We all know how important oxygen is for us and all the living beings alike. Our organs constantly require a steady flow of oxygen to keep functioning and deprivation of it can result in severe consequences. Heart stroke is the most popular example of this, but it is not the only one. Brain stroke is the fifth leading cause of death, it occurs when blood circulation to the brain fails because of blocked or ruptured blood vessels. The decreased blood flow and in exchange, lack of oxygen and other nutrients causes brain cells to die.
The attack can be classified into two types. A clot in the arteries obstructing the flow of blood to the brain called an ischemic stroke. A blood vessel rupturing or bleeding in the brain is called a hemorrhagic stroke. A TIA (transient ischemic attack) is less life-threatening and is caused by a temporary clot.
The brain, as we know, is an extremely complex organ that controls different and major bodily functions. In the face of a stroke, if blood does not reach a particular region of the brain, the functions controlled by that region will be affected. For instance, memory and muscle control of one side of the body, emotional pain and changes in self-care and ability. These effects can be permanent or temporary depending upon circumstances and the treatment provided.
Every year, more than 795,000 people suffer strokes in the United States, out of which 140,000 people die. Brain strokes comprise of 80 percent of those strokes and are the leading cause of serious, long term disability there.
Brain strokes can be avoided by living a healthy lifestyle, including proper nutritional intake, moderate physical activity and refraining from usage of drugs and heavy drinking. However, there are some medical risks like high blood pressure, secondhand smoke exposure, high cholesterol, diabetes or even a genetic history of strokes. In fact, age, race, gender and hormones are also some factors which might put a person at higher risk of strokes.
Talking about treatments, there are many transplants available today than they were a few years back. New technology is bringing new innovations in the field of medicine, resulting in more effective organ transplants. However, the only treatment to brain strokes is temporary which is either removing the clot in case of ischemic stroke or stopping the flow through medication and repairing the ruptured artery in case of hemorrhage. In case of delayed medical attention resulting in permanent damage, brain transplants are not an option. The theory that a brain transplant can occur already exists, but a transplant has not been performed yet due to many concerns.
Brain transplants pose major ethical, economic and social concerns. People have argued that severing the head of a living being is not ethically correct and many oppositions have been raised against the same. Even if there were no ethical concerns, brain transplants would be highly expensive due to its intricate system. According to sources, only higher middle class would be able to afford a brain transplant and since the transplant is expensive, the donation will also be expensive. This shows that the poor might be exploited to donate for money. The social concerns are that a person might lose their originality after the transplant. There is also the risk of the immune system rejecting the brain.
To conclude, brain transplants are a concern in today’s society but taking precautions and immediate treatment might lessen the damages. Also, if there were to be a possibility and advance in the field of a brain transplant, that would change the field of medicine.