A new study has discovered a gene that could help the brain heal on its own after a stroke. The team also found this could be beneficial for those who suffer head injuries. The study's findings were originally published in the journal Cell Reports.
The TRIM9 gene can help reduce brain swelling after a stroke and even prevented damage caused by a blow to the head or encephalitis -inflammation of the brain - according to researchers. Inflammation in the brain can sometimes be a good thing to help tackle infections and get rid of dead tissues. However, if it lasts too long it can lead to the death of neurons.
The study was conducted by a team from the University of Southern California. A lab model also showed older brains with low levels of TRIM9 were at higher risk of swelling after a stroke. The reason for this is because as we age there is a scarcity of the TRIM9 age. Even when the researchers chose a harmless virus to transport a dose of TRIM9 in brains with a deficiency of the gene, they found the swelling dramatically reduced and made a smooth recovery more possible.
Despite the findings, lead author of the study Jae Jung said making a treatment available that includes gene therapy delivered by viruses is highly unlikely.People who suffer a stroke or head injury need to be treated with the first hour. "Maybe there will be a way to chemically activate TRIM9 right after a stroke," Jung told a news portal. Adding, "Or maybe a football player can take a medication that turns on TRIM9 gene expression right after they get a blow to the head."
Treating the condition as soon as possible is essential and life-saving. "When clot buster treatment is used during the first hours after a stroke, there is 80 per cent chance of good recovery. Approximately, 70 per cent of patients do not correctly recognise minor strokes, 30 per cent delay seeking medical attention within 24 hours, and about 30 per cent of early recurrent strokes occur before seeking attention,” Dr Sivarajan Thandeswaran, consultant, Stroke and Neurovascular Medicine, Kauvery Hospital, told a news portal.
The second most common cause of death worldwide is due to stroke. Experts say early intervention is the only way to reduce the rate and protect people from this serious health condition. “Stroke claims 6.2 million lives every year, with six lives being lost due to strokes every minute. Most strokes are not painful and when strokes happen the symptoms will be varied from mild visual blur to loss of speech or complete paralysis on one side of the body," Dr Sivarajan Thandeswaran told a news portal. There are several factors people need to be aware of that can increase their risk of experiencing a stroke. Diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes are some of the major risk factors.