Chilled strokes

KEEPING cool in an emergency could take on a whole new meaning now that Danish researchers have found that a low body temperature seems to save the lives of stroke victims. The discovery will have an enormous impact on the treatment of stroke, says neurologist Henrik Jørgensen from Bispebjerg Hospital, Copenhagen. The Danish team discovered that laboratory animals that had a stroke were profoundly affected by changes in body temperature. They decided to measure the body temperatures of 390 stroke victims to see if differences in body temperatures affected their clinical condition (Lancet, vol 347, p 422). The result surprised them: a 1 °C drop in body temperature increased their chances of survival by 80 per cent. A stroke is rather like a bomb, destroying the nervous tissue in the central area but only injuring neurons on the periphery. These neurons, say the researchers,
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