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Adding blood test to routine check-ups could reduce risk of a second stroke

The deadliest form of stroke, known as intracerebral haemorrhage, accounts to 50 % of all the cases worldwide. While scientists have been researching its causes and basically know the entire mechanism, preventive measures have been lacking. However, now scientists from the University of Edinburgh have discovered a way how two tests could identify people most at risk of developing intracerebral haemorrhage.

Intracerebral haemorrhage is the deadliest and the most common type of stroke. Image credit: Lazarus Karamadoukis, Linmarie Ludeman and Anthony J Williams via Wikimedia(CC BY 2.0)

Intracerebral haemorrhage accounts to about half of all the strokes worldwide. Approximately half of those affected die within one year. People, who suffered from this type of stroke, do get routine chek-ups, which usually involve a computed tomography. However, now scientists say that simple blood tests, added to the existing CT scan, could help identify those most at risk from a second stroke, because it would provide needed genetic information. This newly described method can accurately detect a condition known as cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA), which is a common cause for intracerebral haemorrhage and, often, following strokes and dementia.

The basic principle of these tests lies in the causes of cerebral amyloid angiopathy. Scientists say that this condition is caused by a build-up of a protein known as amyloid in the walls of blood vessels in the brain. Reasons could be genetic, which is why scientists turned their eyes to APOE gene, which is linked to CAA. When doctors perform tests on the intracerebral haemorrhage patient, they can quickly asses if the stroke was caused by CAA. Scientists made this finding by analysing CT scans and blood tests of a 100 people, who died after intracerebral haemorrhage diagnosis. Authors of the study say that eventually this information could help adjusting care of intracerebral haemorrhage patients, because specialists would know the risk of developing dementia or getting another stroke.

CT scans and blood tests are available worldwide. This means that diagnostics of intracerebral haemorrhage could be improved in virtually all places, including the developing world nations. Patient care could be adjusted accordingly, reducing the health risks after the stroke. Dr Shamim Quadir, Research Communications Manager, the Stroke Association, said: “An intracerebral haemorrhage or bleed in the brain can be devastating.  This important study suggests a new way to identify what contributed to someone having an intracerebral haemorrhage. It may help doctors better understand which patients are at most risk of further stroke and plan patient care”.

People after intracerebral haemorrhage often suffer further health consequences. Their families find themselves in bad situations as well, baring huge psychological load. Hopefully, these finding can change the diagnostics and care for the better.

 

Source: University of Edinburgh

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