Saliva From Vampire Bats May Help During Strokes


>>Narrator: They might look menacing and scary,
but scientists say these tiny vampire bats could play a huge role in the treatment of
strokes.

>>Narrator: When a patient is brought into the hospital during a stroke, doctors
have to act fast to dissolve blood clots in or near the brain…And thanks to a chemical
in their saliva used during feeding, nothing in nature dissolves blood clots better than
vampire bats.

>>Michel Torbey: So, we’re hoping the bat saliva, in itself, dissolves
the clot with lower risk of bleeding in the brain after that.>>Narrator: Doctor Michel Torbey is a stroke
specialist at Ohio State University Medical Center. After researchers completed one study
showing that drugs based on bat saliva compounds are safe, he’s leading a new – national
study -to see how helpful they might be. With current drugs, doctors only have a 3 hour
window to treat stroke patients. But the bat saliva drugs could triple that.

>>Michel
Torbey: This is one of the studies that actually have extended the windows up to 9 hours. So,
patients, when they present after stroke from 3 hours of symptom onset until 9 hours, now
they have another option that’s available.
>>Narrator: That could make all the difference
to patients like Pearl Braskett, A Korean War veteran with 3 purple hearts. Years of
war might not have claimed him, but recently during dinner, a stroke nearly did.

>>Pearl
Braskett: I got about half way through eating it and my fork dropped out of my hand. So
I reached down, picked it up and put it back in my hand, and it fell out again.

>>Narrator:
To make matters worse – Pearl lives miles out in the country – so he could use the extra
time it takes to get to the hospital. Something that may someday be likely – thanks to the
most unlikely source. At Ohio State University Medical Center, this is Clark Powell reporting.

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