Deans' stroke musings

Changing stroke rehab and research worldwide now.Time is Brain!Just think of all the trillions and trillions of neurons that DIE each day because there are NO effective hyperacute therapies besides tPA(only 12% effective). I have 493 posts on hyperacute therapy, enough for researchers to spend decades proving them out. These are my personal ideas and blog on stroke rehabilitation and stroke research. Do not attempt any of these without checking with your medical provider. Unless you join me in agitating, when you need these therapies they won't be there.

What this blog is for:

Shortly after getting out of the hospital and getting NO information on the process or protocols of stroke rehabilitation and recovery I started searching on the internet and found that no other survivor received useful information. This is an attempt to cover all stroke rehabilitation information that should be readily available to survivors so they can talk with informed knowledge to their medical staff. It's quite disgusting that this information is not available from every stroke association and doctors group.
My back ground story is here:

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Meta-analysis of potassium intake and the risk of stroke

What the fuck was the point of this research? The earlier research was not enough to prove efficacy?

Daily potassium intake and sodium-to-potassium ratio in the reduction of blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials  July 2015

Effect of high potassium diet on endothelial function  June 2014

Slash Risk of Stroke with More Potassium and Less Salt  June 2013

Why eat three bananas a day?    April 2012

This one is even more worthless, NO protocol, NO amounts and types of food to get to the dose suggested.

Meta-analysis of potassium intake and the risk of stroke

Journal of the American Heart Association, 11/04/2016
For this study, researchers played out a systematic review and meta–analysis of existing studies and evaluated the dose–response connection between potassium consumption and stroke risk. Overall, this dose–response meta–analysis affirms the inverse relationship between potassium consumption and stroke risk, with potassium consumption of 90 mmol (≈3500 mg)/day connected with the lowest risk of stroke. Methods and Results
  • In this study researchers looked into the observational cohort studies tending to the connection between potassium consumption, and incidence or mortality of total stroke or stroke subtypes published through August 6, 2016.
  • They carried out a meta–analysis of 16 cohort concentrates on in view of the relative risk (RR) of stroke comparing the highest versus lowest consumption categories.
  • They additionally plotted a pooled dose–response curve of RR of stroke according to potassium consumption.
  • Investigations were performed with and without adjustment for blood pressure.
  • Relative to the lowest category of potassium consumption, the highest category of potassium consumption was connected with a 13% diminished risk of stroke (RR=0.87, 95% CI 0.80–0.94) in the blood pressure–adjusted examination.
  • Summary RRs tended to diminishing when original estimates were unadjusted for blood pressure.
  • Examination for stroke subtypes yielded comparable results.
  • In the spline examination, the pooled RR was lowest at 90 mmol of potassium daily consumption (RRs=0.78, 95% CI 0.70–0.86) in blood pressure–adjusted investigation, and 0.67 (95% CI 0.57–0.78) in unadjusted examination.
Go to PubMed Go to Abstract Print Article Summary Cat 2 CME Report

Marijuana Chokes Alzheimer's-Related Brain Regions

Another sky is falling piece of research. It is vastly more likely that people with low blood flow are self-treating themselves with marijuana to feel better. Taken from neuropsychiatric clinics which pretty much proves my point.  These doctors need to learn about cause and effect.  This all probably part of a concerted effort by the drug industry to prevent a non-patentable drug from entering the marketplace. Over 500,000 stroke survivors a year in the US could be treated better with marijuana.  Don't fall for these negative articles.

My 13 reasons for marijuana use post-stroke.  

But don't listen to me, I have absolutely no medical training. You are going to have to figure out how to dose yourself since your doctor will know nothing and no one will do translational research until our fucking federal legislators legalize it.
As the U.S. races to legalize marijuana for medicinal and recreational use, a new, large scale brain imaging study gives reason for caution. Published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), a sophisticated imaging study that evaluates blood flow and activity patterns, demonstrated abnormally low blood flow in virtually every area of the brain studies in nearly 1,000 marijuana compared to healthy controls, including areas known to be affected by Alzheimer’s pathology such as the hippocampus.

All data were obtained for analysis from a large multisite database, involving 26,268 patients who came for evaluation of complex, treatment resistant issues to one of nine outpatient neuropsychiatric clinics across the United States (Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Fairfield, and Brisbane, CA, Tacoma and Bellevue, WA, Reston, VA, Atlanta, GA and New York, NY) between 1995-2015. Of these, 982 current or former marijuana users had brain SPECT at rest and during a mental concentration task compared to almost 100 healhty controls. Predictive analytics with discriminant analysis was done to determine if brain SPECT regions can distinguish marijuana user brains from controls brain. Low blood flow in the hippocampus in marijuana users reliably distinguished marijuana users from controls. The right hippocampus during a concentration task was the single most predictive region in distinguishing marijuana users from their normal counterparts. Marijuana use is thought to interfere with memory formation by inhibiting activity in this part of the brain.

According to one of the co-authors on the study Elisabeth Jorandby, M.D., “As a physician who routinely sees marijuana users, what struck me was not only the global reduction in blood flow in the marijuana users brains , but that the hippocampus was the most affected region due to its role in memory and Alzheimer’s disease. Our research has proven that marijuana users have lower cerebral blood flow than non-users. Second, the most predictive region separating these two groups is low blood flow in the hippocampus on concentration brain SPECT imaging. This work suggests that marijuana use has damaging influences in the brain – particularly regions important in memory and learning and known to be affected by Alzheimer’s.”

