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Neurology

Iron Raises Stroke Damage Risk

21 years, 4 months ago

8476  0
Posted on Oct 10, 2002, 7 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Neurologists at the Hospital Universitari Doctor Josep Trueta in Girona, Spain find that stroke victims may be at a higher risk for brain damage if they have high levels of iron in their blood. Of 100 stroke patients, 45 had high levels of iron in their spinal fluid within 24 hours of when the stroke onset.

Neurologists at the Hospital Universitari Doctor Josep Trueta in Girona, Spain find that stroke victims may be at a higher risk for brain damage if they have high levels of iron in their blood. Of 100 stroke patients, 45 had high levels of iron in their spinal fluid within 24 hours of when the stroke onset. Researchers suspect that high levels of iron stored in the body prior to a stroke may increase the production of free radicals. Researchers suggest these high iron levels could lead to an increase in brain damage during a stroke, including decreased levels of consciousness, increased weakness, more speech and orientation difficulties, and perhaps larger areas of the brain that are damaged. Too much iron may also enhance the release of a chemical found in the body called glutamate. Brain cells already release glutamate as a result of stroke, so excessive iron levels may promote this process and make it even more damaging. Researchers say 60 percent of the 45 patients with high iron levels also showed high glutamate levels. Researchers recommend testing the iron levels in people who are at risk for stroke. For these people, they say, a diet lower in iron may be recommended.

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