Stroke :: Stroke treatment improves brain functions

Nearly half of patients showed statistically significant improvement in brain function, such as memory, judgement and reasoning after undergoing carotid angioplasty and stenting, a minimally invasive treatment to prevent stroke.

Those are the findings of a groundbreaking study being presented at the International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy (ISET).

“Many patients have returned to a level of function they thought they had lost. That can mean being able to do things for themselves again, including driving to the store to buy milk and living at home independently,” said Rodney Raabe, M.D., chief of radiology at Sacred Heart Medical Center, Spokane, Wash. “As they get older, most people worry about stroke, but they also worry about becoming forgetful and losing their ability to think clearly.”

In the right patient, this treatment appears to be able to improve brain functions of memory and the ability to reason, both of which are important for independent living. In the study, researchers performed a two-hour battery of 11 standard neurocognitive tests commonly used to assess patients believed to have a dementing process, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Tests included functions such as having patients remember a list of words, think abstractly, repeat digits in sequential and reverse sequential order, generate lists based on cues, and complete puzzles of alternating sequences.

Studies show that both surgery and angioplasty with stenting can reduce the risk of stroke in asymptomatic patients by half.