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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Better Stroke Outcome with High Blood Calcium

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE UNTIL 2:00 P.M. PT, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2006

San Diego – Higher levels of calcium in the blood are associated with less severe stroke and better outcome, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 58th Annual Meeting in San Diego, Calif., April 1 – 8, 2006. Calcium and magnesium are intricately involved in the pathways of cell death in models of stroke, and high dietary intake of these minerals has been associated with a reduced risk of experiencing a stroke according to lead scientist Bruce Ovbiagele, MD, of the Stroke Center and Department of Neurology at the University of California, Los Angeles. This association led Ovbiagele to ask whether levels of serum calcium and magnesium might predict the severity and outcome in patients presenting with a stroke. Ovbiagele’s group studied 240 consecutive patients who were seen at the UCLA Stroke Center within 24 hours of their stroke. Patients were classified into four groups, based on the level of calcium and magnesium in their blood. Researchers measured stroke severity at the time that patients were admitted into the hospital and how well they functioned upon being discharged. The findings indicated that while there was no correlation with magnesium, higher calcium was strongly related to both lesser severity at admission and better outcome at the time patients left the hospital. Patients with the highest calcium levels had strokes only one-third as severe as those with the lowest level, and were 50 to 70 percent less likely to have a poor functional outcome. The results remained significant after correcting for a wide variety of other factors known to influence stroke risk and severity, including age, prior use of anti-stroke drugs, and type of stroke. “These results suggest a connection between high calcium in the blood and reduced cell death from stroke,” said Ovbiagele. “However, it is not yet known whether modifying dietary calcium in people at risk for stroke may help protect against poor stroke outcome.” This study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

The American Academy of Neurology is the world's largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with 32,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit AAN.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Editor's Notes:Dr. Ovbiagele will present this research during a scientific platform session at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5 in room 11AB of the San Diego Convention Center. He will be available for media questions during a briefing at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, April 5 in the on-site Press Interview Room, room 16 B. All listed times are for Pacific Time (PT). AAN Press Room in the San Diego Convention Center April 1 - April 7, 2006 contact (619) 525-6207


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