Dr. George Perry, Editor in Chief of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease said, “Open use of marijuana, through legalization, will reveal the wide range of marijuana’s benefits and threats to human health. This study indicates troubling effects on the hippocampus that may be the harbingers of brain damage.”  (No it doesn't, you don't know what the fuck you are looking at)

Saturated fat could be good for you

Don't follow this until another 50 years have passed and your stroke doctors have finally come up with a diet protocol.
A new Norwegian diet intervention study (FATFUNC), performed by researchers at the KG Jebsen center for diabetes research at the University of Bergen, raises questions regarding the validity of a diet hypothesis that has dominated for more than half a century: that dietary fat and particularly saturated fat is unhealthy for most people.
The researchers found strikingly similar health effects of diets based on either lowly processed carbohydrates or fats. In the randomized controlled trial, 38 men with abdominal obesity followed a dietary pattern high in either carbohydrates or fat, of which about half was saturated. Fat mass in the abdominal region, liver and heart was measured with accurate analyses, along with a number of key risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
"The very high intake of total and saturated fat did not increase the calculated risk of cardiovascular diseases," says professor and cardiologist Ottar Nygård who contributed to the study.
"Participants on the very-high-fat diet also had substantial improvements in several important cardiometabolic risk factors, such as ectopic fat storage, blood pressure, blood lipids (triglycerides), insulin and blood sugar."
High quality food is healthier
Both groups had similar intakes of energy, proteins, polyunsaturated fatty acids, the food types were the same and varied mainly in quantity, and intake of added sugar was minimized.
"We here looked at effects of total and saturated fat in the context of a healthy diet rich in fresh, lowly processed and nutritious foods, including high amounts of vegetables and rice instead of flour-based products," says PhD candidate Vivian Veum.
"The fat sources were also lowly processed, mainly butter, cream and cold-pressed oils."
Total energy intake was within the normal range. Even the participants who increased their energy intake during the study showed substantial reductions in fat stores and disease risk.
"Our findings indicate that the overriding principle of a healthy diet is not the quantity of fat or carbohydrates, but the quality of the foods we eat," says PhD candidate Johnny Laupsa-Borge.
Saturated fat increases the “good” cholesterol
Saturated fat has been thought to promote cardiovascular diseases by raising the “bad” LDL cholesterol in the blood. But even with a higher fat intake in the FATFUNC study compared to most comparable studies, the authors found no significant increase in LDL cholesterol. Rather, the "good" cholesterol increased only on the very-high-fat diet.
"These results indicate that most healthy people probably tolerate a high intake of saturated fat well, as long as the fat quality is good and total energy intake is not too high. It may even be healthy," says Ottar Nygård.
"Future studies should examine which people or patients may need to limit their intake of saturated fat," assistant professor Simon Nitter Dankel points out, who led the study together with the director of the laboratory clinics, professor Gunnar Mellgren, at Haukeland university hospital in Bergen, Norway.
"But the alleged health risks of eating good-quality fats have been greatly exaggerated. It may be more important for public health to encourage reductions in processed flour-based products, highly processed fats and foods with added sugar," he says.
The study was published online on November 30 2016 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.
Facts: The FATFUNC-study
* The Study is named (FATFUNC) and was performed by researchers at the KG Jebsen center for diabetes research, Department of Clinical Science at the University of Bergen.
* In the randomized controlled trial, 38 men with abdominal obesity followed a dietary pattern high in either carbohydrates (53 % of total energy, in line with typical official recommendations) or fat (71 % of total energy, of which about half was saturated).
* Fat mass in the abdominal region, liver and heart was measured with accurate analyses (computed tomography, CT), along with a number of key risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Biem Butter sprayer

I can't spread butter on any piece of bread because left hand is of no use in holding bread steady, fingers are curled, arm is pulled in next to body. I bet your therapist doesn't have this as a recommended compensation tool. Quite pricey, $129
This device turns butter into mist.

Acute Ischemic Stroke: Overcoming Barriers by Improving Systems of Care - CME

US House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Cures Act, supported by the NSA

You can compare NSA support to the blistering negative review by Elizabeth Warren. With the NSA not being able to create a stroke strategy I don't trust their ability to analyze a bill like this. And with no references to why the bill should be supported, the NSA support is worthless to me.
National Stroke Association

Dear dean,
Late Wednesday evening, the US House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Cures Act by an overwhelming and bipartisan vote of 392 to 26. During the 24-hours prior to the house vote, over 300 SAN advocates sent nearly 1,000 emails to elected officials across the country! Your voices were critical to ensure passage of this bill through the House of Representatives.
But we're not done yet!
We expect the Senate to vote on the 21st Century Cures Act sometime early next week. We'll update you as soon as that vote is schedule. In the meantime, if you haven't taken action on this bill yet, please take action here: If you have already taken action, thank you and stay tuned!
Mitchell Ronningen
Mitchell Ronningen, J.D.
Manager, Government Affairs
9707 E. Easter Lane, Suite B, Centennial, CO 80112
1-800-STROKES (787-6537)
National Stroke Association © 2016 All rights reserved.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Breathing Technique That Helps Fight Major Depression

Why not the Kundalini Breath of Fire? That also produces nitric oxide.
Breathing technique can reduce the stress hormones in the central nervous system.
Controlled yogic breathing helps alleviate severe depression, new research finds.
People in the study had depression that had not responded to antidepressant medication.
Dr Anup Sharma, the lead author of this study, said:
“With such a large portion of patients who do not fully respond to antidepressants, it’s important we find new avenues that work best for each person to beat their depression.
Here, we have a promising, lower-cost therapy that could potentially serve as an effective, non-drug approach for patients battling this disease.”
The study compared the effects of learning the breathing technique over two months with a control group.
The results showed that those in the yoga group had lower depression and anxiety.
The control group showed no improvement.

Yoga breathing technique

The breathing technique was practised in groups and at home.
The technique involves a series of rhythmic breathing exercises designed to put people in a calm and meditative state.
Slow and calm breaths are alternated with fast and stimulating breaths.
The video below gives you an idea of what is involved in “Sudarshan Kriya yoga”, the breathing technique used in the study.
Along with learning this breathing technique, people practised yoga postures, sitting meditation and received stress education.
Dr Sharma said:
“Sudarshan Kriya yoga gives people an active method to experience a deep meditative state that’s easy to learn and incorporate in diverse settings.”
Sudarshan Kriya yoga has already been linked to benefits in milder forms of depression.
These studies suggest that yoga reduces levels of stress hormones in the central nervous system.
Dr Sharma said:
“The next step in this research is to conduct a larger study evaluating how this intervention impacts brain structure and function in patients who have major depression.”
The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (Sharma et al., 2106).

Novel Clot Buster Flops Again

So what is the next step  to solve this? Not doing anything is not okay, but that is what will happen since we have NO stroke leadership.

Desmoteplase didn't help late-presenting strokes, the DIAS-3 trial shows.

  • by
    Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today
  • This article is a collaboration between MedPage Today® and:
The investigational thrombolytic desmoteplase didn't improve reperfusion or outcomes compared with placebo in ischemic strokes treated 3 to 9 hours after onset, the DIAS-3 trial showed.
A good functionally independent outcome, marked by a modified Rankin Scale score of 0 to 2, at 90 days occurred in 51% of desmoteplase-treated patients compared with 50% given placebo (P=0.40), Gregory W. Albers, MD, of the Stanford School of Medicine in Stanford, Calif., and colleagues found.
Recanalization at 24 hours, monitored with noninvasive imaging, likewise came out similar between treatment groups (49% and 42%, respectively), they reported in the June issue of Lancet Neurology.
"This factor is key in the neutral results and raises questions about the thrombolytic efficiency of desmoteplase in late time windows," Michael D. Hill, MD, and Bijoy K. Menon, MD, both of the University of Calgary Stroke Program in Alberta, wrote in an accompanying editorial.
The prior phase III DIAS-2 trial with the drug, which is based on the saliva of the vampire bat, had also turned out negative using a different imaging-based selection scheme for enrollment.
DIAS-3 used a "simpler imaging selection paradigm: small core (less than a third of the middle cerebral artery [MCA] or less than a half of the anterior cerebral artery [ACA] or posterior cerebral artery [PCA] territories), plus evidence of a target intracranial arterial occlusion," Hill and Menon noted.
However, imaging protocol violations were common in the trial, with imaging discrepancies in 21% of the 292 acute ischemic stroke patients with occlusion or high-grade stenosis in major cerebral arteries treated at a median 7 hours after onset.
Although serious adverse events, including intracerebral hemorrhage and symptomatic cerebral edema, were similar between groups, another phase III trial, DIAS-4, was stopped based on early indications of futility in DIAS-3.
The researchers pointed to a possible benefit of desmoteplase in small ischemic lesions selected by MRI that might be worth further study.
While that group might have been less prone to imaging measurement error, "this finding would have been more meaningful if increased recanalization early after administration of the thrombolytic agent was also shown in the small core group," the editorialists cautioned.
It may be that late-presenting, small core strokes are just not a good population to target, they suggested.
"We speculate that patients who arrive late without having a large, established core of infarction shown in imaging are more likely to have preserved penumbral tissue because of good intracranial collateral circulation," Hill and Menon wrote. "Such patients could stand to benefit less from thrombolysis, even with reperfusion.
"Further, with time, thrombi mature and fibrin cross-links, resulting in resistance to thrombolysis. Patients who present in later time windows might simply be less amenable to chemical thrombolysis."

How fast you move can predict how healthy you'll be - If you are a roundworm

We'll never know if this applies to stroke survivors.
Institute for Basic Science News, 11/23/2015
As humans have begun to live longer it has become clear that the quality of our lives is equally as important as the duration. In the lab, a dramatic extension of lifespan isn’t difficult to achieve. In previous experiments using several types of mutated Caenorhabditis elegans roundworms (C. elegans), researchers were able to significantly extend the worm’s lifespan. The lengthened life that the worms experienced was not necessarily a good one, as many of the mutated varieties were less healthy than wild–type worms, especially during the segment of life that was extended beyond normal. Instead of focusing on drawing out the length of life, South Korea’s IBS Center for Plant Aging Research and the research group led by Coleen Murphy, a professor at Princeton University have created a tool that can be used for accurately predicting lifespan as well as assessing the current health state, and discovered the regulatory mechanism that extends “healthspan”, the time in which an organism is at its optimal health. The researchers concluded that maximum velocity (MV) of wild–type worms at day 9 of adulthood is a reliable predictor of longevity. Another factor they observed was the state of C. elegans mitochondria. Elderly humans have weaker muscles and less strength resulted from mitochondrial defects which occur later in life. C. elegans with lower MV exhibit similar defects by midlife but there are far fewer defects in worms with higher MV at the same age. These observations indicate that MV correlates with mitochondrial health expression, suggesting that MV can be a reliable indicator of the actual physical state. The findings show that MV of C. elegans is a reliable indicator of age–related physical decline, accurately reports movement ability and if measured in mid–adulthood, is predictive of future longevity. According to Hong Gil Nam, “our analysis takes into account the length of time an individual can expect to live, and how healthy that individual can expect to be with age.” Many parts of the insulin/IGF–1 signaling (IIS) pathway that enable these functions have been identified, and many of these genes and the underlying mechanisms are conserved in mammals, which mean that the extended abilities that insulin/IGF–1 signaling (IIS) exhibits could offer therapeutic target possibilities for humans in the future. The IBS Center isn’t just looking at push the limits for long life; instead they are unraveling the mechanisms in our cells to maximize our health as we age.
Go to PubMed Go to Abstract Print Article Summary Cat 2 CME Report

Friday, December 2, 2016

This Personality Trait Related To Higher Quality Of Life - optimism

But what about the research that says that pessimists live longer?
Better mental and physical functioning among people high in this personality trait.
Optimists report higher levels of mental and physical functioning than pessimists, research reveals.
Not only that, but optimists also live longer.
Dr Toshihiko Maruta, the study’s first author, said:
“The wellness of being is not just physical, but attitudinal.
How you perceive what goes on around you and how you interpret it may have an impact on your longevity, and it could affect the quality of your later years.”
Researchers studied 447 people who were followed over 30 years.
Their personality was assessed, along with their physical and mental functioning.
It turned out that pessimists had a lower quality of life, on average.
Dr Maruta said:
“Our study provides documentation for beliefs commonly held by patients and health care practitioners about the importance of optimistic and pessimistic attitudes.
However, questions remain about the practical significance of these findings for health care practitioners.”
Naturally, though, the study cannot tell us if optimism causes these benefits or is a result of it.
Dr Maruta said:
“Explanatory style may have implications for prevention, intervention, health care utilization and compliance with treatment regimens.
Well formulated studies are essential to warrant the extra time, effort and costs associated with efforts to intervene in a patient’s explanatory style or to personalize the care specific to explanatory style.”
Previous research has also revealed that both extroverts and optimists are more likely to live longer than introverts and pessimists.
As I wrote previously:
“Optimists have healthier hearts than pessimists, a new study of over 51,000 adults finds.
Optimists also had healthier body mass indexes, were more physically active and less likely to smoke.
Researchers found that the more optimistic people were, the greater their overall physical health.
The most optimistic people were 76% more likely to have health scores that were in the ideal range.”
The study was published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings (Maruta et al., 2012).

