New York: Uric acid - a chemical that at high levels can lead to serious illness - may lessen women's disability after a stroke, a study shows.
High levels of uric acid can lead to kidney stones or the inflammatory arthritic condition known as gout and is linked with heart and vascular problems and diabetes.
However, in a study published in the journal Stroke, 42 percent of women treated with uric acid therapy following a stroke had little disability after 90 days compared to 29 percent of women treated with a placebo.
Women also had less dead tissue resulting from lack of blood supply after receiving uric acid.
"Women fare better with uric acid therapy because they tend to have less uric acid in their bodies," said lead author Angel Chamorro, director of Barcelona's Comprehensive Stroke Center, Hospital Clinic Chamorro.
"While high levels of uric acid can lead to other health problems, uric acid also helps protect tissue from harmful molecules known as free radicals," Chamorro said.
For the study, 206 women and 205 men were given therapies to remove the clots, while half in each gender group were also given either 1000 mg of uric acid therapy or a placebo through IV infusion.
In ischemic stroke - the most common form of stroke - a clot lodges in an artery supplying oxygen to the brain.
When doctors successfully remove a clot, oxygen re-enters the brain, but it also releases free radicals, which may damage surrounding tissue.
Uric acid counteracts the release of the free radicals, minimising the damage.
Women were more likely to have irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and other conditions.