Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fish Oil May Protect Against Stroke From Ruptured Carotid Artery Plaques

Date:
November 1, 2009
Source:
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
Summary:
Unstable carotid artery plaques -- those in danger of rupturing and leading to a stroke -- contain more inflammation and significantly less omega-3 fatty acids than asymptomatic plaques, according to new research. This suggests that increasing the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in carotid artery plaques could either prevent strokes or improve the safety of treatment.

Research led by Hernan A. Bazan, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Section of Vascular Surgery, at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Medicine, has found that unstable carotid artery plaques – those in danger of rupturing and leading to a stroke – contain more inflammation and significantly less omega-3 fatty acids than asymptomatic plaques.

This suggests that increasing the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in carotid artery plaques could either prevent strokes or improve the safety of treatment. This may be accomplished by increasing dietary intake of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The study is an Article in Press in the journal, Vascular Pharmacology, currently online.

Our bodies produce only a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids, so most of what we need has to come from eating omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods like fish (salmon, tuna, trout, herring, etc.) or from supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease, particularly heart attack and sudden cardiac death. Dr. Bazan’s team wanted to determine what the association might be with plaques in the carotid arteries, a common cause of strokes. Vulnerable plaques which can rupture in the carotid arteries may lead to transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), strokes, or vision loss by affecting the artery to the retina. The mechanisms leading to plaque rupture are still not fully understood but inflammation within the plaque is beginning to be recognized as an important cause of plaque rupture.

Dr. Bazan, an LSUHSC vascular/endovascular surgeon, in collaboration with researchers at Yale University and others at LSUHSC, analyzed plaques from 41 patients who underwent carotid endarterectomy (CEA) to remove plaque buildup in their arteries. Twenty-four patients were asymptomatic and 17 were symptomatic, having had neurological symptoms. All of the fats in the plaques were assessed with mass spectrometry, in collaboration with Dr. Song Hong at LSUHSC. The team was measuring the amounts of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – the components of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. The plaques of asymptomatic patients contained more than twice as much DHA as the symptomatic patients, and about one and a half times as much EPA. Significantly less inflammation was also seen in the carotid atherosclerotic plaques from asymptomatic patients.

“In the future, a study to address whether supplementation with dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids prevents carotid-related events in patients with moderate or high-grade carotid stenosis will help answer whether this is a formidable therapeutic target for the prevention of stroke,” says Dr. Bazan.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, as well as a leading cause of serious long-term disability. About 795,000 strokes occur in the US each year and about 610,000 of these are first, or new, strokes. About 185,000 occur in people who have already had a stroke. Nearly 25% of strokes occur in people under the age of 65. Of all ischemic strokes occurring, carotid artery atherosclerotic plaques account for over a third of them. It has been noted for several decades that the southeastern United States has the highest stroke mortality in the country. It is not completely clear what factors might contribute to the higher incidence and mortality from stroke in this region.

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health-National Center for Research Resources, an LSUHSC Cardiovascular Center Grant (“Mentoring in Cardiovascular Biology”), and the American Vascular Association.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. "Fish Oil May Protect Against Stroke From Ruptured Carotid Artery Plaques." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091001164100.htm>.
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. (2009, November 1). Fish Oil May Protect Against Stroke From Ruptured Carotid Artery Plaques. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091001164100.htm
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. "Fish Oil May Protect Against Stroke From Ruptured Carotid Artery Plaques." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091001164100.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins