June 6, 2018
In cases of stroke, every second of time is a bit of the brain. The most important part of stroke treatment is fast action. Every brain cell contributes to an important life function, and as brain cells fail to receive sufficient oxygen because of the discontinuity in blood flow caused by the ischemia or the hemorrhage which denies areas of brain cells their exposure to blood flow, brain cells die.
The birth, maturity, and death of brain neurons
The processes of birth and death of neurons are not fully understood. These nervous information transmitter-receiver cells are born in areas of the brain where there concentrations of neural precursor cells (also called neural stem cells). The stem cells articulate into specialized nerve cells and reproduce new stem cells.
Once grown, the neurons "glide" along the long radial glial pathways which stretch from the surface to deep in the interior of the brain structure to the place where they will ultimately fulfill their function. The chemistry in the part of the brain where the neuron settles, further differentiates it into its special function, either as a sensory function, a motor function, or as an interneuron--sending and receiving specific neural impulses. The system of brain birth and maturity is very complex and intricate. This makes the death of brain cells so tragic.
The stroke is a natural disaster in the brain structure. Strokes are among a number of natural disasters that include brain-related disease. Neurons have long lives--among the longest of living cells. But when they are deprived of oxygen or when they are misplaced in the complex brain structure they fail to function and may be destroyed by white blood cells or macrophages that absorb foreign bodies.
The timing of oxygen deprivation death
The brain is very sensitive to a lack of oxygen. Some brain cells start dying less than 5 minutes after their oxygen supply drops off. As a result, a few minutes of natural disaster caused by oxygen flow disruption can rapidly cause severe brain damage or death. When the oxygen deprivation is local, the brain cells that are crucial for particular brain functions may die and be destroyed limiting particular behavioral functions, perception, motion, or strange combinations of functions, leaving other functions intact.
Prompt action saving brains
Emergency surgery can stop bleeding into the brain. Prompt action in the treatment of stroke victims calls for instant coordination between paramedics in the field and medical hospital staff. And when a patient is referred to a specialized hospital to be treated there, it is of vital important that the medical images taken in the referring hospital are shared with the receiving hospital as soon as possible. As one of the neurologists at the University Medical Center Groningen (the Netherlands) puts it: "Time is of the essence. We know that the longer it takes [for treatment to start], the worse the outcome after treatment [will be]. Time is brain."