Eye could provide “window to the brain” after stroke

Preliminary results suggest strokes also affect the eye

Research into curious bright spots in the eyes on stroke patients’ brain images could one day alter the way these individuals are assessed and treated. A team of scientists at the National Institutes of Health found that a chemical routinely given to stroke patients undergoing brain scans can leak into their eyes, highlighting those areas and potentially providing insight into their strokes. The study was published in Neurology.

“We were kind of astounded by this – it’s a very unrecognized phenomenon,” said Richard Leigh, M.D., an assistant clinical investigator at the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the paper’s senior author. “It raises the question of whether there is something we can observe in the eye that would help clinicians evaluate the severity of a stroke and guide us on how best to help patients.”

brain scan images before and after the use of a chemical called gadolinium

Eyes yield information about strokes: MRI scans revealed that a chemical called gadolinium, used to improve images, leaked into the eyes of stroke patients.

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This page was last updated on Friday, January 21, 2022