Tag Archives: Stroke

Nanoparticles to help detect stroke-heart attack risk

Blood clot diagram (Thrombus)
Blood clot diagram (Thrombus) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blood clots can wreck quality of life and even kill by causing a stroke or a heart attack. But up ’til now doctors have been unable to predict when a clot might develop in a particular patient. Now nanotechnology is making possible a way to read signals in your urine that your body may be getting ready to produce one of these little clots with such destructive potential.

Just as seismologists are developing new ways to be able to predict when a volcano will erupt, researchers have developed a urine test that uses nanoparticles to detect thrombin, a major element of blood clotting. The test was made by converting a process that’s currently in use to detect colorectal cancer and has been successfully tested in mice that are high-risk for blood clots.

Good news is that the iron oxide particles used in the test have already been approved for use in humans, so the time to clinical trials shouldn’t be too prolonged. The test will be used to help people in emergency rooms who have symptoms that resemble those caused by a blood clot and also to monitor others at high-risk, such as those who fly a lot or who must spend a lot of time in bed after surgery.

I have a relative who suffered a stroke at a young age, so I know how terrifying it can be – and how it can degrade a person’s quality of life. The goal of the new test is to make it as easy as, “Pee on this stick and call me in the morning.” Imagine the sadness, fear and suffering that could potentially be averted.

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Inhaled nitric oxide can help prevent stroke damage

PET image shows blood flow in the brain. Texts...
Blood flow in the brain - Image via Wikipedia

Stroke is the #3 killer in the U.S. and other industrialized countries. Plus, the death of brain cells as a result of a stroke can induce disability at one level or another across a critical range of human functions—speech, movement, thought processing, writing, etc.

Nitric oxide (NO) doesn’t normally affect blood flow in the brain. But now a few studies have shown a stroke can change that. Inhaling nitric oxide with an oxygen/air mix actually increases blood flow into areas of the brain where arterial blood was blocked during the stroke. They’ve confirmed this phenomenon in two studies in mice and one with large animals.

Another accomplishment for NO, this miraculous substance we produce in our bodies. Read a few more posts about  nitric oxide here.

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