Music modulates the perceived creaminess, sweetness, and bitterness of chocolate

And since dark chocolate is so good for you your doctor should be prescribing the correct music to go with that. You get two for one; music therapy and cocoa benefits. Bet your doctor never does this. Don't do this on your own, dangerous combination, chocolate and music.
Appetite, 12/02/2016
Interestingly, and in contrast with previous similar studies, these outcomes show that in certain cases, sounds can have a perceptual effect on gustatory food attributes without essentially changing the hedonic experience.
  • There has been a recent growth of interest for figuring out if sound (specifically music and soundscapes) can improve not only the basic taste attributes connected with food and beverage items (for example, sweetness, bitterness, sourness, etc.), additionally other vital components of the tasting experience, such as, for instance, crunchiness, creaminess, and/or carbonation.
  • In the present study, participants assessed the perceived creaminess of chocolate.
  • Two contrasting soundtracks were produced with such texture–correspondences in mind, and validated by means of a pre–test.
  • The participants tasted the similar chocolate twice (without knowing that the chocolates were identical), each time listening to one of the soundtracks.
  • The ‘creamy’ soundtrack enhanced the perceived creaminess and sweetness of the chocolates, as compared to the ratings given while listening to the ‘rough’ soundtrack.
  • Moreover, while the participants preferred the creamy soundtrack, this difference did not seem to influence their overall enjoyment of the chocolates.
Go to PubMed Go to Abstract Print Article Summary Cat 2 CME Report

6 Potential Brain Benefits Of Bilingual Education

They missed this benefit;

Stroke Rounds: Bilingual Brains Sustain Less Stroke Damage


6 Potential Brain Benefits Of Bilingual Education

Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke 2017 Fiscal Year Budget Congressional Justification

Because we have NO stroke strategy we can't look at anything here and identify research that will help stroke survivors. Our fucking failures of stroke associations don't have any strategy and won't be doing anything to make sure fundings goes to helpful research. Nothing will get fixed until we destroy the existing associations and replace them with survivor led ones. The main takeaway from this is to ignore the NINDS and get funding from foundations and individual donors. Federal funding can't be counted on.

Hemorrhagic stroke after consumption of energy drink

Be careful out there.
Investigators at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have presented the first case study of a patient experiencing a hemorrhagic stroke — a brain bleed — following consumption of an energy drink.
In an article in press in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, the UAB physicians detail the case of a 57-year-old man who developed an intracranial hemorrhage within 15 minutes of drinking a popular energy drink.
The patient presented at a local emergency department and was transferred to the stroke unit at UAB with symptoms of sensory changes (tingling and numbness) in the right arm and leg, along with ataxia (shaky gait and movement). A CT scan revealed a small hemorrhage near the left thalamus.
"The man reported that his symptoms began about 15 minutes after drinking an energy drink, the first time he had consumed this particular product, as he was about to do yardwork," said Anand Venkatraman, M.D., a fourth-year resident in the Department of Neurology at UAB and the lead author of the study.
Venkatraman says the drink contains a high level of caffeine, along with a variety of other ingredients, many of which are associated with increases in blood pressure.
"This particular drink contains several supplements for which we have little understanding of their potential interactions with each other or with caffeine," Venkatraman said. "One is structurally similar to amphetamines, and several are known to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system."
The sympathetic nervous system regulates what is known as the "flight or fight" response. When faced with an urgent, potentially dangerous situation, the body gears up to either take extraordinary action (fight) or run away (flight).
"The body begins to marshal all of its resources to respond to the situation at hand — boosting strength and alertness, for example — in part by raising blood pressure to increase blood flow," Venkatraman said. "For a patient who may be at risk for vascular disease, this increase in blood pressure could be potentially dangerous, as a rise in blood pressure can affect an already weakened blood vessel to the point that it ruptures."
Ingredients in the drinks that are suspected to influence the sympathetic nervous system include β-phenylethylamine hydrochloride, yohimbine and green tea extract.
"These ingredients are supplements and, as such, are not regulated by the government to the same degree that medications are," Venkatraman said. "We don't have good information on dosing for some of these supplements. We don't know how much is too much, for example, especially in populations with varying degrees of risk."
Another issue is serving size. The manufacturer's label says the bottle contains two servings, but the patient reported that he drank the full 8 oz. bottle at one time, a behavior that Venkatraman believes is common.
"The warning here is that we do not fully understand how some of these ingredients interact with other compounds," Venkatraman said. "Nor do we have enough information on maximum dosages, especially for individuals with underlying health issues. Consumers need to be aware of the ingredients in the drinks if they choose to use them, and check with their physician if they have questions. They should also follow the manufacturer's recommendations."
In this case, the patient had a history of elevated blood pressure and was at increased risk for vascular disease. Several months after the incident, the patient reported that he still had some residual effects from the incident.
"I am not anti-energy drink," Venkatraman said. "In fact, I use them myself on occasion. But I strongly urge consumers to read the label and be informed. Don't take unnecessary risks with your health. There is potential for a serious outcome."
University of Alabama at Birmingham

