R. David Andrew, Ph.D
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Faculty BioMy lab is currently studying how our higher brain is incredibly susceptible to global ischemia (as during sudden heart failure), while our brainstem is dramatically resistant. This is best demonstrated by the tragic development of the `persistent vegetative state` where a brain-injured patient is awake but not aware...because only their lower brain is functioning. Studying how the lower brain resists damage should reveal clues as to why our higher brain is so susceptible to injury.
In related studies, we have been exploring the origin of spreading depolarizations (SD) in the brains of mammals and insects.
This mass loss of membrane potential spreads across gray matter, quieting the brain during trauma or stroke, but also quickly leading to neuronal death. The electrical and molecular details of this mechanism have remained a mystery, but we are gaining insight not previously considered by researchers. Unravelling this story will provide considerable insight as to how to protect neurons from loss of blood flow during cardiac arrest, stroke and head trauma.
Last Modified: 2018-04-10