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Cool Head Reduces Stroke Injury

Heart attacks and strokes are major problems in most countries. In the United States they kill about 12 million people every year (7 million due to heart disease and 6 million to strokes). In addition, 4 million people die annually from hypertensive and other heart conditions. Most strokes occur when clots travel to the brain and block blood flow, depriving the brain of oxygen. In the more rare hemorrhagic type of stroke, vessels in the brain burst and bleed.

A new form of stroke technology invokes the curing power of cold, a concept familiar to doctors and Rescue 911 viewers. Children often survive near-drowning in freezing water because the cold temperatures essentially put their brains on "pause," giving them time before severe damage from oxygen starvation begins. Through a heat-exchange system, tubes in specially designed helmets bring cool liquid to the head and draw out heat.

How do you know if you are having a stroke? Here are some of the symptoms:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

However, the key to strokes is not treatment but prevention. So if you are taking appropriate amounts of omega-3 and following a healthy food plan you will be far less likely to have a stroke in the first place.

Wired February 10, 2004

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