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CT scans can identify cause of some strokes

Multidetector computed tomography (CT) helps pinpoint the causes of ischemic strokes, the most common type of stroke.

An ischemic stroke occurs when blockage in an artery, often from a blood clot or a fatty deposit due to atherosclerosis, interrupts blood flow to an area of the brain.

Loic Boussel and colleagues analysed the potential of multidetector CT — they compared a single-session multidetector CT examination of the heart, neck and brain vessels with established imaging methods in 46 patients who had recently experienced an ischemic stroke.

Multidetector CT detected cardiac sources of stroke in 18 of 25 cases, for a sensitivity of 72 per cent. The technique’s sensitivity increased to 100 per cent for detection of major arterial atherosclerosis. “Moreover, because it is quick, the exam is well tolerated, which is critical in acute stroke patients who may be unstable and agitated,” Boussel said.

The CT protocol has two main limitations — it exposes the patient to a significant radiation dose and requires two intravenous contrast material injections to study the chest and neck areas.

Boussel said that advances in CT equipment technology could help reduce the radiation dose and the total amount of iodinated contrast material required. He said that advances in CT equipment technology could help reduce the radiation dose and the total amount of iodinated contrast material required.

High blood pressure causes learning disabilities in kids

A study by University of Rochester Medical Centre (URMC) has indicated that children who have hypertension are much more likely to have learning disabilities than children with normal blood pressure.

In fact, when variables such as socio-economic levels are evened out, children with hypertension were four times more likely to have cognitive problems.

“This study also found that children with hypertension are more likely to have ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder),” said Heather R Adams, URMC. “Although retrospective, this work adds to the growing evidence of an association between hypertension and cognitive function. With four per cent of children now estimated to have hypertension, the need to understand this potential connection is incredibly important.”
Among the 201 patients, all of whom had been referred to a pediatric hypertension clinic at URMC’s Golisano Children’s Hospital, 101 actually had hypertension, or sustained high blood pressure, determined by 24-hour ambulatory monitoring or monitoring by a school nurse or at home. Overall, 18 per cent of the children had learning disabilities, well above the general population’s rate of 5 per cent.

Brain bleeding common among older individuals

Brain bleeding is a common occurrence among older individuals, according to a UC Irvine study.

“In this study, deep regions of the brain were closely examined under a microscope, and nearly all subjects had evidence of small areas of bleeding,” said Neurologist Dr Mark Fisher.

Fisher, Kim and colleagues at Harbour-UCLA Medical Centre studied postmortem brain specimens from 33 individuals, ranging in age from 71 to 105, with no history of stroke.
Cerebral microbleeds were identified in 22 cases — all occurring in capillaries, the small blood vessels of the brain.

“Drugs that interfere with platelets and blood clotting, such as aspirin, are known to be associated with microbleeds seen in brain imaging studies,” Fisher said.

The areas of bleeding found in the study were very small and certainly not life-threatening, Fisher said.

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