Researchers discover a gene that reduces stroke risk

mBilingual people are better protected against stroke, finds study

A researcher led by Indian origin scientist has discovered a gene that reduces the risk of stroke in adults. A gene called PHACTR1 was found responsible for the reduced risk of suffering cervical artery dissection that is caused by a tear in the artery that leads to brain. Researchers from Royal Holloway, University of London led to this major discovery.

“Our findings provide us with a greater understanding of how this region of the genome appears to influence key vascular functions which could have major implications for the treatment of these severe and disabling conditions,” said Pankaj Sharma, professor of clinical neurology from the University of London’ School of Biological Sciences.

For the study, researchers observed 15,800 patients including 1,400 patients suffering from cervical artery dissection and 14,400 patients without the disease. They screened entire genome of all the patients and compared the results. They found that cervical artery dissection can cause blockage in vessels and can further lead to brain damage by compressing adjacent nerves and clotting blood.

Professor Pankaj Sharma with other researchers claimed it major breakthrough as number of patients suffering from stroke has increased exponentially in recent years, especially youths have a lot elevated curve. The findings might help other scientists and doctors in better understanding the region of the genome and how it gets affected by critical vascular functions. Apart from better treatment, researchers claimed that the discovery will help in cutting down the number of patients suffering from stroke.

“Further genetic analyses and worldwide collaborations of this kind provide hope of pinpointing the underlying mechanisms that cause stroke,” added Sharma who is leading the Bio-Repository of DNA in Stroke (BRAINS) study.

The study was published in the journal Nature Genetics.

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