In the study, Inosine was shown to stimulate nerve cells in undamaged parts of the brain to grow new connections into brain areas that had lost their normal connections as a result of a stroke; this "rewiring" partially compensated for the loss of the original connections, and resulted in significant improvement in several types of behavior compared to rats that did not receive Inosine.
"These findings are of both scientific and clinical interest," said Larry Benowitz, the Principal Investigator on the study. Dr. Benowitz is the head of the laboratory at Children's Hospital where much of the work was carried out, and an Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. "The study shows that Inosine induces a great deal of rewiring in the brain after stroke. This rewiring is apparently sufficient to promote substantial functional recovery. In terms of clinical implications, Inosine, which appears to have no apparent side effects in animals thus far, has potential as a novel nerve regeneration approach to treatment of stroke and other types of brain injuries."
It is estimated that 750,000 people suffer first or recurrent strokes every year in the U.S. Stroke occurs when the brain is deprived of its blood supply either by a blood clot blocking a blood vessel (ischemic stroke) or a blood vessel rupturing in the brain, leaking blood and damaging tissue (hemorrhagic stroke). The third leading cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease and cancer, stroke claims the lives of 160,000 Americans each year and costs $30 billion in medical and rehabilitation expenses and lost productivity. More than half a millio
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