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New drug NA-1 reduces risk of stroke in brain operation patients

Published on 08/10/2012

A new drug could reduce the risk of stroke in patients undergoing brain operations.

Brain operations like removing an aneurysm can limit the blood flow to a patient’s brain, causing small strokes which result in damaged areas of the brain tissue known as lesions. An aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel that's caused by a weakness in the blood vessel wall.

But a new study published in The Lancet Neurology showed that injecting a new drug called NA-1 after surgery can reduce the number of affected sites by 40 per cent.

Researchers at the University of Calgary's Hotchkiss Brain Institute in Canada tested the drug on 185 patients, all undergoing operations to remove a brain aneurysm. The drug was administered after surgery, and scientists measured the damage to patient’s brain using MRI scans.

It showed that those who were given NA-1 rather than a placebo had an average of seven lesions compared with 12 in those given a placebo.

Scientists now say that further studies are needed to confirm the early findings.

They also wrote that NA-1 is effective and harmless for humans to use, despite the new medication causing transient low blood pressure in some of the participants.

Professor Michael Hill of the University of Calgary, who led the study, said: "Our research, which builds on existing animal studies, suggests that intravenous infusion of NA-1 reduces tissue damage in patients who suffer a small stroke after an operation to repair a brain aneurysm, and further research is now needed to investigate the efficacy of neuroprotection in larger clinical trials."

Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said: “If it turns out that this protects the brain, we could use it on umpteen procedures on the brain, so it might have a much broader impact than just these patients."

Researchers say that whilst there was no significant difference in the overall size of the damaged area, there may have been too few patients to notice a clear difference.

If access to specialist treatment centres is important to you, choose a health insurance policy with London Hospital coverage.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012

Categories:  Medical
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