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The Genetic Landscape of Cerebral Steno-Occlusive Arteriopathy and Stroke in Sickle Cell Anemia.

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Sickle cell disease (SCD) is one of the most common autosomal recessive diseases in humans, occurring at a frequency of 1 in 365 African-American and 1 in 50 sub-Saharan African births. Despite progress in managing complications of SCD, these remain a major health burden worldwide.
Stroke is a common and serious complication of SCD, most often associated with steno-occlusive cerebral arteriopathy, but little is known about its pathogenesis. Transcranial Doppler ultrasonography is currently the only predictive test for the future development of stroke in patients with sickle cell anemia and is used to guide preventative treatment. However, transcranial Doppler ultrasonography does not identify all patients at increased risk for stroke, and progressive arteriopathy may occur despite preventative treatment. While sibling studies have shown a strong genetic contribution to the development of steno-occlusive arteriopathy (SOA) in SCD, the only genome-wide association study compared a relati…

People who have had a stroke are around twice as likely to develop dementia, according to the largest study of its kind ever conducted.

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The University of Exeter Medical School led the study which analysed data on stroke and dementia risk from 3.2 million people across the world. The link between stroke and dementia persisted even after taking into account other dementia risk factors such as blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Their findings give the strongest evidence to date that having a stroke significantly increases the risk of dementia. The study builds on previous research which had established the link between stroke and dementia, though had not quantified the degree to which stroke actually increased dementia risk. To better understand the link between the two, researchers analysed 36 studies where participants had a history of stroke, totalling data from 1.9 million people. In addition, they analysed a further 12 studies that looked at whether participants had a recent stroke over the study period, adding a further 1.3 million people. The new research, published in the leading dementia journal

Multiple sclerosis

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Multiple sclerosis is a condition characterized by areas of damage on the brain and spinal cord. These lesions are associated with the destruction of the covering that protects nerves and promotes the efficient transmission of nerve impulses and damage to nerve cells. Multiple sclerosis is considered an autoimmune disorder; autoimmune disorders occur when the immune system malfunctions and attacks the body's own tissues and organs, in this case, tissues of the nervous system.
Multiple sclerosis usually begins in early adulthood, between ages 20 and 40. The symptoms vary widely, and affected individuals can experience one or more effects of nervous system damage. Multiple sclerosis often causes sensory disturbances in the limbs, including a prickling or tingling sensation (paresthesia), numbness, pain, and itching. Some people experience Lhermitte sign, which is an electrical shock-like sensation that runs down the back and into the limbs. This sensation usually occurs when the head…

How uncontrolled inflammation leads to brain cell loss

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Recently, those researchers conducted a study that investigated the mechanisms that regulate inflammation in the brain, what happens when they stop working properly, and why that may happen. The cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1), they say, plays an important role in processing the "rush" sensation produced by cannabis. It also appears to be involved in the regulation of inflammatory reactions in the brain. If CB1 receptors fail to respond, this contributes to the development of chronic inflammation, which can eventually lead to the loss of brain cells. So reports the study paper, now published in the journal Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience.
Brake signals for inflammation
The researchers say that the immune response in the brain is mounted via microglial cells, a type of specialized immune cell found in the central nervous system, which includes the brain and the spinal chord. Microglia work by responding to bacteria and clearing out malfunctioning nerve cells. At the same …

Vitamin D and hypertension

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Vitamin D, a fat-soluble prohormone, has wide-ranging roles in the regulation of many physiological processes through their interactions with the vitamin D receptors (VDR). It plays a major role in bones and calcium metabolism. Vitamin D deficiency is not uncommon and it has been associated with many health-related issues, including skeletal and non-skeletal complications. The association of low vitamin D and cardiovascular diseases and risk factors has been explored in both animal and human studies. However, studies and trials on the effect of vitamin D supplementation on cardiovascular risk factors and hypertension are conflicting with inconsistent results. Therefore, large, well-powered randomized controlled trials are warranted. If successful, supplementation with easy and low-cost vitamin D can impact our health positively. Here, we summarized the evidence for the association of vitamin D, cardiovascular diseases and risk factors, including coronary artery diseases, stroke, and h…

Brain's Decision-Making Spot Found

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Damage to the brain's frontal lobe is known to weaken one's ability to think and make choices. And now scientists say they've pinpointed the various parts of this brain region that preside over reasoning, self-control and decision-making. Researchers say the data could help doctors determine what specific cognitive obstacles their patients might face after a brain injury.
The researchers mapped brain activity in almost 350 people with lesions in their frontal lobes. They linked these maps with data on how each patient performed in certain cognitive tasks. With this information, the researchers could see exactly which parts of the frontal lobe were critical for different tasks like behavioural control(refraining from ordering a chocolate sundae) and reward-based decision making (trying to win money at a casino), a statement from Caltech explained.
"The patterns of lesions that impair specific tasks showed a very clear separation between those regions of the frontal lobes…

Does Variability of Brain Blood Flow Increase Stroke Risk in Stroke Survivors and After TIA?

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Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide, and high blood pressure (BP) is the most important treatable factor that increases a person’s risk of having a stroke.
Stiffness of the blood vessels supplying the brain (arterial stiffness), possibly due to long-standing raised BP, is also likely to be a factor that increases stroke risk. Such increased arterial stiffness results in the blood flow through these vessels being more pulsatile (throbs faster) than usual, and this increased pulsatility can be assessed by an ultrasound scan.
This research is focused on assessing the relationship between the pulsatility of the blood flow through the blood vessels supplying the brain, and the risk of stroke in patients who have already had a stroke or “mini-stroke” in the past, and in particular to see if this relationship can be explained by raised BP alone.
The Oxford Vascular Study (OXVASC) recruits all patients with stroke or “mini-stroke” from a single population, and shortly after suc…