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C. New Chemicals Prevent Brain Cell Death

Narrator: This is Science Today. Researchers at the University of California San Francisco have discovered that chemicals found in a Japanese flower and green tea leaves can prevent brain cells from dying in stroke-like conditions. Doctor Raymond Swanson, a neurology professor at the school, says that when brain cells are damaged, they often over-exert themselves by trying to repair their structure.

Swanson: And of course under a stroke situation, that is the problem. There's not enough energy for the cells to live. And when that's compounded by a massive effect of repairing DNA, it kills cells that might otherwise live.

Narrator: The new chemicals, Swanson says, prevent cells from wasting much needed energy in the repair process -- and that may prove vital in a life or death situation.

Swanson: If you have a dead cell in the brain, you can't do any worse than that. So if you buy time, you may find yet other interventions, which can make these cells live. If you buy time you may be able to improve blood flow to the brain.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.