Stroke treatment keeps brain cells alive

Health Watch

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— When it comes to a stroke, time is critical. The sooner patients get treatment, the more likely they’ll have a better recovery. The gold standard for stroke treatment is TPA, but it can only be given up to three hours after symptoms begin. Now, doctors are looking at a new drug that puts the brain into hibernation to keep brain cells alive. That can mean the difference between paralysis or walking out of the hospital.

Twenty-nine-year-old Victoria Bernard has a lot to be grateful for.

“I’m just one of those lucky few,” expressed Victoria.

It may not seem like it, but two years ago, Victoria suffered a stroke.

“I had full left-side paralysis and numbness. I could not speak,” Victoria recalled.

Victoria was rushed to the hospital. But she wasn’t given the standard stoke treatment. Instead, Victoria was placed in a trial for a new neuroprotective drug called nerinetide.

“So, most patients, unfortunately, are not eligible for TPA,” shared Eric Sauvageau, MD, a neurosurgeon at Baptist Health of Northeast Florida.

In fact, only about 30 percent of patients presenting with a stoke arrive at a hospital within three hours to receive TPA. Of the patients who arrive in time, only 40 to 50 percent are medically eligible, but this neuroprotective drug can …

“Keep those cells that are not getting oxygen, that are not getting blood in the brain to be in hibernation, to be able to kind of stay still and not die in the process,” described Dr. Sauvageau.

To prevent further damage until stroke treatment can be issued. Victoria doesn’t know for sure whether she got the drug or a placebo, but she believes she got the drug.

“I was fine in days not weeks,” shared Victoria.

Victoria’s doctor considers her complete recovery amazing.

“He told me ‘if you came into my office and you told me you had had a stroke, I wouldn’t believe you,’” Victoria recalled.

The patients that benefited the most were those who got nerinetide and not TPA. There was no difference in outcomes for the patients that got nerinetide and TPA versus the placebo group. Standard recovery from a stroke may take years. According to the National Stroke Association, only about ten percent of stroke patients recover completely. Twenty-five percent recover with minor impairments and 40 percent experience moderate to severe impairments.

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