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Cholesterol Drugs May Improve Blood Flow After Stroke

Posted Apr 26 2011 11:59am

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found evidence that statins, which are drugs used to lower cholesterol, may help restore blood flow after a stroke. In the MRI on the right, areas where blood flow have been restored hours after treatment are outlined in white.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins may help clot-busting drugs treat strokes, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The research involved 31 patients with ischemic stroke, a disorder when a clot blocks blood flow to part of the brain. In 12 patients who were already taking statins to control their cholesterol, blood flow returned to the blocked areas of the brain more completely and quickly.

“We’ve known that patients on statins have better stroke outcomes, but the data in this study suggest a new reason why: Statins may help improve blood flow to brain regions at risk of dying during ischemic stroke,” says senior author Jin-Moo Lee, MD, PhD, director of the cerebrovascular disease section in the Department of Neurology. “If that turns out to be the case, we may want to consider adding statins to the clot-busting drugs we normally give to acute stroke patients.”

The results appear online in the journal Stroke.

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