New Treatments for Subarachnoid Haemorrhage
Christine Barry has completed her PhD project in which she investigated if a new drug treatment (an NK1 receptor antagonist) may limit brain swelling and help normalise pressure in the brain after subarachnoid haemorrhage. Experimentally, this treatment shows promise following brain trauma or ischaemic (artery blockage) stroke, but it had not previously been tested in models of subarachnoid haemorrhage. Interestingly, Christine’s studies found that different mechanisms cause inflammation and increased pressure after subarachnoid haemorrhage compared to ischaemic stroke or brain trauma.
These results suggest new areas to search for subarachnoid haemorrhage treatments and will help to target clinical interventions in a more effective way.
Subarachnoid haemorrhage is a bleed over the surface of the brain that kills around 800 Australians each year. Most are relatively young and 10% die suddenly, but within a month, 40% are dead and severe disability is common for survivors. Brain swelling and increased pressure inside the skull (intracranial pressure) following the initial bleed contribute to the overall brain damage, so treatment to limit this swelling may improve the outlook for subarachnoid haemorrhage patients.
Christine’s studies were supervised by Professor Robert Vink and Dr Corinna van den Heuvel at the University of Adelaide. Salary funding was provided by the NeuroSurgical Research Foundation and National Stroke Foundation (Australia).