Researchers discover drug target for stimulating recovery from stroke Neuroscience: March 21, 2012.

Investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine have shown that removing a matched set of molecules that typically help to regulate the brain’s capacity for forming and eliminating connections between nerve cells could substantially aid recovery from stroke even days after the event. In experiments with mice, the scientists demonstrated that when these molecules are not present, the mice’s ability to recover from induced strokes improved significantly.

Importantly, these beneficial effects grew over the course of a full week post-stroke, suggesting that, in the future, treatments such as drugs designed to reproduce the effects in humans might work even if given as much as several days after a stroke occurs. The only currently available stroke treatment — tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA — must be given within a few hours of a stroke to be effective, and patients’ brains must first be scanned to determine whether this treatment is appropriate. Moreover, while tPA limits the initial damage caused by a stroke, it doesn’t help the brainrestore or replace lost connections between nerve cells, which is essential to recovery. Read More