Reducing brain injury, sensory damage following cardiac arrest

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Those who have experienced cardiac arrest face long-term health effects related to brain activity. Recent research examined the impact of such events, including the deprivation of oxygen to the brain, and subsequent resuscitation efforts.

Led by Jason Middleton, PhD, assistant professor at Louisiana State University Health New Orleans School of Medicine, the study was published June 19 in eNeuro, the journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

The team examined hypoxic-ischemic brain injury resulting from cardiac arrest, which result in less responsive and less spatially tuned sensory cortical circuits.

Researchers examined 13 rats, measuring sensory response after oxygen deprivation after cardiac arrest. Following such events, sensory circuits in the brain were less responsive. The researchers concluded cardiac arrest and resuscitation will affect cortical circuit function.

"Our work characterizes the changes that occur in the sensory cortex after a form of global hypoxic injury in juvenile rats," wrote Middleton. "The injury did not result in widespread cell death as occurs in other forms of acute, focal ischemic injury; the deficits uncovered were subtler and reflected decreased ability of the cortex to discriminate sensory stimuli. We used computer modeling of the neural network to implicate changes in the balance of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission in the cortex."