Doctors who performed a small study on stroke patients conclude that placing stents in carotid arteries to prevent strokes, can improve cognitive abilities.
The study was conducted at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Washington by lead researcher Dr. Rodney Raabe.
The study involved 37 stroke patients on whom the procedure was performed.
Out of these, 16 patients or 43 percent, reported an improvement in reasoning, memory and judgment.
This was followed up at 6 months and 12 months after the procedure and the results remained the same.
Says Raabe, "Many patients have returned to a level of function they thought they had lost."
The carotid arteries are located on either side of the neck and they carry blood to the brain. One out of every 3 patients suffers strokes due to blocked carotid arteries.
The treatment is usually surgery to unclog the arteries. Of late, placing carotid stents is popular, the procedure being less invasive and offering lesser risks to patients.
Doctors first inflate a balloon against the walls of the artery to push the fat deposits away and then place a springy stent to provide a brace for the artery. A tiny mesh across the stent prevents any flowing fat particles from entering the artery.
At present the risk for patients who undergoes surgery or placement of stents for strokes is 4 to 10 percent.
It is this risk, which holds back doctors from performing this procedure to improve cognitive abilities alone.
Nevertheless, the study throws light on a new path of treatment for improving brain function.