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Omega-3 Fatty Acids Could Aid Faster Stroke Recovery | Stroke Foundation

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Could Aid Faster Stroke Recovery

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Has Shown To Reduce Brain Damage By 50%

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Has Shown To Reduce Brain Damage By 50%

A new study finds that triglyceride lipid emulsions rich in an omega-3 injected within a couple hours of an ischemic stroke can decrease brain tissue damage by 50% within mice.

The results which were carried out by the Columbia University Medical Center suggest that the emulsions may be able to reduce some of the behavioural and long term neurological problems in human survivors of neonatal stroke and also a possibility of adult stroke.

tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) is currently the only treatment shown to improve recovery from an ischemic stroke. If administered as soon as possible post stroke, the clot busting drug can restore blood flow to the brain but may not prevent damaged neurons from dying.

Studies are trying to find drugs with neuroprotective qualities that can prevent brain cell damage post stroke. After 30 years of research, there has been no neuroprotective breakthrough that has been found effective in humans.

Potentially omega-3 fatty acids may be better neuroprotectants as they affect many biochemical processes in the brain that are changed from a stroke.

Omega-3 fatty acids increase the natural neuroprotectants in the brain which reduces inflammation and cell death and also activates genes that could protect brain cells along with reduce the release of harmful oxidants into the brain after a stroke.

The study revealed that a emulsion which contained only DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), in a triglyceride molecule reduced the area of dead brain tissue by around 50%, even when administered up to two hours post stroke.

A lot of the saved brain tissue from the mice was still healthy with no toxic effects detected after eight weeks post stroke. As mice have a faster metabolism than humans, a longer time for therapeutic effect are likely within people.

Studies are currently in process to test mice with different stroke types along with older mice. The researchers are also carrying out further research to see how omega-3 fatty acids work and to improve the emulsion in order to have a improved recovery after a stroke.

If the studies continue to show promising results, clinical trials could soon start. Similar emulsions are used in Intensive Care Units around Europe for nutritional support. Also in USA they have been found to be safe when tested in babies for their anti-inflammatory and nutritional effects.