MAR 03, 2016 10:18 AM PST

Blood Test Predicts Risks for Recurrent Strokes

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham
Increased levels of a blood protein may make a person not only more susceptible to strokes, but could also send the person right back in the hospital with a second brain stroke. In a new study, researchers found a way to leverage knowledge about this protein in a blood test that could inform doctors and patients the risks of recurrent strokes. The results were published in Neurology journal. 
 
 
Image credit: Pixabay.com
 
Strokes, also known as cerebrovascular accidents or brain attacks, occur when cells in the brain die due to insufficient blood flow (ischemia) or bleeding within the brain tissue (hemorrhagic). Every year, nearly 800,000 people in the United States suffer a stroke, and of that over 80% are in the ischemic type. Strokes kill about 130,000 Americans every year.

"The biggest risk of death for someone who has already had a stroke is to have another one," said University of Virginia School of Medicine researcher Stephen Williams, PhD. "So it's really important to be able to try and target those individuals who are at the highest risk for the thing that very well may kill them."

As with many health conditions, genetics play a big role in risk for strokes. Researchers at the University of Virginia found that high levels of a blood-based biomarker, C-Reactive Protein (CRP), actually influences this risk and the risk for recurrent strokes.

CRP is an inflammatory protein made in the liver, and has been linked to other health conditions like coronary artery disease. High levels of CRP cause arterial plaques to be unstable and break off, causing blockages like that in ischemic strokes.

The UVA researchers also found that certain genetic variants are involved in CRP levels and stroke risks. "There's this shared genetic susceptibility not only for increased C-Reactive Protein but for increased risk for stroke. We could estimate what's called a hazard ratio - basically the increased risk for having or not having a second stroke - based on the genetics,” said Williams.

A blood draw, then, could let doctors know the CRP levels as well as the person’s genetic profile related to stroke predisposition. This information could allow doctors to monitor high-risk patients and intervene early enough to treat, and possibly even prevent, second strokes. Best of all, researchers say the tool for applying this diagnostic test is already in place.

 "Getting a CRP measure on someone is really simple. It's just a blood draw. You don't have to take something like a biopsy which patients might have an aversion to," Williams said. "It's not very expensive, and it's part of routine workups that could be done for patients. However, combined with genetic information, we may have even more power to identify those at greatest risk."

Additional source: MNT
About the Author
I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
JAN 20, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
Nanoparticles Put To the Test: No Glow, No-Go
JAN 20, 2022
Nanoparticles Put To the Test: No Glow, No-Go
  Nanoparticles—tiny spheres carrying a biologically-active cargo—have the potential to transform how w ...
MAR 08, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
Using a Smartphone to Test Blood
MAR 08, 2022
Using a Smartphone to Test Blood
Warfarin is an anti-coagulant prescribed to people with various heart conditions and those who have experienced or ...
MAR 15, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
Can an Eye Scan Help with Early Detection of Alzheimer's Disease?
MAR 15, 2022
Can an Eye Scan Help with Early Detection of Alzheimer's Disease?
According to Alzheimer's Association, one in nine people over 65 are currently living with Alzheimer's dise ...
MAR 31, 2022
Cardiology
Light Exposure While Sleeping is Linked to Cardiovascular Issues
MAR 31, 2022
Light Exposure While Sleeping is Linked to Cardiovascular Issues
Even moderate light at night can impact health and sleep quality.
MAY 15, 2022
Microbiology
A Virus Was Used to Cure an Antibiotic-Resistant Lung Infection
MAY 15, 2022
A Virus Was Used to Cure an Antibiotic-Resistant Lung Infection
In a clinical first, reported in Cell, researchers used viruses that infect bacteria, called bacteriophages or phages fo ...
MAY 21, 2022
Coronavirus
A Review of Covid-Era Data Reveals Changes in Childbirth Practices
MAY 21, 2022
A Review of Covid-Era Data Reveals Changes in Childbirth Practices
A recent study in the journal Pediatrics has revealed that fewer prenatal visits to the doctor in the first month of the ...
Loading Comments...