Oral Anticoagulants Still Underused in AFib Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anna Gundlund, MD, PhD

Herlev-Gentofte Hospital, Department of Cardiology
Denmark 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Atrial fibrillation increases a person’s risk of ischemic strokes up to 5-fold. Oral anticoagulation therapy lowers this risk effectively (>60%) and is therefore recommended for patients with atrial fibrillation and at least 1-2 other risk factors for stroke.

Our study show, that oral anticoagulation therapy is still underused in patients with atrial fibrillation – even after a stroke event. In stroke survivors with atrial fibrillation, oral anticoagulation therapy were associated with better outcomes than no oral anticoagulation therapy.  Continue reading

Benefits of Clopidogrel and Aspirin In Minor Stroke and High-Risk TIA

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. S. Claiborne "Clay" Johnston MD, PhD Dean Vice President for Medical Affairs Frank and Charmaine Denius Distinguished Dean’s Chair Dell Medical School The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Johnston

Dr. S. Claiborne “Clay” Johnston MD, PhD
Dean
Vice President for Medical Affairs
Frank and Charmaine Denius Distinguished Dean’s Chair
Dell Medical School
The University of Texas at Austin

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Prior studies have shown that the risk of a stroke or other ischemic events is high in the days to weeks after a TIA or minor stroke.

We sought to test whether blocking platelet aggregation more effectively with clopidogrel plus aspirin could reduce this risk compared to aspirin alone.  We found that the combination did reduce risk of major ischemic events.  It also showed a small increase in risk of major hemorrhage, but for most people the benefits would outweigh the potential risk.

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Stroke: Which Clot Buster Drug Works Best?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

A/Prof Bruce Campbell MBBS(Hons), BMedSc, PhD, FRACP

Dr. Campbell

A/Prof Bruce Campbell MBBS(Hons), BMedSc, PhD, FRACP
Consultant Neurologist, Head of Stroke
Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital
Principal Research Fellow,Melbourne Brain Centre @ RMH
Department of Medicine
University of Melbourne Australia 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Patients with stroke due to a large blood vessel in the brain receive a clot-dissolving medication followed by clot retrieval surgery performed via an angiogram. The standard clot dissolving medication “alteplase” rarely opens the artery prior to clot retrieval surgery. Tenecteplase is genetically modified form of alteplase that may be more effective and is widely available (it is the standard clot dissolving medication used for heart attacks). It can be given over 10 seconds instead of the 1 hour required to infuse alteplase, meaning that patients can be transferred between hospitals to receive treatment more easily. Tenecteplase is also less expensive than alteplase.

In EXTEND-IA TNK we found that tenecteplase doubles the number of patients who have blood flow restored to the brain earlier than is possible with clot retrieval surgery (22% vs 10%) and improves patient outcomes compared to the current standard medication called alteplase.

1 in 5 tenecteplase treated patients have blood flow rapidly restored and do not require clot retrieval surgery compared to 1 in 10 with alteplase.

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Is Sickle Cell Really a Risk Factor for Stroke?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with :

Dr. Hyacinth I Hyacinth MD Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorder Center, Emory Children’s Center, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine Atlanta, GA 30322

Dr. Hyacinth

Dr. Hyacinth I Hyacinth MD
Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorder Center, Emory Children’s Center, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
Atlanta, GA 30322

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

This study was conducted against the backdrop of a significantly higher risk for stroke among African Americans compared to non-Hispanic Whites, despite adjusting for traditional risk factors. Also, sickle cell disease is a well-known genetic risk factor for stroke and recent studies show that sickle cell trait is a risk factor for chronic kidney disease, venous thromboembolism and pulmonary embolism, all of which are potential risk factors for stroke.

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With Brain Microbleeds, Can Patients Tolerate Lower Blood Pressure?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Joshua Goldstein

Dr. Joshua Goldstein

Dr. Joshua Goldstein MD, PhD
J. Philip Kistler Stroke Research Center
Division of Neurocritical Care and Emergency Neurology, Department of Neurology MGH
Harvard Medical School, Boston Department of Emergency Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital
for the Antihypertensive Treatment of Acute Cerebral Hemorrhage 2 (ATACH-2) and the Neurological Emergencies Treatment Trials (NETT) Network Investigators  

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: It’s hard to know how aggressively to lower blood pressure in acute intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH).  Randomized controlled trials have been conflicting. We thought that we could use the presence of severe small vessel disease (SVD) – manifested by microbleeds seen on brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – to guide treatment decisions.  On the one hand, those with severe SVD may be most vulnerable to continued bleeding, and specifically need more intensive blood pressure lowering.  On the other hand, if they have impaired regulation of cerebral blood flow, they might be harmed by rapid drops in blood pressure, and maybe we have to be more careful with them.

To answer this, we performed a subgroup analysis of the multi-centre ATACH-2 clinical trial of intensive blood pressure lowering. This was the first study to assess the effect of randomized acute stroke treatment on patients with more severe SVD, manifested by microbleeds.  We found that no matter what your small vessel disease burden on MRI, you’ll respond the same to early blood pressure management.

