Cutting Down on Stroke Damage

Mouse study finds creatine may decrease brain cell death

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WEDNESDAY, June 30, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- The athletic performance supplement creatine reduced the risk of stroke-related brain injury in mice.

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston report their finding in the June 30 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

The results suggest creatine may help prevent stroke-related brain damage in humans.

The researchers found mice that were given creatine for a month before a stroke experienced less brain cell death than mice that didn't receive creatine. Brain cell death caused by stroke contributes to the impaired brain function suffered by many people who survive strokes.

Previous studies found creatine provides brain protection in test tube models of Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, ALS and traumatic brain injury. But this is the first study outside of a test tube to demonstrate the protective effects of creatine.

"The effects of stroke are often debilitating and can lead to paralysis and other forms of disability that significantly impact a positive quality of life," study author Dr. Robert M. Friedlander, an associate professor of neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School in Boston, said in a prepared statement.

"The results of this study provide evidence that creatine may be used in a prophylactic fashion for patients at risk for stroke, in a similar manner as aspirin is used in the same target population," Friedlander said.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about the effects of stroke.

SOURCE: Brigham and Women's Hospital, news release, June 30, 2004

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