New form of treatment to reduce risk for surgery-related ischemic brain injury?

Ischemic brain injury due to heart and vascular surgery cause more than 100,000 deaths annually in Europe and the United States. In addition, approximately 10–20% of patients undergoing heart and vascular surgery – at least 1.5 million people in Europe and the United States every year – suffer from ischemic brain injury as a side-effect of their surgery.

Researchers from the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Helsinki, Finland, have found that water-only fasting or protein-free diet before stroke reduce the amount of damaged brain tissue in rats by nearly 40%.

Academy Research Fellow Jaan-Olle Andressoo notes that reducing brain damage caused by surgery, some of which results in what are known as "silent strokes", would be extremely important. A silent stroke, often left undiagnosed, may disrupt the brain's capacity to process information. Patients may experience cognitive difficulties after surgery, e.g. find that they can no longer complete everyday tasks as easily as before.

"Minimising brain damage is the main target of our research, and we are now seeking partners to enable us to test the pre-surgery diets on patient groups."

Academy Research Fellow Kaisa Hartikainen, a neurologist at the Behavioural Neurology Research Unit at the Tampere University Hospital, considers the findings interesting.

"Despite an enormous amount of research in recent years into treatments and drugs that could protect neurons from irreversible damage caused by oxygen deprivation, neuroprotective treatments have largely proved ineffective in stroke patients. Results from short-term dietary restriction studies on rats, however, offer a promising new alternative for use in conjunction with surgical treatments associated with a significant risk for stroke."

More information: Varendi K, Airavaara M, Anttila J, Vose S, Planken A, et al. (2014) "Short-term Preoperative Dietary Restriction Is Neuroprotective in a Rat Focal Stroke Model." PLoS ONE 9(4): e93911. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0093911

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Peritoneal dialysis as an intervention for stroke patients

Sep 03, 2013

Ischemic stroke is characterized by an interruption of the blood supply to the brain, which can lead to brain damage and even death. Excess amounts of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate are released during stroke events ...

Total hip replacement surgery may increase risk of stroke

Nov 08, 2012

Risk of ischemic stroke increases by nearly 4.7-fold and hemorrhagic stroke 4.4-fold during the first two weeks after total hip replacement surgery, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Stroke. ...

Recommended for you

A novel pathway for prevention of heart attack and stroke

8 hours ago

A recent Finnish study could pave the way for preventing brain and cardiac ischemia induced by atherosclerosis. Finnish researchers have found that the low-expression variant of fatty acid-binding protein 4 (FABP4), which ...

Exercise may protect older women from irregular heartbeat

Aug 20, 2014

Increasing the amount or intensity of physical activity can cut the chances of older women developing a life-threatening irregular heartbeat, according to new research in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA).

Huge discrepancies on heart disease in Europe

Aug 20, 2014

Russians and Ukrainians aged 55 to 59 die from coronary heart disease at a higher rate than Frenchmen who are 20 years older, a study released Wednesday of Europe's cardiovascular health showed.

User comments