Re: Stroke ! ....just a thought

Anders Sandberg (
04 Jan 1998 12:02:06 +0100

"Berrie Staring" <> writes:

> I came up with this, regarding a stroke.
> As far as I know you get blood between the skull and
> your brain. The presure will damage your brain !
> (please correct me if I'm wrong)

No, that is a epi- or subdural hematoma, strokes occur when a blood
vessel bursts or is clogged in the brain.

These hematomas is something we ought to be aware of, they are a real
danger to those of us who live active lives with a risk for bumping
our heads or getting hit. What happens is that one of the arteries
outside the dura (in epidural hematomas) bursts, and blood starts to
accumulate. Usually the victims doesn't notice anything at first, and
just think they got a minor concussion. But after a while (half an
hour, sometimes more) they get dizzy, feel weak, faint and gradually
descend into a coma. Death results if the pressure is not
lowered. Fortunately this is not that hard to do, to quote my teacher
in medical technology "Just use a drill. A Black & Decker will do in
an emergency" (yes, he was an intensive care surgeon :-).

The subdural hematomas are more treacherous. They occur mainly in old
people, and the blood accumulates beneath the dura. Since they usually
occur in very old people lying in geriatric wards, often with
Alzheimer's disease, and are fairly slow they are often not noticed
before it is too late.

> Well, what if we make hole's in the skull upfront, with some
> "valve's" that act only when the presure inside is too high ?
> Aside from the funny things sticking out of your head,
> what do you think of it ?

I don't think it is necessary as long as you have somebody with
medical experience and a drill around. The main problem is that
inserting the valves is a noticeable risk in itself, and could lead to
meningitis (and that is bad news for us who want to keep our brains
nice and shiny) even if they do not cross the skin (any implants that
cross the skin become probable sites for infections). There is also
the problem of cells growing into the valve and blocking it. Another
idea I have had to deal with the hematomas was to replace parts of the
arteries with more flexible silicon, but it seems to increase the risk
for trombosis. To be honest, the body is an awful mess when you try to
improve it.

Let's get back to strokes, since they are a real danger. It is the
third leading cause of death in the United States, and the number one
cause of adult disability. It occurs if a blood vessel is clogged by
an embolism or if it bursts, so it can be prevented by keeping the
cardiovascular system clean and supple. Risk factors include: age over
55, high blood pressure, heart disease (esp. atrial fibrillation),
diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, family history of strokes,
obesity, excessive alcohol consumption and lack of
exercise. Fortunately, most of these can be fixed and could be
counteracted by a transhuman lifestyle.

If stroke occurs (common symptoms: one-sided weakness, numbness or
paralysis, sudden blurred or decreased vision on one or both sides,
difficulties speaking or understanding simple statements, dizziness
and loss of balance combined with other symptoms, sudden severe
unexplainable headache), one should immediatelly get in touch with a
hospital, every minute counts since the ischemic part of the brain
will die within minutes, and the chemicals released from this will
damage cells in surrounding areas. By quickly injecting
anti-coagulants or chemicals that will dissolve blood clots it may be
possible to deal with some strokes (on the other hand, if the stroke
is due to a burst artery this will make matters worse), and there is
appearing anti-ischemic drugs that lessen the effects of ischemia. But
the damage has been done.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y