The next possible stroke biomarker might be oxidized LDL

LDL--a type of protein typically known as "bad cholesterol"--is showing some promise in oxidized form as a biomarker that could help gauge a patient's outcome after a stroke.

The work is detailed in the journal Critical Care; Cardiology Today highlighted the main results.

The Taiwanese researchers reached their finding indirectly, by using statins on patients with acute ischemic stroke. They studied 120 patients stroke patients over a 6-month period. Those with serum LDL levels at 100 mg/dL or higher after their strokes and with hardening of the arteries were given statins. Older, healthier patients served as the control group.

The outcome: Plasma oxidized LDL levels shot up in stroke patients versus the control group, according to the story. But the researchers also found that oxidized LDL dropped in stroke patients who took statins at both day 7 and day 30, compared to patients who didn't take the drug. Oxidized LDL levels stayed similar initially in patients who took statins versus those who didn't.

Assuming more testing helps support this finding, oxidized LDL levels could be used both to help spot stroke patients and to treat them rapidly. The researchers said that oxidized LDL levels could be a far more consistent way to gauge stroke outcomes than other methods, including white blood cell counts, high-sensitivity CRP testing or even serum LDL.

Researchers are looking at other possible stroke biomarkers as well. For example, a group of researchers last year determined that high blood levels of troponin T and NT-proBNP could be a major indicator of "silent strokes."

- read the full Cardiology Today story
- here's the study abstract

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