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Migraine Linked To Increased Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Islam Elgendy MD Division of Cardiovascular Medicine University of Florida  

Dr. Elgendy

Islam Elgendy MD
Division of Cardiovascular Medicine
University of Florida  

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Migraine headache is a prevalent medical condition, often being chronic and debilitating to many. Previous studies have shown that migraine, particularly migraine with aura, is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events. Recently, a number of these studies have reported long-term follow up data. To better understand the long-term morbidity that is associated with migraines, we performed a systematic evaluation to study the link between migraine and risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events.

This study demonstrated that migraine is associated with an increased risk of major adverse cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events, which was driven by an increased long-term risk of myocardial infarction and stroke. This effect was predominantly observed in migraineurs who have aura.  Continue reading

Stroke: Mr Clean Study of Endovascular Treatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
J.H.L. Mulder, MD PhD
Neurology resident
Erasmus MC 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Current information about safety and efficacy of endovascular treatment (EVT) for acute ischemic stroke is primarily derived from patients treated in the setting of a randomized controlled trial. However, inherent to this setting, external validity of the results can be jeopardized by patient selection and intensive monitoring.

Therefore, an important question remained unanswered: could the positive effect of endovascular treatment be reproduced in standard clinical practice?  Continue reading

Optic Nerve Stroke: Bone Marrow Stem Cells Offer Hope of Vision Improvement

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Steven Levy MD

CEO, MD Stem Cells
Study Director, Stem Cell Treatment Studies

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: MD Stem Cells is the sponsor of the Stem Cell Ophthalmology Treatment Study II (SCOTS 2) the largest stem cell study currently addressing retinal and optic nerve disease (NCT 03011541). SCOTS uses autologous bone marrow derived stem cells (BMSC) typically provided to the eyes by combining retrobulbar, subtenons and intravenous injections. Many retinal and optic nerve diseases are eligible including Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), Stargardts, Ushers, Glaucoma, Ischemic Optic Neuropathy, Optic Atrophy and others. Statistically significant improvements have been documented in key diseases and positive responses have been noted across most conditions treated. Mechanisms of action may include differentiation of the CD34 cells into neurons, secretion of neurotrophic factors, transfer of mitochondria and release of mRNA. These may benefit existing stressed cells as well as provide replacement of damaged or absent cells.

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Arm Cycling Can Improve Walking After Stroke

MedicalResearch.com Interview with

Paul Zehr PhD Professor & Director Centre for Biomedical Research, Rehabilitation Neuroscience Laboratory, McKinnon Division of Medical Sciences Exercise Science, Physical & Health Education International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD)| Affiliate, Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, UBC

Dr. Zehr

E. Paul Zehr PhD
Professor & Director
Centre for Biomedical Research,
Rehabilitation Neuroscience Laboratory, McKinnon
Division of Medical Sciences
Exercise Science, Physical & Health Education
International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD)|
Affiliate, Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, UBC

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: For many years we explored the role of the spinal cord in regulating rhythmic arm and leg movements like we do during walking, running and swimming.  Although we humans tend to move and locomote around on our two legs as bipeds, we are basically quadrupeds in terms of how our nervous system controls our limbs during walking. We have an extensive network of brain and spinal cord connections that help coordinate our limbs while we move. A lot of our work showed that using the arms rhythmically, like during arm cycling, strongly affected the activity of the spinal cord controlling leg muscles. Getting the spinal cord for leg muscles more coordinated and activated is a major goal of rehabilitation  of walking after neurotrauma so we wanted to see if training the arms could help with this. This is particularly important because a lot of the time, the arms are not engaged at all in rehabilitation training for the legs.

We found that after only 5 weeks of arm cycling (3 x 30 minutes each week), neural excitability, strength, and leg function were increased along with enhanced clinical tests of balance and walking ability.

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Some Heart Attack Patients Without AFib Still at Increased Risk of Stroke

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Normal rhythm tracing (top) Atrial fibrillation (bottom) Wikipedia image

Normal rhythm tracing (top) Atrial fibrillation (bottom)
Wikipedia image

João Pedro Ferreira, MD, PhD &
Faiez Zannad, MD, PhD
National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM)Center for Clinical Multidisciplinary Research 1433INSERM U1116University of LorraineRegional University Hospital of NancyFrench Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (F-CRIN) Investigation Network Initiative–Cardiovascular and Renal Clinical Trialists, Nancy, France
Department of Physiology and Cardiothoracic SurgeryCardiovascular Research and Development UnitFaculty of MedicineUniversity of Porto, Porto, Portugal

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: It is uncertain whether patients with a myocardial infarction with systolic dysfunction but without atrial fibrillation have increased risk for stroke.

In this study including >22,000 patients and 600 stroke events we found a subgroup of patients at high risk for stroke despite not having atrial fibrillation. These patients are older, have worse renal function, frank signs of pulmonary congestion, hypertension and previous stroke history. We created a simple and “ready to use” score that allows the identification of these patients in routine clinical practice.  Continue reading