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Airdate: Feb 12, 2016
Scientist: Michelle Theus

Strokes - Collaterals

Strokes - Collaterals
After a stroke, a specialized network of blood vessels redirects the flow of blood in the brain.

Stealth Blood Vessels of the BrainAmbience; blood flow Blood flows through the network of arteries and veins of our body, bringing oxygen and nutrients to our cells. Strokes occur when there's a blockage in one of the arteries of the brain. The brain tries to repair this blockage by re-directing the flow of blood. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Theus: Some patients are better able to reroute this blood flow than others. And the reason they're able to reroute the blood flow is because of a very specialized network of blood vessels called collaterals.Dr. Michelle Theus is an assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech. She's been trying to unravel the secrets of the blood vessels of the brain and why some people have this collateral network of arteries and others don't.Theus: And so my research is focused on understanding what contributes to the density or the number of these bypass vessels that occur during development in our brain. How is it that when we're developing in utero, that these vessels form? What contributes to their maintenance throughout adulthood? And then as we age we actually lose these bypass vessels. They go away. What and how does this happen? So we look at mechanisms in the brain, where the vessels might be - because of a stroke - forced to provide a different avenue of rerouting blood flow. That might stimulate more collaterals to grow. In some patients, collaterals don't grow it all. In essence, I think that the more bypass vessels we have, the better we are being protected from stroke.We'll hear more about surviving strokes in future programs. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.