Stroke probably doesn’t mean much to you–unless you know someone who’s had one. If you do, you may know something about how devastating the physical and mental consequences can be. Now $12 million from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has gone to Columbia University, which won against many other competing institutions. Worthy studies they’ll be doing:
They’ll be studying the safety of taking high-dose statins–typically used to lower cholesterol–as a preventive measure. There’s some evidence that people already taking statins for other reasons tended to have less severe strokes and a better recovery.
They’ll also be looking to see if brain activity patterns shortly after the onset of stroke can predict recovery. They’ve observed that activity begins on the other side of the brain from where the stroke is, but they don’t yet know what this might mean. That want to see if treatment can be adjusted to mitigate neurological deficits.
Fast treatment for stroke is essential to minimize damage. Columbia U. scientists are also going to test a novel technique in behavioral change to see if they can get stroke survivors (who are more prone to additional strokes) to recognize stroke symptoms quickly, get to the hospital faster and negotiated their way through the Emergency Department for faster treatment. They’ll start by testing the information on people in northern Manhattan.
If you know someone who’s had a stroke, tell them about this study so they can keep an eye on it–maybe even ahead of their own doctor. Keeping up on the latest developments is a way to keep our health truly in our own hands.