7 August 1998

Female Hormone Battles Brain Damage

New research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, looks at research conducted with rats by Patricia Hurn, Ph. D., associate professor of Anesthesiology at John Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her work indicates that estrogen, if administered shortly after a stroke, may help reduce brain damage in women and men. "Our findings clearly demonstrate that the benefit of estrogen can be extended to the male brain, reducing tissue injury (from stroke)", said Hurn.

Stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain is cut off. Causing brain injury or death, stroke occurs more frequently in women than men, however women are more likely to recover.

The research looked to see if estrogen was a factor in the amount of damage and the ability to recover from stroke. During the research 36 rats were treated with estrogen and another 21 control rats were given saline. Stroke was then induced by cutting off blood flow to the brain for two hours. Rats treated with estrogen had only about half the brain damage compared to those treated with saline.

.Dr. Thomas Toung, associate professor in anesthesiology, and the reports co-author, says, "Estrogen treatment provides striking reduction of tissue injury after stroke and may bring new treatment insights and strategies for both sexes."