient bleed more easily. And aspirin isn't safe for everyone. It can also cause indigestion and, more rarely, lead to stomach ulcers. Never give aspirin to children under the age of 16 (unless their doctor prescribes it). It can make children more likely to develop a very rare but serious illness called Reye's syndrome (which can cause liver and brain damage). The study The research involved 537 people from across the UK who had had a brain bleed while taking anti-platelet medicines, to stop blood clotting, including aspirin, dipyridamole or another drug called clopidogrel. Half of the patients were chosen at random to continue on their medicine (following a short pause immediately after their brain bleed), while the other half were told to stop taking it Over the five years of the study, 12 of those who kept taking the tablets suffered a brain bleed, compared with 23 of those who stopped © 2019 BBC

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 26263 - Posted: 05.23.2019

Nicola Davis A low level of alcohol consumption does not protect against stroke, new research suggests, in the latest blow to the idea that a few drinks can be beneficial to health. At least 100,000 people have strokes in the UK every year, according to recent figures. It had been thought that low levels of alcohol consumption might have a protective effect against stroke, as well as other diseases and conditions. Now researchers say that in the case of stroke, even low levels of alcohol consumption are bad news. “Moderate drinking of about one or two drinks a day does not protect against stroke,” said Dr Iona Millwood, co-author of the study from the University of Oxford. Advertisement The results chime with a major study released last year which concluded there is no healthy level of drinking. Writing in the Lancet, researchers from the UK and China described how they examined the impact of alcohol on stroke using a type of natural experiment. About a third of people from east Asia have genetic variants that affect the way alcohol is broken down in the body, which can make drinking an unpleasant experience and lead to flushed skin. People with these genetic variants are known to drink less – a situation confirmed by the latest study – but who has these genetic variants is random, meaning they can appear in people regardless of their social situation or health. As a result, the team were able to look at the impact of drinking on the risk of stroke without many of the other issues that can muddy the waters. © 2019 Guardian News & Media Limited

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 26118 - Posted: 04.06.2019

By Emilia Clarke Just when all my childhood dreams seemed to have come true, I nearly lost my mind and then my life. I’ve never told this story publicly, but now it’s time. It was the beginning of 2011. I had just finished filming the first season of “Game of Thrones,” a new HBO series based on George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels. With almost no professional experience behind me, I’d been given the role of Daenerys Targaryen, also known as Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Lady of Dragonstone, Breaker of Chains, Mother of Dragons. As a young princess, Daenerys is sold in marriage to a musclebound Dothraki warlord named Khal Drogo. It’s a long story—eight seasons long—but suffice to say that she grows in stature and in strength. She becomes a figure of power and self-possession. Before long, young girls would dress in platinum wigs and flowing robes to be Daenerys Targaryen for Halloween. The show’s creators, David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, have said that my character is a blend of Napoleon, Joan of Arc, and Lawrence of Arabia. And yet, in the weeks after we finished shooting the first season, despite all the looming excitement of a publicity campaign and the series première, I hardly felt like a conquering spirit. I was terrified. Terrified of the attention, terrified of a business I barely understood, terrified of trying to make good on the faith that the creators of “Thrones” had put in me. I felt, in every way, exposed. In the very first episode, I appeared naked, and, from that first press junket onward, I always got the same question: some variation of “You play such a strong woman, and yet you take off your clothes. Why?” In my head, I’d respond, “How many men do I need to kill to prove myself?” © 2019 Condé Nast

Related chapters from BN8e: Chapter 19: Language and Lateralization
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Brain Asymmetry, Spatial Cognition, and Language
Link ID: 26068 - Posted: 03.23.2019