Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the number one cause of long-term disability. Thanks to the Public Impact Fellowship, doctoral student Christopher Lay has been researching drug-free ways to protect the brain and reduce the long-term effects caused by strokes before patients even reach the emergency room.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and it's the number one cause of disability.
Christopher Lay - Doctoral student, Biological Sciences Neurobiology and Behavior, UCIrvine
As a result of that there is a huge social, psychological, emotional and frankly speaking, financial impact upon California and the country as a whole. What our research is pursuing with the help of the Public Impact Fellowship, is a treatment that fully protects the brain, we don't require a special drug, we don't require any sort of special machinery. This is something similar to say, CPR for a patient with a heart attack. So we can begin treating patients even before the reach the emergency departments, in the ambulance on their way. The treatment we discovered, is a mild protective sensory stimulation. In the rats what we are talking about is moving a single whisker back and forth very gently. The analogous version of this for humans would be maybe something similar to a physical therapy sort of motion, a light sensory touch. It could be something as basic as having a friend, family member, loved one, staying with you, explaining what's happening when they're going to the hospital, holding their hand, reassuring you. As cliche as it sounds, the Public Impact Fellowship has been a complete game changer for my work. This sort of fellowship allows someone like myself to focus 100% of their time into being a neuroscientist. 750,000 people suffer a stroke each year in the United States. We require funding necessary to continue our work. We can achieve a drug free, easy to use treatment that can prevent both the damage and maintain the function of the brain of someone that is suffering one of these strokes.
Christopher is a UCIrvine Doctoral candidate in the Department of Neurobiology & Behavior.
The Public Impact Fellowship has been instrumental in keeping this work going, but absolutely further research is required.
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