Strokes are a common condition in older people where the heart might stop working for a few minutes. This could happen due to blockage of vessels, weak heart muscles, low blood pressure or as a side effect from substances used.
The only down side for the stroke treatment is the effect it has on brain cells as the blood circulation going to the brain will stop and the cells will be deprived of oxygen and nutrients for a period of time that may lead to the destruction of a few of these cells. This in turn causes brain damage as a bigger image which might affect any of the humans functionality.
As severe as this case is, it inspired a team of researchers form the University of British Columbia, led by Moises Freitas-Andrade, a postdoctoral research fellow at UBC and currently is a research fellow at The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, to find an alternative solution.
They concluded a new treatment for a certain type of stroke, which uses hemi channels that allows the pass of ions and nutrient through astrocytes to the brain cells; lowering brain damage. The results are published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, including the results obtained with their rat samples.
According to Moises, “Our study definitively confirms that hemi channels are detrimental in stroke, and that we can block them to minimize damage to the brain. It’s a different approach to stroke treatment. A lot of previous research has focused on trying to protect neurons, but here we sought a way to enhance the astrocyte’s ability to protect neurons in stroke.”