China’s Former Richest Man Turns His Mind to Neuroscience

After reading the article several times I still don't know who the person is. We should be able to use the seven degrees of separation to contact him and suggest working on stroke problems.
Humankind has made huge scientific progress in the last decade, and China’s tech giants can no longer achieve success by enjoying access to a gigantic market and emulating existing innovative firms. Competition in the science and technology industry has reached a stage where speed decides who succeeds and who fails. Indeed, the nature of the Internet means game-changing innovations become ubiquitous almost as soon as they appear.
To me, the science of the human brain is the ultimate scientific frontier. It is now also one of the most fiercely competitive sectors in the tech industry. The last 10 years have even witnessed several governments entering the neuroscience arena, including the Obama administration’s BRAIN Initiative, the EU’s Human Brain Project, and the China Brain Project.
Crucially, there is now an industry-wide consensus that the time is ripe for a breakthrough in neuroscience. In computing, image processing, and other brain-related technologies, we have progressed to a point where we can start applying what we have learned in real life. We may, within the next 20 years, even possess the technology to bioengineer a real-life human avatar.
The key innovation needed for this to take place is an interface between humans and machines allowing them to transmit signals to each other. For example, such an interface would need to have the ability to send scent information from a robot’s “nose” to a human’s olfactory receptors — those responsible for detecting smell — or to send visual information to the human optic nerve. Shanda Group will soon announce the establishment of a research institute aimed at developing these technologies.
The technology involved should also enable us to modify the human brain. Understanding optical input into the brain, for example, would eventually allow us to replace our eyes with video cameras with direct access to the optic nerves. Potentially, we would then be able to see just about everything, from distant craters on the moon to tiny bacteria.
Israeli Professor Yuval Noah Harari, a renowned historian and author of the bestseller “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind,” has said that the 21st century may well be the most unequal era in history. Human modification and enhancement will be achieved, but not for all, and this will create class divisions.
I believe people’s fears about artificial intelligence (AI) to be premature. The current tendency when discussing AI is to differentiate between its so-called weak and strong forms. Actually, the former is what we know as AI, whereas the latter is called AGI — or “artificial general intelligence.” Machines need to develop consciousness to achieve AGI.
As an example, there are currently several computer programs capable of beating a human at chess. These are all forms of AI. However, if a computer were to stop the game halfway through and type out a message saying, “You’re awful at this; I’m going to play against someone else,” it would have gained the self-awareness to qualify as AGI. Only at this stage could artificial intelligence pose a potential threat to humanity, and this is why I believe current technology will help and not hinder us.
There are huge prospects for the future of neurology. For this reason, Shanda Group is investing US$1 billion into establishing a neuroscience program to support research projects in China. There are many Chinese neurologists around the world conducting fantastic research. They are excited by China as a rapidly developing market, and they have abundant faith in China’s research capabilities and resources. But they are reluctant to move their families back to China and carry on their research here out of concerns for their children’s education and for environmental pollution. They are also equally keen to maintain close ties with the United States, which is the world leader in their field.
Realizing this, Shanda and several Chinese universities have put forward a solution. Their proposal is to seek out the top Chinese neuroscientists worldwide and have them conduct their research at a lab, perhaps in Silicon Valley or Boston, built specifically with neuroscience in mind. They would then make regular trips back home to China to give lectures and classes, and the findings of their research, along with any patents, would belong to the university with which they were affiliated. Indeed, this initiative is already in the process of being rolled out.
I will feel an immense sense of accomplishment if Shanda Group can contribute to unlocking the secrets of the human mind and am eager for us to play a leading role by investing in academic institutions and commercial enterprises. We already make frequent charitable donations to universities and have established a scheme to provide long-term funding for Chinese postdoctoral researchers and assistant professors in the field of neurology. The scheme currently supports several hundred researchers around the globe.
One of our most interesting commercial partners is ElMindA, an Israeli firm that assesses cognition quantitatively by monitoring and analyzing brain activity. For example, if a doctor asks you how much something hurts, you are basically limited to saying it hurts “a lot,” “a little,” “sort of,” and so on. Even if you try to rate the degree of pain from 1 to 10, the best you can give is a rough estimate. Nobody truly knows how to quantify the sensation of pain in their mind. ElMindA is the only firm on the planet with approval from the American Food and Drug Administration that is exploring the brain from the perspective of quantifying sentience and cognition.
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are also keys to the future of neuroscience. VR and AR equipment are currently very heavy, and only offer a restricted field of view to the user. If the firms we have invested in can successfully miniaturize this technology, the implications of their research would be revolutionary.
Of course, as a commercial enterprise, we are not excluding the possibility that a genuine business opportunity might emerge from our outside interests. If we discover a way to write memories directly into the brain, for example, it would transform the world of education. If we can create a VR or AR universe on the scale of “The Matrix,” the entertainment industry as we know it would cease to exist. Neuroscience is so seductive partially because it has the potential to turn a firm into the next Google — or perhaps something even larger. Yet if we approach neuroscience with a desire to tear down existing corporations, we will make an ordeal out of a wondrous journey of discovery.
After becoming the richest person in China at 30 years old, is there any value in striving to achieve this ambition all over again at age 40 or 60? As far as I am concerned, there is none whatsoever. What is more valuable is the potential variety of human experience, all of which is a product of the brain. Naturally, this includes both happiness and pain; right now, I would prefer to set my brain to “happiness mode,” and enjoy contemplating the future of neuroscience.

(The News Lens has been authorized to repost this article. The piece was first published on Sixth Tone here. Sixth Tone covers trending topics, in-depth features, and illuminating commentary from the perspectives of those most intimately involved in the issues affecting China today. It belongs to the state-funded Shanghai United Media Group.)

Experts come together to develop plan for managing and sharing neuroscience data

Is your doctor, hospital and stroke association involved in this? I bet not one single person represents stroke in here. A massive failure on on stroke medical professionals.
Three years ago the White House launched the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative to accelerate the development and application of novel technologies that will give us a better understanding about how brains work.
Since then, dozens of technology firms, academic institutions, scientists and other have been developing new tools to give researchers unprecedented opportunities to explore how the brain processes, utilizes, stores and retrieves information. But without a coherent strategy to analyze, manage and understand the data generated by these new technologies, advancements in the field will be limited.
This is precisely why Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) Computational Neuroscientist Kristofer Bouchard assembled an international team of interdisciplinary researchers--including mathematicians, computer scientists, physicists and experimental and computational neuroscientists--to develop a plan for managing, analyzing and sharing neuroscience data. Their recommendations were published in a recent issue of Neuron.
"The U.S. BRAIN Initiative is just one of many national and private neuroscience initiatives globally that are working toward accelerating our understanding of brains," says Bouchard. "Many of these efforts have given a lot of attention to the technological challenges of measuring and manipulating neural activity, while significantly less attention has been paid to the computing challenges associated with the vast amounts of data that these technologies are generating."
To maximize the return on investments in global neuroscience initiatives, Bouchard and his colleagues argue that the international neuroscience community should have an integrated strategy for data management and analysis. This coordination would facilitate the reproducibility of workflows, which then allows researchers to build on each other's work.
For a first step, the authors recommend that researchers from all facets of neuroscience agree on standard descriptions and file formats for products derived from data analysis and simulations. After that, the researchers should work with computer scientists to develop hardware and software ecosystems for archiving and sharing data.
The authors suggest an ecosystem similar to the one used by the physics community to share data collected by experiments like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). In this case, each research group has their own local repository of physiological or simulation data that they've collected or generated. But eventually, all of this information should also be included in "meta-repositories" that are accessible to the greater neuroscience community. Files in the "meta-repositories" should be in a common format, and the repositories would ideally be hosted by an open-science supercomputing facility like the Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), located at Berkeley Lab.
Because novel technologies are producing unprecedented amounts of data, Bouchard and his colleagues also propose that neuroscientists collaborate with mathematicians to develop new approaches for data analysis and modify existing analysis tools to run on supercomputers. To maximize these collaborations, the analysis tools should be open-source and should integrate with brain-scale simulations, they emphasize.
"These are the early days for neuroscience and big data, but we can see the challenges coming. This is not the first research community to face big data challenges; climate and high energy physics have been there and overcome many of the same issues," says Prabhat, who leads NERSC's Data & Analytics Services Group.
Berkeley Lab is well positioned to help neuroscientists address these challenges because of its long tradition of interdisciplinary science, Prabhat adds. DOE facilities like NERSC and the Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) have worked closely with Lab computer scientists to help a range of science communities--from astronomy to battery research--collaborate and manage and archive their data. Berkeley Lab mathematicians have also helped researchers in various scientific disciplines develop new tools and methods for data analysis on supercomputers.
"Harnessing the power of HPC resources will require neuroscientists to work closely with computer scientists and will take time, so we recommend rapid and sustained investment in this endeavor now," says Bouchard. "The insights generated from this effort will have high-payoff outcomes. They will support neuroscience efforts to reveal both the universal design features of a species' brain and help us understand what makes each individual unique."
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

