Healing from strokes?

Mickey Goldberg meg at lsr.nei.nih.gov
Tue Jan 10 19:05:29 EST 1995

Mallory Leslie McClure (mlm2s at galen.med.Virginia.EDU) wrote:
: How is it possible to have a patient have a stroke ( resulting in
: fluent aphasia) and show no deficits two months after the
: stroke?  

A great question: three possiblities at least, although nothing
is known well.
1. Dysfunction resulted from edema rather than cell death.
2. Other parts of the brain take over the function of this part.
3. Some regrowth via sprouting of inputs to current area.

:I thought that patients always had some residual
: damage following a stroke. 
They probably do, but the damage may be so subtle as to
be inapparent by ordinarily bedside testing.

:What role does the age of the
:patient play in the outcome?

Lots.  YOung brains recover by shifting functions. In a study 
a long time ago Woods and Teuber showed that all children under the
age of two who have strokes in the left hemisphere develop normal
language, but some of them lose some mathematical/ spatial skills,
implying that the left hemisphere function was being taken over 
by the right hemisphere at some cost to speech.

		M. E. Goldberg, M.D.
		National Eye Institute

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