Stenosis of the Brain: The Narrowing of the Brain’s Arteries

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Stenosis of the Brain:  Narrowing of the Brain’s Arteries




Guest:  Dr. Tanya Turan – Neurosciences, MUSC

Host:  Dr. Linda Austin – Psychiatry


Dr. Linda Austin:  Dr. Tanya Turan is Assistant Professor of Neurology and a researcher in Neurosciences here at MUSC.  Dr. Turan, in an earlier podcast, we talked about another study you’re doing in which you look at atherosclerosis, which is hardening of the arteries of the blood vessels in the brain.  This study, though, is a little bit different.  You’re using MRI in order to learn more about what causes so-called stenosis of those hardened arteries.  What, exactly, is stenosis?


Dr. Tanya Turan:  Stenosis means a narrowing that’s actually produced by the hardening of the arteries.  So, it’s a buildup of cholesterol and other particles inside the blood vessel that forms what we call plaque, and the plaque causes narrowing, which is a stenosis.


Dr. Linda Austin:  And, what are you hoping to learn from this study?


Dr. Tanya Turan:  Well, this study is a pilot study in which we’re refining an imaging protocol that we’d like to use in future studies that will show us what atherosclerosis is essentially composed of; what it’s made of.  We think components of atherosclerotic plaque, or stenosis, may show an increased risk for strokes.


Dr. Linda Austin:  Who is eligible for this study?


Dr. Tanya Turan:  It’s a pretty specific group of people, in this case.  We’re looking for people who’ve had stroke, or TIA, that was caused by narrowing of the brain arteries.  And, the only way a patient would know that their stroke was caused by narrowing of the brain arteries is if they’ve had certain tests; either an MRI-type scan, a CT-type scan, or an angiogram that actually shows what the blood vessels look like. 


Dr. Linda Austin:  So, it’s really kind of a super duper study of these patients.  And, your other study, that you talked about earlier, is for folks who are 40 to 80 years of age.  Is that true of this one also?


Dr. Tanya Turan:  Yes.  So, we’re looking for people who are old enough to have atherosclerotic risk factors, like diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.  So, they do need to be a certain age.


Dr. Linda Austin:  And, if somebody’s interested in participating in this study, who should they call?


Dr. Tanya Turan:  They can contact me or our study coordinator, Genevieve Starr, at (843) 792-3020.


Dr. Linda Austin:  Great.  Well, good luck with the study.


Dr. Tanya Turan:  Thank you.

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