The Type of Smile That Helps Start New Relationships

With all the relationships that survivors will lose your doctor and psychologist should be providing you with new ways to make friends.

People feel emotionally close to others displaying this type of smile.
A ‘Duchenne smile’ is a powerful way of striking up a new relationship, a new study finds.
People are highly tuned to the Duchenne smile, which involves upturned lips and crinkly eyes.
And they can easily spot a fake smile, which tends to involve only the mouth and not the eyes.
The research tested how much people are aware of each other’s emotions, whether negative or positive.
It found that people were more aware of positive emotions in other people than negative.
It also found that a genuine smile was a strong sign of cooperation and affiliation.
People felt emotionally closer to strangers who showed positive emotions.
The positive emotion that was particularly attractive was awe.
Dr Belinda Campos, who led the research, said:
“Our findings provide new evidence of the significance of positive emotions in social settings and highlight the role that positive emotions display in the development of new social connections.
People are highly attuned to the positive emotions of others and can be more attuned to others’ positive emotions than negative emotions.”
The study was published in the journal Motivation and Emotion (Campos et al., 2015).

Comparing Gait Parameters Can Predict Decline in Memory, Thinking

I had a significant decline is gait post-stroke. Does that predict my decline in memory and thinking? My gait is still off 10 years later. The same study should have included abnormal participants like stroke and TBI survivors, like the real world contains rather than these cherry picked participants.
A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease found that problems associated with gait can predict a significant decline in memory and thinking.
Using the Rochester Epidemiology Project, researchers from the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, examined medical records of residents from Olmsted County, Minnesota, who were aged between 70 and 89 as of October 1, 2004.
The analysis included 3,426 cognitively normal participants enrolled in the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging who had a complete gait and neuropsychological assessment.
At baseline and every 15 months (mean follow-up, 1.93 years), participants had a study coordinator evaluation, neurological examination, and a neuropsychological assessment using 9 tests that covered 4 domains. Gait parameters were assessed with the GAITRite instrument.
Spatial (stride length), temporal (ambulatory time, gait speed, step count, cadence, double support time), and spatiotemporal (cadence) gait parameters, and greater intraindividual variability in stride length, swing time, and stance time were associated with a significant decline in global cognition and in specific domains including memory, executive function, visuospatial, and language.
The results of the study also support the role of computerised analysis because the computer tool detected modifications before impairment was detected with a standard neuropsychological test.
“The presence of gait disturbances increases with advancing age and affects the independence of daily living, especially in the elderly,” said lead author Rodolfo Savica, MD, Mayo Clinic. “Computerised gait analysis is a simple, noninvasive test that potentially could be used to identify patients at high risk for cognitive decline and to target appropriate therapies.”
SOURCE: Mayo Clinic

A Go on NOGO: Promising Therapy for CNS Disease and Injury

So has anything here been put into clinical practice after 15 years studying this? We need axonal regeneration. Is this a piece of the stroke strategy? Whom is making sure this gets translated into viable clinical interventions?
Cecilia Reyes and Yaroslav Voronin
Department of Biology
Lake Forest College
Lake Forest, Illinois 60045
Mammals  have  evolved  with  a  limited  capacity  to  regenerate  neurons  in  the  CNS.  Damage  to  the  CNS  by  traumatic  injury,  stroke and neurodegenerative disorders can result in permanent loss of  sensory,  motor,  and  cognitive  functions.    Fifteen  years  ago,  my lab began studying the inhibitory mechanisms in damaged CNS.  We have identified the myelin-associated protein Nogo-A as a key player in  sprouting  inhibition.  Nogo-A,  as  well  as  two  other  inhibitory  proteins, MAG and OMgp, bind to the nogo-66 receptor (NgR) to inhibit axonal regeneration in the CNS.  We identified two mechanisms with neurons  that  promote  Nogo-based  CNS  inhibition:  the  rho-ROCK  kinase  pathway  that  is  selectively  activated  by  NgR,  and  the  integrin-actin pathway that is activated by a 66-amino-acid residue on Nogo-A.  While genetic and chemical disruption of NgR ligands (nogo-A, MAG and OMgp) has resulted in poor regeneration after injury, manipulation of NgR has shown promising therapeutic value in both in vivo and in vitro. Therapeutic administration of NgR(310)ecto-Fc protein, an NgR antagonist, in tissue and mouse models can neutralize the inhibitory effects of the three NgR ligands and has proven beneficial in
promoting motor function after spinal cord injury and stroke
. Finally, we have found that inhibiting Nogo-A in ALS and Alzheimer’s disease models reduces pathological characteristics, indicating that manipulating Nogo-NgR based inhibition holds great promise for CNS injury
and neurodegenerative disease.

