American scientists have found human blood biomarkers that will help doctors not miss a micro stroke. The results of the study have been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Researchers from Case Western Reserve University have been working for several years to identify biomarkers that can be used to determine damage to brain tissue by simple blood analysis.
The symptoms of a serious stroke are usually obvious – impaired facial expressions, slurred speech, weakness in the extremities. And many small strokes often go unnoticed until they are detected by extended clinical tests such as an MRI or CT scan.
“You would think that the manifestations of stroke are known, and this is true for severe cases. But most petty strokes are in fact insignificant in terms of initial symptoms,” said the university’s head of research, Grant O’Connell, associate professor and director of the Biomarkers and Basic Sciences Laboratory at the University’s Nursing School, in a press release. – Many people just think they have severe migraines, so they don’t go to the hospital.
But the treatment of any stroke, including minor strokes, is very time-dependent. Therefore, according to O’Connell, it is important for health professionals to recognize the symptoms of micro strokes.
“Ambulance doctors do not have CT scanners or MRIs, they do not exist even in the emergency departments of some small hospitals, – continues the scientist. – Because of this, up to a third of strokes are missed on the first contact with the patient, delaying treatment that could have prevented death or disability.
According to the authors, the discovery of blood biomarkers associated with strokes will help avoid such delays.
The idea of finding biomarkers of brain damage in the blood is not new. For a long time, neurodiagnostic specialists have been identifying proteins that are expressed in brain damage. But it turned out that these data are outdated.
We started to realize that the proteins we are studying as candidates for biomarkers were identified about 20-40 years ago,” O’Connell explains. – Many of these proteins are not as specific to the brain as we thought they would be. Now we already know that they are also expressed in other organs, not just in the brain. So you will think that you have a brain injury and you don’t have it.
The researchers used a specially developed algorithm to evaluate expression patterns to study genes in thousands of samples of brain tissue and other organs. This allowed them to identify proteins that serve as specific biomarkers of neurological damage. In total, the scientists identified about 50 new markers, which were then successfully detected in the blood of stroke patients.
The authors hope that their discovery will be the first step towards creating convenient clinical tests for micro stroke detection.