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Study: Clot-busting drug improves survival from deadliest strokes

Dr. Issam Awad. University of Chicago

The clot-busting drug used after heart attacks and non-bleeding strokes also could be the first effective treatment to reduce the number of deaths from an often-deadly form of bleeding stroke, researchers from the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins University have found.

“Hemorrhage in the brain used to be an essentially untreatable condition,” says Dr. Issam Awad, a U. of C. surgery professor who helped lead a clinical trial of the drug alteplase, commonly known as tPA. “But we now have hope with a therapy that may be effective at saving lives.”

Results of the five-year study were presented at the International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles. It looked at 500 people around the world who suffered one of the worst types of hemorrhagic strokes, which are caused by ruptured blood vessels that leak in the brain.

Hemorrhagic strokes account for just 15 percent of all strokes but about 40 percent of stroke deaths. Even those who survive can be left disabled, with severe brain damage.

The researchers found that quickly getting tPA into the ventricle of the brain through a brain catheter cut mortality by 10 percent and nearly doubled the chances that patients with “high-volume bleeds” would recover good function.

“For many patients, this approach can significantly reduce disability after a stroke and can be the difference between going home instead of going to a nursing home,” Awad says.

New Northwestern institute to focus on improving LGBT health

Northwestern University has opened what it calls the first university-wide research institute in the United States focused exclusively on improving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health.

The Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing “represents Northwestern and Feinberg’s commitment to support breakthrough research that improves the lives of LGBT people everywhere,” says Dr. Eric G. Neilson, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “We want to be a leader in reducing health inequalities in LGBT communities.”