The brain can grow new blood vessels after a minor stroke, which helps to restore blood flow in the damaged area. The brain tries to heal itself after a stroke. We know that people gradually recover lost functions - like speech and movement in many cases. Now a study in laboratory rats reveals that the blood supply of the brain can respond to stroke damage.
Researchers at the Harvard University School of Medicine in the US simulated a minor stroke in a group of rats, by constricting the blood vessels in their brains. When the brain tissue was examined later, it showed that a number of new blood vessels - called collateral vessels had grown. These were longer and wider than blood vessels located away from the damaged area.
They took over the blood supply function of the blocked vessel that had caused the stroke. This research may provide new ways of limiting the damage to the brain in human stroke, by harnessing the brain's own self-healing power.