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Cold cure for stroke victims

29th March 2006

Scientists in the US are investigating whether cooling the body can help treat stroke victims, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) are currently in the process of conducting tests to see if the cooling benefits noticed on cardiac arrest victims can be replicated on those who have suffered a stroke.

Dr. Lawrence Wechsler, director of UPMC's Stroke Institute, told the publication that hypothermia might be able to reduce the amount of brain tissue that gets damaged when a brain artery becomes partially blocked following a stroke.

The tests, which involve patients being connected to a catheter that circulates cold liquid around the body, are implemented three to six hours after that person has suffered a stroke.

Another study at the university is investigating if cooling the head can have the same effect as it does on the entire body.

"If we can show cooling the brain has the same clinical effect, in terms of protection, as cooling the body, then everyone is going to switch to cooling the head because it's much less invasive," said Dr Maxim Hammer, an assistant professor of neurology at the institute.