In a recent article by Dr Jeffrey L Saver, of the Department of Neurology of UCLA, in the journal Stroke, here are some of the quantifications he found using a systematic literature review:
- Every HOUR, patients experiencing a typical large vessel acute ischemic stroke undergo a loss of 120 million neurons, 830 billion synapses, and 714 kms or 447 miles of myelinated fibers.
- Every MINUTE, 1.9 million neurons, 14 billion synapses, and 12 kms (7.5 miles) of myelinated fibers are destroyed.
- Compared with the normal rate of neuron loss in brain aging, the ischemic brain without treatment ages 3.6 years each HOUR.
The average human brain has about 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses between them. This recent article by Dr Jeffrey Saver helps us appreciate how fast everyone --- relatives of the patient, paramedics, doctors, and nurses --- should move in initiating medical treatment to the affected patient.
Indeed, time lost means brain tissue lost.
Lost brain tissue means neurologic deficits --- paralysis, slurring of speech, disorientation, etc. These are things no one wants to happen to himself or to a loved one. So, when you suspect a stroke, be sure to move fast, and get that person to the nearest hospital.