Creatine Reduces Risk of Brain Injury After Stroke

Creatine, a dietary supplement most commonly known as an athletic performance enhancer, has been found to decrease the risk of stroke-related neurological damage in mice. Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) found that mice that were fed creatine for one month prior to stroke, experienced less brain cell death – a contributor to impaired neurological function that effects quality of life for millions of stroke survivors – than their counterparts that were not fed creatine. These findings will be published in the June 30, 2004 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

From Brigham and Women?s Hospital :
Creatine Reduces Risk of Brain Injury After Stroke

Popular athletic performance supplement may play a role in protecting the brain
after stroke

Creatine, a dietary supplement most commonly known as an athletic performance enhancer, has been found to decrease the risk of stroke-related neurological damage in mice. Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) found that mice that were fed creatine for one month prior to stroke, experienced less brain cell death – a contributor to impaired neurological function that effects quality of life for millions of stroke survivors – than their counterparts that were not fed creatine. These findings will be published in the June 30, 2004 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

To date, laboratory studies have shown that creatine provides neuroprotection in experimental models of ALS, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and traumatic brain injury. However, this is the first study, conducted outside of a test tube, to demonstrate the positive effects of creatine, leading researchers to hope that this safe supplement could be used to help prevent brain injury in humans.

According to lead author Robert M. Friedlander, MD, associate director of Cerebrovascular Surgery at BWH and associate professor of Neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School (HMS), ”The effects of stroke are often debilitating and can lead to paralysis and other forms of disability that significantly impact a positive quality of life. The results of this study provide evidence that creatine may be used in a prophylactic fashion for patients at risk for stroke, in a similar manner as aspirin is used in the same target population. Because creatine has a proven safety record in humans, it could one day be used as a novel new therapy to help reduce brain injury related to stroke in at-risk patients.”

In a laboratory study, Friedlander and researchers found that mice that had been fed creatine for a month experienced a 56 percent reduction in cerebral infarction – or brain injury – after a stroke, as compared to mice that had not been fed the supplement. In addition, researchers found that mice that had been fed a creatine-supplemented diet for only one week did not experience the same neuroprotection suggesting that creatine benefits are time-dependent.

According to Friedlander, who is also a member of Brigham and Women’s Institute of Neurosciences, ”Treating stroke and other neurological diseases will require a multi-drug approach demanding researchers to first learn more about how creatine impacts the brain. This further research will pave the way for additional testing which will hopefully climax in a clinical trial.”

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States with approximately 700,000 Americans suffering a stroke this year. In 1999, more than 1.1 million American adults reported difficulty with functional limitations and activities of daily living resulting from stroke.



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