University breakthrough could help stroke patients

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A BREAKTHROUGH by Edinburgh University on how the brain copes when starved of blood could help the treatment of stroke patients.

Researchers found a function that enables the brain to keep working even if oxygen and glucose levels have been cut because of a lack of blood.

They said this may provide insight into treatment for stroke patients, whose brain undergoes a similar trauma.

Scientists discovered a protein named AMPK, which triggers the brain to go into a protective mode, saving energy by operating slower and preventing key elements shutting down.

Edinburgh University worked closely with Dundee and Leeds universities.

Principal investigator Mark Evans, professor of cellular pharmacology at Edinburgh, said: “Our findings suggest that if brain cells run short of energy, they start to work more slowly – but it is better to work slowly than not at all.”