A Dunedin researcher hopes to be undertaking clinical
trials to help stroke victims within the next two years.
University of Otago researcher Dr Andrew Clarkson said he had
been working on drug therapies to help ''reawaken'' the brain
and balance chemicals which would assist in recovery for
Last night he spoke at the Queenstown Events Centre,
supported by Dunedin's Brain Health Research Centre.
Dr Clarkson told the Otago Daily Times he began his
research in 2008, looking at how the chemistry in the brain
changes after a stroke and how it can be rebalanced.
A stroke caused a loss of cells in the brain, while the
tissue surrounding the affected area was effectively put to
''It's like a pendulum or a set of scales ... Often you have
too much of one [chemical after a stroke] and the brain
becomes silent because it's just been put to sleep.
''We're trying to reawaken it.''
His trial aims to stimulate the tissue, which would give the
victim back some control and movement and hopefully stimulate
the growth of new cells.
''I don't think you'd ever get 100% back - if you had a mild
stroke it is possible; if you had a larger stroke ... if you
could give back 60% that would be great.''
Since 2008, his research had focused on one drug and to date
the studies ''look promising''.
''I'm working on a report at the moment and once that's done
we'll start talking to the clinical team ... but the process
''It will be worth it in the long run.''
Earlier this year, Danish funding authorities gave Dr
Clarkson's research a significant boost, with two grants
totalling $1 million for two Danish researchers to
investigate further drug development.
• About 2500 people die each year in New Zealand from
strokes. About 10% of those are people aged 65 and younger.
• Every week 24 people in New Zealand have a stroke,
including one person in Auckland aged between 20 and 30.
• High blood pressure is the major cause of strokes.
• Preventive measures include daily exercise, a well-balance
diet, limiting alcohol, avoiding smoking and ensuring blood
pressure is in a healthy range.- Stroke Foundation of New
Zealand/Dr Andrew Clarkson