Good News – If we can afford it. The test might be given only to families at high risk because we cannot afford it for everyone..
A gene that protects young and middle-aged adults from strokes has been discovered by British scientists.
People with the variant of the gene, Phactr1, are at reduced risk of suffering cervical artery dissection — a tear in an artery leading to the brain that can result in compression of adjacent nerves, blood clotting and then stroke.
The same gene variant has been identified as a protector against migraines and affects the risk of heart attack. The breakthrough offers hopes for treatments to prevent the major cause of strokes in young people.
About 152,000 people a year have a stroke in the UK and it is the third largest cause of death, after heart disease and cancer. Brain injuries caused by strokes are a major cause of adult disability.
Pankaj Sharma, professor of clinical neurology at the Royal Holloway, University of London, who was involved in the study, said the findings were an important breakthrough. The study in the journal Nature Genetics involved researchers worldwide screening the entire genome of 1,400 patients with cervical artery dissection, and 14,400 people without it.
In Canada, doctors are challenging legally-held patents on genes. The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario has taken the case to the Federal court, citing barriers that gene patents present in providing tests for genetic diseases