Nitric oxide may save lives post-aneurysm

Rendering of human brain.Image via Wikipedia

A doctor who specializes in treating aneurysms has been searching for a way to prevent some patients–certain genotypes are more susceptible–from suffering strokes within days after initial treatments. Seems after the aneurysm‘s been addressed, the brain tends to become inflamed, which causes blood vessels to constrict and increases the likelihood of clots forming and traveling to the brain.

He’s discovered that nitric oxide (NO)–which both reduces inflammation (by inhibiting white blood cells) and dilates blood vessels–can be given in small doses to mice who’ve been treated for aneurysm, thus reducing the risk of vasospasm (blood vessel contraction) and stroke. The method he’s been using includes attaching the NO to tiny polymers and inserting them into the spinal fluid through an opening at the base of the brain. They then carry the NO and distribute it throughout the brain.

The approach isn’t yet ready for human testing. For one thing, making holes in the brain as a means of delivery is frowned on by drug companies. So now the doctor’s searching for a systemic way to administer the drug. I’m guessing it won’t be long–remember the “nanoparticle bandage“?

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