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New hope for stroke and brain-injury victims.

NEW HOPE FOR STROKE AND BRAIN-INJURY VICTIMS

The transmission of electrical impulses in the brain can be impaired either by damage to blood vessels that supply the nerve cells or by direct damage from injury or disease to the nerve pathways themselves. Restoration of blood flow or of transmission of nerve signals does not always result in restoration of function, however, because brain cells may continue to die due to damage from oxygen-free radicals, substances the body produces in response to trauma. No one knows why these substances are produced, but much research is being devoted to developing drugs that will limit the damage they cause to brain cells following brain injury as a result of external trauma or disease.

Upjohn Co. of Kalamazoo, Michigan, is testing a class of drugs it calls "lazaroids," named after Lazarus, the man raised from the dead in the Biblical story. By blocking the action of free radicals, these drugs have already shown promise in restoring muscle function in laboratory animals after nerves are severed, and it is hoped they will eventually prove useful in treating brain-damaged stroke and accident victims, as well as slowing the brain cell damage that occurs in patients with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.
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Title Annotation:Upjohn Co. testing "lazaroids"
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Dec 1, 1989
Words:204
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