When a stroke occurs, it becomes vital that the patient is diagnosed and treated quickly. This is essential as strokes occur when the blood supply to the brain is cut off. Strokes may be caused by a blood clot that blocks the blood vessels or when a vessel in the brain ruptures.
Because blood supply is cut off every minute counts, as the longer the brain goes without oxygen supplied by the blood, the higher the risk of damaging the brain because our brain cells die without the oxygen supply.
In the event of a stroke, the window of opportunity for treating patients is 3 hours. This includes time to get to the emergency room, have a doctor diagnose it and implement the treatment.
Faster Tests to Diagnose Stroke
Researchers at Cornell University’s Baker Institute for Animal Health have found a more expedient way that will save time off the current procedure in diagnosing stroke.
Their new technology offers the ability to diagnose a stroke in 10 minutes. Even better, all you need is a drop of blood. The device measures certain biomarkers that are known to be present when stroke occurs.
This allows the test to be performed on the patient by drawing a drop of blood, instead of the current diagnostic procedure of doctors looking for symptoms, CT scans, ultrasounds or other techniques.
Finding the Biomarkers
Part of the process was discovering which biomarkers to target. For this the team used enzymes attached to nanoparticles, and pushed them into humans’ and animals’ bloodstreams.
The goal was to find neuron-specific enolase (NSE). NSEs are biomarkers that are present during specific conditions including cancers as well as brain injuries.
The enzymes light up upon detection which allowed the scientists to know where the NSE was and how much of it was there.
The research is still in its early stages, and will need to go through clinical trials, before it will be made available for use in hospitals, should it pass the trials.
Help in Accurately & Quickly Diagnosing Stroke
If successful in trials, the technique offers a fast, accurate means of definitively diagnosing a stroke. This will reduce time and save lives considering that strokes kill nearly 130,000 individuals in the U.S. alone. More so, around 800,000 people suffer from a stroke each year in the U.S.
The quicker diagnosis will increase the chances of anyone who suffers a stroke for full recovery with little to no speech deficits or physical effects from it.