Sunday, April 3, 2011

Canine stroke

A week ago the journal, Science, had a special section on cell metabolism, the chemistry of energy production.  The journal commented that this discipline has been neglected until recently in biology research and medicine.   It has been overshadowed by molecular biology, the complex interrelationships of cell molecules in life’s functions.  The science publication reminded me of a recent stroke case in a Miniature Schnauzer dog where the interplay of both disciplines was involved.
            In stroke cases a clot blocks blood flow to a region of the brain interfering with energy production and function and survival of affected brain cells.  We treat the disease metabolically by giving the dog chemicals to enhance energy production by the stroke-affected cells so they continue to function and survive, but some paralysis may persist.  I think there remains a portion of the stroke-affected zone where more severe metabolic dysfunction has caused cells to release inflammatory molecules that can cause local inflammation that destroys neighboring brain tissue.  These molecules are called cytokines.
             With the Miniature Schnauzer: Recently, another scientific journal, Scientific American, reported that minocycline, an antibiotic, will reduce cytokine production by injured nerve tissue.  In addition to the metabolism-enhancing chemicals, I gave the dog minocycline as part of its treatment regimen.  With recovery, a month later there were no symptoms that it had a stroke. The minocycline may have prevented cytokine-initiated permanent brain-cell damage.  The dog’s disease had been treated both metabolically and molecular biologically.

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