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Nicolas Bazan MD, Ph.D, Boyd Professor and Director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans, recently found that a synthetic molecule protects the brain in a model of experimental stroke. Dr. Bazan was issued a patent on the molecule, called LAU-0901, a low-molecular weight drug that crosses the blood-brain barrier. During an ischemic stroke, the most common kind, the body releases signals that cause neuroinflammation which leads to a buildup of chemicals that cause harm to the brain. Platelet-activating factor accumulates, and inhibition of this process plays a key role in neuronal survival. “LAU-0901 is able to reduce this incorrect signaling and inhibit the PAF receptor, which reduces multiple neuroinflammatory signals and greatly lessens the severity of damage in experimental stroke,” said Dr. Bazan in an LSU-generated press release. His findings were published last month in Translational Stroke Research.

On April 21, in conjunction with the American Academy of Neurology conference at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, the Brain Health Fair will offer a free, day-long family event that connects patients, families and caregivers with important resources. People are invited to attend free classes to learn about the latest research advances in Alzheimer’s, autism, brain injury, epilepsy, headache, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, sleep disorders, stroke and other types of disease. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity … to learn from some of the best and brightest neurologists in the world, who will share the latest advances in the prevention and treatment of brain diseases,” says Ann Tilton MD, a presenter in New Orleans. For information, visit BrainHealthFair.com.

On Sun., April 29, “Run Forrest Run,” a 5-kilometer walk/run, will take place beginning outside Bubba Gump Shrimp Company Restaurant and Market in the French Quarter. Participants will make their way down Decatur Street to Esplanade Avenue and circle back to Canal Street in efforts to raise money for Louisiana Children’s Hospital. Pre-registration is $25 through April 14 and $30 from April 14 until the day of the race. Overall and division winners receive Bubba Gump merchandise and all participants will be treated to a seafood lunch from the aforementioned sponsoring restaurant. For information, visit CHNola.org or NolaRunning.com.

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