Fish Oil, Stroke, and Brain Damage
There are new developments in the field of using fish oil to help brain recover from stroke.
Information gathered and compiled by the World Health Organization tells us that acute ischemic strokes are not selective in their choice of victims. They can happen to anyone, at anytime, any age, any ethnic group, in any country to the tune of 15 million people worldwide annually. Strokes can cripple, disable, and kill. The cause of this dangerous and sometimes deadly event is blood loss to part of the brain caused by either a blood clot or atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). When a stroke happens, time is of the essence in getting the victim to the hospital so that brain damage resulting from a stroke can be minimized or avoided completely.
When a blockage or blood clot occurs the tissue at the site of the blockage becomes damaged and it cannot be repaired. The area surrounding the site of the blockage is also damaged, but if blood flow can be restored within a certain window of time, normally just a few hours, damage can be stopped and the resulting disability minimized or completely reversed. The longer a stroke victim delays treatment the devastating consequences begin to mount, the reason being that as blood flow is restored inflammation causing enzymes, free radicals, and brain damaging chemicals pour into the tissues causing further damage and sometimes even death.
Currently the only line of defense is to administer clot busting drugs in a procedure known as thrombolysis. Effectiveness of this treatment relies heavily on the proper administration of the drug, as well as the amount of time that has lapsed from the onset of the stroke to the treatment.
A research team at LSU's Health Science Center and led by Dr. Nicolas Bazan, has found great promise of a new treatment from a component of fish oil, it's an Omega-3 fatty acid called, Docosahexaenoic acid(DHA). The effects of DHA on the brain and cardiovascular system are already known, as well as it's therapeutic effect on diseases of the eye, bone loss, arthritis, asthma, and the blood infection sepsis. It was not known what kind of impact DHA would have on strokes, so Dr. Bazan assembled his research team and went to work.
The findings were nothing short of amazing. Dr. Bazan and his team discovered that DHA could be administered up to six hours after the onset of a stroke and MRI's still showed reductions in neurological defects. DHA had the capability to reduce inflammation and facilitate recovery. It was found that the use of DHA not only reduced the amount of area damaged but Dr. Bazan also discovered it's use triggered production of a brain protecting molecule named Neuroprotecton D1 (NPD1). DHA not only saved brain tissue from being destroyed, but also had the ability to repair tissue to the point it looked like normal brain tissue.
With this research there is new promise in the fight against stroke and it's ability to cause life altering devastation and expense. Dr. Bazan feels that now is the perfect time for researchers to band together and find the key to stopping strokes before they ever start.