June Report on Progress: Stroke Treatment

This month’s Report on Progress focuses on advances in stroke treatment and therapy. Strokes can have a variety of neurological effects on the body like difficulty speaking, loss of consciousness and sudden death. The article, written by Xuefang Ren, M.D., and James W. Simpkins, Ph.D., discusses current treatments, explains how strokes occur, and underscores the need to develop more effective therapies.

Stroke, the most common medical emergency, is a cerebrovascular accident that can cause death and long-term disability. Over 80 percent of all strokes are ischemic strokes, when a clot lodges in an artery supplying blood to the brain and the blood flow is reduced or blocked. A small percentage, caused by rupture of brain blood vessels, are called hemorrhagic strokes. Stroke risk factors are well known and include high blood pressure, elevated lipids, diabetes, smoking, heavy drinking, coronary artery disease, heart diseases, etc.

To read the full article, please click here.

James Simpkins on Stroke

Dana Alliance member James Simpkins, Ph.D., is working on novel treatments that could limit the damage and/or improve recovery from stroke. As a professor and the director of the Center for Basic & Translational Stroke Research at West Virginia University, he operates in a state that has a high rate of stroke. In recognition of Stroke Awareness Month, we asked Simpkins a few questions.james simpkins wvu

Why does West Virginia have a high incidence of stroke?

West Virginians have a very sedate lifestyle. They rank 49th nationally, per person, in exercise. They have a comparatively poor diet, high smoking and drinking rates, and rank in the bottom four or five in states in obesity, heart disease, hypertension, etc.

Also, the folks who show up to a hospital with a stroke often have really severe strokes, likely in part because of the geography of West Virginia. We’re completely within Appalachia, so it’s not uncommon for a 40-mile trip from a person’s home to a hospital to take an hour and a half or two hours. That puts those people close to if not outside the window for tissue plasminogen activator treatment.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: