Dr. Jeffrey L. Saver, a professor of neurology at the University of California who has been conducting three different lines of research on stroke has highlighted that more than 32,000 neurons (brain cells) die in just a second following an acute episode of stroke. In addition, nearly 14 billion synapses (connections between nerve cells) and myelinated fibres approximating to 7.5 miles are lost in just a single minute following the attack.
He has been conducting extensive research on brain imaging (helps quantify the size of a stroke), stroke treatment and quantitative neurostereology (a three-dimensional cell-counting technique that gives good evidence of the loss of brain circuitry) for the past several years.
The projected figures only highlight the need for immediate care that has to be instituted to the patient to prevent irreversible brain damage. A powerful clot-dissolving drug (to relieve clot in the blood vessel) called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) can effectively reduce long-term disability if given within three hours. Surgery and anti-coagulant medication represent the other forms of treatment.
In the absence of medical attention, it is estimated that a small proportion of the brain tissue about the size of a pea would die every 12 minutes. This period gives sufficient time for life saving interventional treatments to be offered to the patient. Following loss of blood supply to a small group of brain cells, the neighbouring cells also suffer a compromised blood flow.
The main motive behind the research is to highlight the importance of timely help to be offered to a stroke patient. Symptoms of stroke include sudden onset of weakness or numbness on one side of the body, sudden trouble seeing, inability to talk or interpret what people are saying, inability to walk or imbalance and severe headache.
It is very important to understand that the victim may not be able to communicate what he/she is feeling or rather experiencing. Therefore the ultimate responsibility of providing medical care lies on family members, friends or on-lookers who happen to witness an acute attack.
The next time you notice somebody on the road with the above-mentioned symptoms, don't just pass by. Call for emergency help or transport the victim to the nearest hospital. After all, it is a question of life and death situation. Remember, you don't have to do big things to be great. Even a very small help rendered to a stroke patient would mean a lot.