Fish oil helps limit brain damage after stroke

Tuesday 9th November, 2010

New research has shown that administering a fish oil component to patients who have suffered a stroke helps protect brain tissue and aids recovery.

Researchers at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Centre found that anti-inflammatory compounds and omega-3 essentially fatty acids in fish oil can limit or prevent brain damage after acute ischemic stroke, even when given to patients five hours after the event.

Ischemic stroke occurs due to loss of blood flow to the brain, typically from a clot or atherosclerosis – a vascular disease that causes artery walls to thicken as a result of fatty materials such as cholesterol.

The component of fish oil, known as Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), provides protection to delicate brain tissue and helps reduce swelling. After a stroke, these effects restore neurological function at the damage site of the brain limiting, and in some cases preventing, brain damage.

“We are just now beginning to understand the significant impact of omega-3 essential fatty acids on stroke,” notes lead researcher Dr. Nicolas Bazan.

“There is no simple solution just yet, but each new discovery brings us closer to defeating stroke and other debilitating neurodegenerative diseases.”

Stroke is the second leading cause of death among over 60s and the leading cause of long-term disability. The World Health Organisation estimates 15 million people worldwide suffer a stroke each year with six million dying from it.



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