Children, newborns also can have a stroke

5:46 PM, Jun 25, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND --  When you think of stroke, you often think of an older person.  But a blood clot in the brain is something that can also affect children, especially newborns.

"About one in 4,000 newborns are at risk for stroke," says Dr. Neil Friedman, pediatric neurologist at Cleveland Clinic. 

The Clinic is now part of an international research study trying to determine if the anticlotting medication, tPA would also be beneficial to children. 

The drug has to be delivered within the first four and a half hours of stroke symptoms.

The problem with kids is that most often the stroke symptoms are not recognized for hours. That's why Dr. Friedman is trying to get awareness out there.

Even though it's rare, kids at highest risk for stroke include newborns up to a month old and five and six-year-olds.

The stroke symptoms are similar to adults, including weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, garbled speech, unsteady walking and worsening headache. 

But the causes differ slightly. Congenital heart defects, abnormal blood vessels and kids who just got through chicken pox are most at risk.

However, with the introduction of the chicken pox vaccine, those cases have dropped significantly. 

Another reason awareness is so critical is because half of the children who suffer from stroke also have permanent damage.

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