Use of outcome measures in stroke rehabilitation in the transition from hospital to home-based rehabilitation

Nothing here helps anyone because the standardised measurements are never mentioned.
Maribo, Thomas3; Nielsen, Claus Vinther4
1 Department of Public Health, Health, Aarhus University

2 Department of Public Health - Klinisk Socialmedicin og Rehabilitering, Department of Public Health, Health, Aarhus University

3 Department of Public Health, Health, Aarhus University

4 Department of Public Health - Klinisk Socialmedicin og Rehabilitering, Department of Public Health, Health, Aarhus University
Relevance: Stroke is one of the major chronic diseases leading to long-term disability. Stroke treatment has improved and in-hospital stays have been reduced, leading to increasing emphasis on home-based rehabilitation. The transition from hospital to home-based rehabilitation is critical, as vital information can be lost as the rehabilitation teams change. Using relevant instruments to describe functioning is a way of ensuring continuity in the transition. Clinical guidelines recommend use of reliable and valid instruments in the transition, but recommendations on which outcome measures to use are vague. Purpose: The purpose was to examine the use of outcome measures used in clinical practice in the transition from hospital to home-based rehabilitation. Methods/Analysis: A questionnaire were sent to the heads of 26 hospitals discharging patients with stroke and 52 municipalities' health services treating stroke patients at home in three regions in Denmark. The three regions have a total population of three million. The survey was targeted at health care professionals that typically take part in municipal health service: nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, nursing assistants and neuropsychologists. The questionnaire had one open-ended question: “Which instruments, outcome measures or tests are commonly used to describe functioning in persons with stroke?”. The questionnaire underlined that only instruments routinely used to assess functioning were to be reported. Data were subjected to descriptive analysis. Instruments were separated into standardised (published) and “others”. Results: 85% of the hospitals and 90% of the municipalities returned the questionnaire. 95% of the hospitals and 96% of the municipalities used standardised instruments. The hospitals reported 61 standardised instruments and 45 “other”. The municipalities reported 60 standardised instruments and 53 “other”. A total of 89 standardised instruments were used to describe functioning in stroke patients. No instrument was used in every hospital or municipality, and a majority of the instruments were used in just one or two places. The different health professionals reported diverse use of standardised instruments, with occupational therapists at hospitals being the most frequent users and nurses reporting the least use of standardised instruments. In 79% of the hospitals and 89% of the municipalities, PTs used standardised instruments. Discussion and conclusions: Health professionals are encouraged to use evidence-based practice, including the use of valid and reliable instruments in health care transitions, but there are no recommendations on which instruments to use. This survey of more than half the Danish health care sector shows that the vast majority of services use standardised instruments, but there is absolutely no consensus in the selection of instruments. Impact and Implications: There is a strong need for recommendations on which outcome measures should be used in stroke rehabilitation, especially in the transition between hospital and home-based rehabilitation. A nationwide, interprofessional and intersectional group is currently discussing recommendations for the use of outcome measures in stroke rehabilitation. Results from this group will be presented at the conference. Funding Acknowledgement: The study was supported by Central Denmark Region and Aarhus University.
Conference poster
Main Research Area:
Medical science
Review type:
Peer Review
The European Region of the World Confederation for Physical Therapy, 2016
Submission year:
Scientific Level:

Habitual cocoa intake reduces arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women regardless of intake frequency: A randomized parallel-group study

Sounds like a good thing, but I bet your doctor will never get this into a diet protocol. Don't do this dangerous thing on your own.

Clinical Interventions in Aging, 12/02/2016
For this study, researchers examine the impacts of cocoa consumption frequency on arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women. In spite of the fact that this study did not include a sedentary control group, these outcomes recommend that regardless of frequency, habitual cocoa consumption decreases central and peripheral arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women.
  • 64±12 years was the mean age ± standard deviation of the participant.
  • A sum of 26 postmenopausal women were haphazardly assigned to two groups with different cocoa–intake frequencies: one group ingested 17 g of cocoa once daily except on Sundays (every–day group, n=13), and the other ingested 17 g of cocoa twice daily every other day (every–other–day group, n=13).
  • These consumption regimens were kept up in both groups for 12 weeks.
  • Carotid–femoral pulse–wave velocity and femoral–ankle pulse–wave velocity were measured in both groups at baseline and again at the end of the 12–week study period.
  • Contrasted with baseline, both pulse–wave velocities had altogether diminished after the 12–week study period in both groups (P<0.05).
  • However, no significant difference in degree of change was observed between the two groups.
Go to PubMed Go to Abstract Print Article Summary Cat 2 CME Report

Thursday, December 1, 2016

RCP stroke guidance recommends 45 minutes of therapy daily

What a fucking piece of shit guideline. You should be doing hours upon hours of therapy daily including action observation, mirror therapy, meditation, PROM, music listening and virtual realty game playing.  You will never recover much if you listen to this stupid bullshit.  Until the stroke medical world starts writing protocols instead of guidelines they really are useless.
People with stroke should receive at least 45 minutes of each appropriate therapy a day, guidance from the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) recommends.
Rehabilitation is central to the document, which says the frequency of therapy must enable stroke patients to meet their rehabilitation goals.(That goal is 100% recovery, nothing less) And, very importantly, therapy should continue as long as patients are willing and capable of participating and showing measurable benefit from treatment.
The RCP’s Key Recommendations for Stroke 2016 offers a concise guide to better stroke care. Its 30 recommendations are based on the RCP’s detailed 151-page National Clinical Guideline for Stroke, with more than 400 recommendations covering almost every aspect of stroke management.(Pretty much useless since these are guidelines not protocols)
A stroke unit must be capable of providing rehabilitation to all its patients, it tells commissioners. In addition, it calls on them to provide a specialist early supported discharge service, so stroke patients can continue their rehabilitation at home.
Commissioners are recommended to look for specialist rehabilitation services which meet the specific health, social and vocational needs of people with stroke of all ages. And they should commission services capable of delivering specialist rehabilitation in out-patient and community settings, in liaison with inpatient services.
Daily mobilisation
Early mobilisation is key, the document says. Patients who are medically stable but have difficulty moving soon after a stroke should be offered frequent, short, daily mobilisations by appropriately trained staff. Typically this should begin between 24 and 48 hours after a stroke.
Inpatient stroke units should be staffed by a multidisciplinary team that meets at least once each week to exchange information about patients.
Nicola Hancock, lecturer in physiotherapy at the University of East Anglia, contributed to the guidance. She said physiotherapists would find the concise guidance highly accessible and hoped it would be used, along with the full guidelines, to inform, support and improve acute and rehabilitation services.
'The new National Clinical Guideline for Stroke is the most comprehensive, evidence-based tool available to guide practice all the way through the stroke pathway, from the earliest stages to long-term management of this important condition,’ she said.
‘The guidelines were developed using a highly-rigorous process of searching, appraising and compiling the evidence. The concise guide brings together a number of guidelines from the main document that are particularly relevant to physiotherapy practice.’

