Strokes can be caused by blood clots in blood vessels of the brain. At a recent meeting of 29th International Stroke Conference of the American Heart Association's two studies were presented using Cooling Helmets in patients who had developed stroke. Interestingly both study show that cooling of the brain reduces the damage caused by stroke.
Vinay Nadkarni, M.D., from the American Heart Association's emergency cardiovascular care committee said, "Building upon space-age technology, this novel technique is a good example of how bright scientists and innovative industry technologists can collaborate to speed the delivery of emergency cardiovascular care interventions. This device, and others like it, may have wide applicability in the field."
Although the total number of patients in the two studies from Japan and NASA were only 23, the studies showed that patients who had cooling of the brain using the specially designed helmets had a better outcome and recovery in the long run after ischemic stroke. The temperature of the brain came down on surface cooling by Atleast 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit. It has also been noticed that the brain tends to function better in a cooler environment whereas organs like heart function better at normal body temperature. This type of cooling did not require anesthesia.
Limited cooling using this novel technique is improvement over previous attempts to cool the brain involved cooling the entire body. Cooling of the body causing hypothermia has problems like infections, arrhythmias, low potassium levels, and decreased platelet counts.