Heart diseases and brain damage make their appearance without any prior warning which is quite a disturbing fact. If there was a test that could indicate the possibility of such diseases, there are chances to reel in the problem with early treatment.
Well, the good news is that scientists have finally made a breakthrough in this area. They have found that N-terminal Pro-B-type Natriuretic Peptide is a sure fire indicator of not only heart failure but also of brain damage. This protein is released into the blood due to cardiac wall stress. However, recently a group of researchers in Netherlands took this a step further and investigated about 2000 middle aged and elderly citizens who have so far not shown any signs of brain damage or heart diseases.
They conducted an MRI of each patient and also checked the NT-ProBNP levels in their blood. What they found was a clear association between the level of protein and the chances of brain damage.
As a senior researcher puts it, “We discovered that higher the level of NT-ProBNP in the blood, the smaller the volume of the brain. In fact, we found a poor organization of the white matter in the brain and a low volume of gray matter.”
Experts believe that there could be a number of reasons for this association like the decrease in blood flow from the heart could cause dysfunction of the brain barrier. Sometimes inflammation caused by cardiac stress could also have an adverse effect on the brain.
Though NT-ProBNP is being used to detect heart dysfunctions in people, it is still quite early to decide if it can be considered a clear indicator of brain damage. The experts think that further tests should be conducted by testing people during different times.
Source – WebMD