Govt stops study seeking to prevent type of stroke

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government has halted a study testing treatments for a brain condition that can cause strokes after early results suggested invasive therapies were riskier than previously thought.

The condition involves a kind of tangle in the brain called an arteriovenous malformation, or AVM. Arteries and veins grow knotted together until eventually some of them burst, causing a bleeding stroke. AVM accounts for a small fraction of hemorrhagic strokes.

But increasingly, brain scans can spot these tangles well before they're at risk of bleeding — raising the question of what to do for patients, if anything. The study aimed to tell if treating them could prevent a stroke later in life.

Early results suggest it may be safer to leave the condition alone, said Columbia University neurologist Dr. Jay Mohr, who helped lead the study.

Nearly three years into the research, the rate of strokes and death was more than three times higher among participants who had received surgery, radiation or other invasive treatment than among patients given medication for headaches and other symptoms.

Mohr couldn't provide precise numbers but said most of the cases were strokes and there were very few deaths.

"From what we can see, our current methods of intervention may pose a greater hazard for health than letting the natural history run itself out," Mohr said.

The National Institutes of Health has stopped enrollment in the study, but participants will be tracked for several more years to see how they fare over time.

Associated Press

Authors: TSX Today

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S&P/TSX Composite Index

The TSX stock exchange defines an index as a statistical measure of the state of the stock market, based on the performance of certain stocks. The performance of the index is typically viewed as a broad indicator of the direction of the economy. Originally known as the TSE 300 the composite index was created in 1977, with a base level of 1000 as of 1975. Through the years the index consisted of a sample of 300 companies, though the companies that comprised the index varied from year to year. Stocks were dropped when they no longer met exchange requirements for size and liquidity.

Effective May 1st, 2002 the index has been managed by Standard & Poor's Corp. of New York. The name was changed from the TSE 300 to the S&P/TSX Composite Index. Along with the S&P branding came new rules. Tougher criteria for meeting size and liquidity standards were imposed and there is now no fixed number of companies in the index. Since May 2002 the number of companies has dropped from 300 to 212 as of November of 2003.

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