A brain aneurysm can be hard to detect. Known as an abnormal swelling in the wall of a brain artery that can rupture, brain aneurysms can press on nerves and reveal various symptoms, according to MedLine Plus. However, MedLine Plus states that “most brain aneurysms produce no symptoms until they become large, begin to leak blood or rupture.” If any of these occur, then a patient may be more susceptible to a stroke. In a new study, researchers from John Hopkins University have identified a chemical compound that reduces the risk of blood vessel spasms that can occur after an aneurysm bursts and can cause ischemic stroke, according to Medical XPress.
In the study, which is published in the October edition of Neurosurgery, the researchers worked with mice. The researchers found hints about the biological mechanisms that lead to the blood vessels in the brain constricting and reducing oxygen flow. When people survive aneurysms, there’s a 20 to 40 percent chance they may experience an ischemic stroke up to three weeks after the aneurysm ruptures.
The researchers drew blood from the leg arteries of the mice and injected it behind their necks to simulate a subarachnoid hemorrhage. The test mice were then given either a compound called carboxyphenylglycine (S-4-CPG), a placebo or nothing. The researchers observed that the mice that received S-4-CPG had less constriction of their blood vessels, appeared in a better condition and were more active than the other mice. According to a press release, the researchers say “S-4-CPG keeps glutamate ‘in check,’ prevents or reduces vasospasm and allows oxygen-filled blood to continue flowing into the brain.”
The press release further states that 40 to 50 people out of every 100,000 over the age of 30 experience subarachnoid hemorrhages caused by cerebral aneurysms that rupture. The researchers say that a drug that could prevent stroke after a subarachnoid hemorrhage could improve many patients’ lives. It could also save these people millions of dollars in health care costs.