Fixing damage done by strokes

Reporter: Amy Oshier
Published: Updated:

Before you finish this story, three people in the United States will suffer a stroke.

If it doesn’t kill you, it may cause severe disability.

Now, new medical research is giving patients hope that the damage done by strokes doesn’t have to be permanent.

“I was having headaches the whole week before,” said Quincy Taylor.

25-year-old Taylor chalked his headaches up to stress, until…

“It was the worst pain that I’ve experienced, so far, in my life.”

Quincy was having a stroke.

“The blood flow to a specific area of the brain will diminish all of a sudden due to a blockage of a key artery,” said LSU neuroscientist Nicolas Bazan.

The clot-busting drug, TPA, was a game changer 30 years ago for treating ischemic strokes. It had to be administered within four hours of a stroke. The extended trial found TPA may be helpful up to 10 hours afterward.

Bazan is working on ways to save brains up to eight and nine days after a stroke.

“Perhaps there are experimental treatments that we can try to protect that area, and then be able to restore function of that area,” Bazan said.

By pinpointing which cells in the brain are involved in the post-stroke response, Bazan believes the neuro-protective molecules his team discovered could save brain cells. As for Quincy, quick treatment has him moving forward, taking recovery one step at a time.

Bazan believes that finding new ways to save brain cells will help patients recover faster, with less long-term disability.

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