Earth Science News  





. Stenting Improves Thinking

Stenting the carotid artery improved blood flow to the brain, which improved cognitive function.
by Ed Susman
UPI Correspondent
Hollywood (UPI) Jan 31, 2007
A year after patients underwent controversial treatment to improve blood flow to the brain, their cognitive function continues to improve, researchers said Wednesday. "When we first did these studies, we were hoping that we would not adversely affect our patients' mental functioning," Rodney Raabe, director of radiology at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Wash., told United Press International.

"That's why we included a battery of psychological and cognitive tests along with the procedure."

"We were really surprised when it first appeared that -- if anything -- patients had improved, and had not gotten any worse," Raabe said at the 19th International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy. "Now we see that the differences are even greater, and are highly significant."

In his study, 62 patients underwent a procedure in which tiny coils were implanted in the carotid arteries in the neck to maintain blood flow after blockages in the blood vessel were removed through angioplasty procedures.

Raabe and colleagues were hoping to avoid the often-seen phenomena of mental confusion and cognitive loss following other procedures -- notably open-heart bypass surgery -- in which tiny bits of debris created in the repair procedure float into the brain and cause silent damage that manifests as functional deficits.

"These patients we selected weren't complaining about any problems; they were asymptomatic despite having rather severe blockages in the carotid arteries," Raabe said. It is disruption due to blockages in the carotid arteries that causes the vast majority of strokes.

"We were concerned that the procedure would cause damage in patients who had no problems," he said. "Not only did we not cause any damage that can be found, in most cases the patients improved substantially."

Of the 62 patients in the pilot study, 37 have survived more than a year and have undergone repeated cognitive tests. The patients continue to show improvements on the tests, most scoring even higher than their six-month, post-op scores.

"We have all had patients who came to us after undergoing these procedures and told us they feel better, they think better and that they are functioning better," said Alex Powell, medical director of interventional radiology at Baptist Cardiac and Vascular Institute in Miami.

"I had one patient who was having difficulty because he kept falling. Falls are not really associated with carotid artery narrowing, but after we performed the stenting procedure, his falls stopped and his cognitive functioning increased," Powell told UPI. "I really believe there is something to this." Powell said a multi-center trial to test the theory that carotid artery stenting improves function is warranted.

Raabe suggested that it is possible that our definition of what is a symptomatic carotid artery blockage -- usually seen as a stroke, a transient ischemic attack or mini-stroke -- may not be a complete definition. "I think that asymptomatic patients who have been forgetful or seem confused or have trouble with memory problems may actually be showing symptoms of carotid artery narrowing," he said. "And these individuals should be treated."

Powell said, "We often treat people who have trouble walking by increasing blood supply to the legs, and we treat people with chest pain by increasing blood supply to the heart. Perhaps we can treat people with confusion and memory loss by increasing blood supply to the brain."

There are two ways to remove carotid artery blockages. One procedure involves open surgery in which an incision is made in the neck and the carotid artery and the plaque formations are mechanically removed during the procedure. The patient's wounds are then closed.

In the stenting procedure, doctors make a small incision in the groin to gain access to the arterial system. They advance a catheter under X-ray guidance through the blood vessels and reach the blockage.

Then an umbrella-like filter is deployed upstream of the blood vessel to catch any possible tiny particle caused during the rest of the procedure to prevent that debris from causing stroke in the brain.

A balloon at the tip of the catheter is inflated, crushing the plaque to the sides of the wall of the artery. The balloon is deflated and withdrawn and the same catheter is used to deploy the stent, which props open the artery. The catheter is withdrawn and the incisions are sutured.

Hospital stays and time to return to regular activities are reduced with the catheter based treatment, Raabe said.

Raabe reported preliminary results in April 2006 at the Society of Interventional Radiology in Toronto.

Source: United Press International

Related Links
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here

Global Warming Could Lead To Millions Of Climate Refugees
Paris (AFP) Feb 01, 2007
A decade or so ago, greens coined the term "climate refugees" to describe the future victims of global warming. Today, experts say such refugees may already number in the millions and could reach 200 million by century's end, stoking tensions and potential for conflict.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • New Orleans Coroner Finds No Sign Of Homicide In Katrina Mercy Killing Case
  • Floods! Fire! SERVIR
  • China Firms Say Quake-Hit Telecom Lines Repaired
  • Repairs To Quake-Hit Asia Internet Cables Delayed Again

  • US Thinktank Offering Cash Payments To Dispute Climate Panel
  • Scientists Hammer Out Key Climate Report Due Friday
  • UBS Stresses Climate Change As Investment Criteria
  • Global Warming Rise Of Over 4C If Atmospheric Carbon Doubles

  • First Thai Observation Satellite To Be Orbited In October
  • Space Technology Can Help Ailing Agri Sector: Kasturirangan
  • Russia's Putin, India Call For 'Weapons Free' Space
  • New Sensor To Be A Boon To Astronomers

  • BP Gives Green Fuel Research 500 Mln Dlrs
  • Top Multinationals Pledge To Cut Carbon Pollution
  • Its Lights Out For Edison In California
  • Self-Imposed Tax For Guilt-Ridden Polluters

  • Study Uncovers A Lethal Secret Of 1918 Influenza Virus
  • Scientists Reveal A Virus' Secret Weapon
  • World's Response To Children With Aids 'Tragically Insufficient'
  • UN Body Says EU Ban On Wild Bird Imports Won't Help Stop Bird Flu

  • Investigating The Invisible Life In Our Environment
  • Return Of Wolves To Britain Would Be Howling Success
  • Storage Of Greenhouse Gasses In Siberian Peat Moor
  • Huddling And A Drop In Metabolism Allow Penguins To Survive The South Pole Cold

  • Hong Kong Smog Hits Danger Levels
  • NASA Probes Sources Of The Tiniest Pollutants
  • Kathmandu Today Little More Than A Garbage Dump And Open Sewer
  • Record Fine For China Factory Over Infamous Songhua Spill

  • Stenting Improves Thinking
  • Global Warming Could Lead To Millions Of Climate Refugees
  • Mechanism Of Hallucinogens Effects Discovered
  • Genes And Job Discrimination

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement