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Wellcome Image of the Month: Focus on stroke

11 May, 2012

B0000534 Ischaemia, blood flow through brain

It is the third largest cause of death in the UK after heart disease and cancer, causing more than 50 000 deaths every year and leaving thousands more with long-term physical and mental disability. Stroke is a devastating condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, leading to brain damage and possibly death.

Our understanding of stroke has improved significantly over recent years and awareness of its impact is continually growing. The beginning of May saw the launch of the UK’s first ever Action on Stroke Month organised by the Stroke Association.

Our Image of the Month illustrates an experimental model of stroke, showing colour-coded blood flow through the brain of a rodent after arterial obstruction, or ischaemia, to give its medical term. Eighty per cent of all stroke cases are ischemic where blood supply is blocked due to a blood clot. Areas of highest to lowest blood flow are labelled from white, red, yellow to green; blue and purple represent very low blood flow; and black is no or almost no blood flow.

The image comes from Professor I Mhairi Macrae, a neuroscientist at the University of Glasgow. Her main research interest is in stroke and cerebral blood flow (CBF), studying ischaemic brain injury using in vivo rodent models, imaging techniques including MRI, and behavioural testing. She has expertise in the development of animal models of experimental stroke, in the measurement of CBF and ischaemic damage and in the assessment of neurological deficits and functional recovery.

This article is part of the Wellcome Trust’s Focus on stroke, a series of articles, interviews and videos running throughout May 2012, which is the Stroke Association’s Action on Stroke Month.

For more information on stroke, visit the Stroke Association’s site or call its helpline on 0303 303 3100. If you or someone with you is suspected of having a stroke, call the emergency services immediately.

Wellcome Images is one of the world’s richest and most unusual collections, with themes ranging from medical and social history to contemporary healthcare and biomedical science. All our images are available in digital form so please click the link above if you would like to use the picture that features in this post, or to quickly find related ones. Many are free to use non-commercially under the terms of a Creative Commons licence and full details of the specific licence for each image are provided.

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