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Ultrasound Device Combined With Clot-Buster Safe for Stroke

stroke clot busterTypically we insert articles on learning and the brain, but here is something new concerning stroke, that I thought our readers might be interested in. It is an article from Science news, but before you read on here are some stroke statistics:

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. More than 140,000 people die each year from stroke in the United States. Stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States.

Nearly three-quarters of all strokes occur in people over the age of 65. The risk of having a stroke more than doubles each decade after the age of 55. Stroke death rates are higher for African-Americans than for whites, even at younger ages.

The risk of ischemic stroke in current smokers is about double that of nonsmokers after adjustment for other risk factors. High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for stroke.

Oct. 24, 2013 — A study led by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) showed that a hands-free ultrasound device combined with a clot-busting drug was safe for ischemic stroke patients. The device, which uses UTHealth technology licensed to Cerevast Therapeutics, Inc., is placed on the stroke patient’s head and delivers ultrasound to enhance the effectiveness of the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). Unlike the traditional hand-held ultrasound probe that’s aimed at a blood clot, the hands-free device used 18 separate probes and showers the deep areas of the brain where large blood clots cause severe strokes.

“Our goal is to open up more arteries in the brain and help stroke patients recover,” said Barreto, an attending physician at Mischer Neuroscience Institute. “This technology would have a significant impact on patients, families and society if we could improve outcomes by another 10 percent or more by adding ultrasound to patients who’ve already received tPA.”

In the first study of its kind, 20 moderately severe ischemic stroke patients (12 men and eight women, average age 63 years) received intravenous tPA up to 4.5 hours after symptoms occurred and two hours exposure to 2-MHz pulsed wave transcranial ultrasound.

Researchers reported that 13 (or 65 percent) patients either returned home or to rehabilitation 90 days after the combination treatment. After three months, five of the 20 patients had no disability from the stroke and one had slight disability.