Science highlights of AAN Annual Meeting in Honolulu March 29 April 5

MRI scans show "silent strokes" and loss of brain volume.

Homocysteine can be reduced by certain vitamins. Whether vitamin therapy can reduce the risk for a second stroke was addressed by a large consortium led by researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. They found that while high doses of vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid could reduce homocysteine consistently, stroke risk was not reduced compared to low-dose vitamins, which had no effect on homocysteine concentrations. These results suggest either that more dramatic homocysteine reductions are needed, or that other strategies must be used to reduce the risk of a second stroke.

Sleep apnea, or breathing difficulty, affects half of all stroke victims. Researchers from Zurich showed that stroke patients with sleep apnea have a greater risk of worsening of the effects of their stroke, suggesting that treatment of sleep apnea in these patients may be beneficial.

Finally, researchers at the University of Chicago and Arizona State University compared brain activation of amateur and professional golfers as they visualized performing their swing. Much smaller areas of the brain were activated by the highly trained professionals, and some structures active in the amateurs were entirely silent in the professionals. Not only do these results shed light on the neurological effects of training, they also indicate that post-stroke movement rehabilitation should be tailored to an individuals previous level of training and expertise in a particular movement.


Contact: Marilee Reu
American Academy of Neurology

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