Every year, nearly 800,000 people in the U.S. suffer a stroke. It's the country's third-leading cause of death, and a primary cause of severe, long-term disability—the damage it does to the brain is largely irreparable. But a study published online yesterday in the journal Nature describes how a drug helped repair the brains of mice to a degree that was previously impossible.
In a comparison of stroke rehabilitation in 4 European countries, Lisbet De Wit and colleagues discovered that gross motor and functional recovery were better in the German and Swiss centers compared with the UK center, but Personal self-care recovery was better in the UK compared with the German center. Previous studies in the same centers indicated that German and Swiss patients received more therapy per day. This was not the result of more staff, but of a more efficient use of human resources. This study indicates potential for improving rehabilitation outcomes in the UK and Belgian centers, Motor and Functional Recovery After Stroke(Stroke. 2007; 38:2101-2107).