Benefits of daily aspirin outweigh risk to stomach

For your discussion with your doctor. Ask her/him about the 81mg vs. 300 mg in Britain and 325 mg (or 5 grains) in the United States and if the size made any difference.
Stomach bleeds caused by aspirin are considerably less serious than the spontaneous bleeds that can occur in people not taking the drug, concludes a study led by Cardiff University.
Published in the journal Public Library of Science, the extensive study of literature on aspirin reveals that while regular use of the drug increases the risk of stomach bleeds by about a half, there is no valid evidence that any of these bleeds are fatal.
Professor Peter Elwood from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine said: “Although many people use aspirin daily to reduce the risk of health problems such as cancer and heart disease, the wider use of the drug is severely limited because of the side effect of bleeding from the stomach. With our study showing that there is no increased risk of death from stomach bleeding in people who take regular aspirin, we hope there will be better confidence in the drug and wider use of it by older people, leading to important reductions in deaths and disablement from heart disease and cancer across the community.”
Heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death and disability across the world, and research has shown that a small daily dose of aspirin can reduce the occurrence of both diseases by around 20-30%.
Recent research has also shown that low-doses of aspirin given to patients with cancer, alongside chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy, is an effective additional treatment, reducing the deaths of patients with bowel, and possibly other cancers, by a further 15%.
The study ‘Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised trials to ascertain fatal gastrointestinal bleeding events attributable to preventive low-dose aspirin: No evidence of increased risk’ can be found in Public Library of Science.
This study was a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised trials. This type of research provides the strongest evidence for drawing causal conclusions because it draws together all of the best evidence.
Full bibliographic informationSystematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Trials to Ascertain Fatal Gastrointestinal Bleeding Events Attributable to Preventive Low-Dose Aspirin: No Evidence of Increased Risk

Peter C. Elwood , Gareth Morgan , Julieta Galante , John W. K. Chia , Sunil Dolwani , J. Michael Graziano , Mark Kelson , Angel Lanas , Marcus Longley , Ceri J. Phillips , Janet Pickering , Stephen E. Roberts , Swee S. Soon , [ ... ], Alison L. Weightman

Published: November 15, 2016

Microbubbles and Ultrasound Open the Blood-Brain Barrier to Administer Drugs

For when we actually get drugs that can help improve neuroplasticity and neurogenesis.  I wonder what researcher is working on kickstarting neuroplasticity and neurogenesis? A great stroke association would know exactly what stroke research is going on, who funded it, status, and what part of the stroke strategy it is addressing. That is what these employees should be doing instead of writing press releases and setting up awareness crap like marathon teams.

Summary: Researchers have developed a new method that could allow for the delivery of drugs across the blood-brain barrier.
Source: FECYT.
The impassable blood-brain barrier prevents microorganisms from entering our brain, however it also blocks medicines that could help treat Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Now, a Spanish physicist and other researchers at the University of Columbia (USA) have succeeded in embedding these substances in tiny lipid bubbles, in such a way that ultrasound can be used to release them into the specific area of the brain where they are needed.
A defence mechanism as sophisticated as the blood-brain barrier, which protects our brains from viruses, bacteria and fungi that filter into our blood, can become our worst enemy when it comes to treating certain illnesses. This “wall” is an impassable obstacle for 98% of drugs, which it treats as pathogens and blocks from passing from patients’ bloodstream into their brain.
Scientists have for years been trying to break through this natural barrier, but almost none of the techniques developed to date (such as intracranial injections, gene therapy and the chemical modification of the medicine) have been able to transport the drug to where it is needed, without it affecting the rest of the body and with the action being reversible (where the barrier opens and closes very rapidly).
The only method that has been capable of overcoming all these conditions is based on the use of ultrasound (sound whose frequency is higher than the range of human hearing) after drugs are administered with an independent intravenous injection of lipid-coated gas microbubbles (which are completely innocuous).
Like a laser, the ultrasound is focused on a specific region of the brain, where the microbubbles begin to oscillate and increase in size due to their interaction with the acoustic waves. When these tiny bubbles reach the critical size of 8 microns, the blood-brain barrier near to them opens, allowing the medicine circulating in the blood to pass through.
This technique has been used successfully for over ten years, but it does have a disadvantage: the drugs move through the entire circulatory system and reach organs where they are not needed, causing adverse effects. However, it appears that scientists at the Ultrasound Elasticity Imaging Laboratory (UEIL) at New York’s Columbia University have found the solution.
“We’ve made a step forward by incorporating the substance we’re interested in into the lipid coating of the microbubbles. This makes the substance stay adhered to the microbubbles and prevents it circulating freely through the body,” SINC was told by the physicist Carlos Sierra, a UEIL researcher who receives a grant from A Coruña’s Berrié Foundation and the lead author of the paper on this new advance, published in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism.
With this technique, the microbubbles flow through the entire body with the potential drug adhered to them, but only release it in the area of the brain where it is required, where the effect of the ultrasound causes them to rupture and open the blood-brain barrier. “It does all this, while being non-invasive, reversible and completely safe,” Sierra stresses.
From experiments on mice to human trials
So far, the researchers have proven the efficacy of their technique on mice. They chose a fluorescent molecule called 5-dodecanoylaminofluorescein and confirmed that it was reaching the brain without affecting other parts of the animal. At the same time, they identified the acoustic pressure thresholds from which the substance is guaranteed to reach its target in vivo.
Microbubbles with the fluorescent substance in their lipid coating, from which the effect of the ultrasound causes them to be released into the desired area of the brain.
“Defining these parameters means we can think about how to transfer the technique to human patients, although it has to be tested on monkeys first,” the researcher explains, adding that “it could be applied to diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s diseases, brain tumours, strokes, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, where we expect to see a very significant rise in the efficacy of treatment and a considerable reduction in side-effects.”
The team has now started administering potentially therapeutic compounds for treating Parkinson’s disease “with promising initial findings,” Sierra points out, concluding that “the success of this technique in mice, and even in monkeys, can’t guarantee it will be effective in people, but if we continue to get satisfactory results then pre-clinical trials on humans would begin.”
About this neurology research article
Source: FECYT
Image Source: This image is credited to UEIL, C. Sierra et al..
Original Research: Abstract for “Lipid microbubbles as a vehicle for targeted drug delivery using focused ultrasound-induced blood–brain barrier opening” by Carlos Sierra, Camilo Acosta, Cherry Chen, Shih-Ying Wu, Maria E Karakatsani, Manuel Bernal, and Elisa E Konofagou in Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism. Published online June 8 2016 doi:10.1177/0271678X16652630