Blood pressure drug helps delay ischemic brain damage in stroke patients

April 27, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO - A drug used to lower blood pressure can help stop or delay the progress of further ischemic brain lesions in stroke patients according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 56th Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Calif., April 24 - May 1, 2004.

For the study, researchers surveyed 226 people with prior cerebrovascular disease (stroke or TIA--transient ischemic attack). All study participants received either the ACE inhibitor perindopril (4mg daily) or placebo(s). All participants had a cerebral MRI at the beginning of the study and a follow-up MRI examination three years later to measure the presence and volume of incidental white matter lesions. The prevalence of white matter lesions increases with age, is strongly associated with hypertension, and has been shown to increase the risk of dementia, severe cognitive impairment, or gait disturbances.

"Overall, the volume of new white matter lesions in the patients who took the placebo was 5 times higher compared to those who received the blood pressure medication--and more than 7.5 times higher for those patients who had severe white matter lesions upon entry," said study co-author Carole Dufouil, PhD, researcher at unit 360 of INSERM (Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale) located at Hopital La Salpetriere, Paris, France. "Of those patients in the active treatment group who had severe white matter lesions upon entry, none experienced an increase in lesions. The results clearly indicate that a blood pressure lowering regimen in stroke patients stops or delays further ischemic brain damage."
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The study was funded by grants from Servier, the Health Research Council of New Zealand, and the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 18,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, autism and multiple sclerosis.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit its website at www.aan.com/press/.

Editor's Notes: Dr. Dufouil will present this research during a scientific session at 4:00 p.m. PT (7:00 p.m. ET), Tuesday, April 27, in room 306 of the Moscone Convention Center.

American Academy of Neurology

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