Can Caresses Protect the Brain from Stroke? Neurons cut off by a stroke may have the inherent ability to reroute blood flow and save themselves

June 26, 2013

Can Caresses Protect the Brain from Stroke? [Preview]

Neurons cut off by a stroke may have the inherent ability to reroute blood flow and save themselves

By Stephani Sutherland

Saved by Caresses

Stroke research has been stymied for many years by the complexity of the brain’s response and promising but failed therapies. An accidental discovery in lab rats revealed that stimulating their senses, by wiggling a whisker or playing a loud noise, activated the neurons cut off by the stroke and rerouted the blood supply to nourish them. Treatments based on this approach are a long way off for people, but experts are hopeful that touching a stroke victim’s hands and face could have a similar beneficial effect.You are visiting your elderly aunt, and you notice her speech begin to slur. She seems to be having trouble staying upright in her seat, and she looks confused. You recognize the signs of a stroke. You shout for your uncle to call 911 as you help your aunt lie down in a comfortable position. You run your fingers gently over her lips, face and fingertips as you sing into her ear and continue talking to her. The EMTs rush in and outfit her in what looks like a bathing cap encrusted with electronic bling—a kind of defibrillator designed to deliver electrical stimulation to her brain. As they carry her out on a stretcher, your worry is slightly eased, knowing that the sensory stimulation you gave her in those first minutes may have saved her from serious disability.

Today we can do little to help stroke victims. But if new research bears out, such stimulation might reroute the brain’s blood supply to prevent cells from dying—a much needed breakthrough for the nearly one million Americans every year who suffer a stroke. As of now, the only intervention available is a drug that breaks up blood clots, and only a small number of patients benefit from it. In other words, although scientists have been studying stroke for decades, brain damage is inevitable in most cases. Stroke remains the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and the most common cause of long-term disability. “We have so few therapies for this problem. We need to move more of them forward,” says Steven C. Cramer, a clinician who specializes in stroke at the University of California, Irvine.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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