In Search of Clinical Neuroprotection After Brain Ischemia: The Case for Mild Hypothermia (35°C) and Magnesium

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Abstract

Background and Purpose—

Brain injury after stroke and other cerebral ischemic events is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Our purpose here is to argue in favor of combined mild hypothermia (35°C) and magnesium as an acute neuroprotective treatment to minimize ischemic brain injury.

Methods and Results—

Drawing on our own experimental findings with mild hypothermia and magnesium, and in light of the moderate hypothermia trials in cardiac arrest/resuscitation and magnesium trials in ischemic stroke (IMAGES, FAST-Mag), we bring attention to the advantages of mild hypothermia compared with deeper levels of hypothermia, and highlight the existing evidence for its combination with magnesium to provide an effective, safe, economical, and widely applicable neuroprotective treatment after brain ischemia. With respect to effectiveness, our own laboratory has shown that combined mild hypothermia and magnesium treatment has synergistic neuroprotective effects and reduces brain injury when administered several hours after global and focal cerebral ischemia.

Conclusions—

Even when delayed, combined treatment with mild hypothermia and magnesium has broad therapeutic potential as a practical neuroprotective strategy. It warrants further experimental investigation and presents a good case for assessment in clinical trials in treating human patients after brain ischemia.

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