Most important focus on the Swiss Neuro Foundation is on neurovascular diseases.
Neurovascular disorders are among the most common causes of death and are the main cause of early and long-term disability in adulthood. Neurovascular disorders are very common and often lead to impaired brain function. The most common neurovascular disorders include stroke, vascular dementia, aneurysm and vascular malformations.
Overall, they cause the highest quality of life reduction of patients and their relatives. The brain is particularly well supplied with blood and requires a large part of the cardiac pumping power. The thin-walled cerebellar system is very demanding and vulnerable due to this stress. This affects both arteries and veins. Vascular wall changes and other neurovascular diseases lead to serious consequences for the brain. Thanks to good self-healing tendencies, these changes are often in stable equilibrium for a long time and remain unrecognized. Due to age, there is an increasing derailment and impairment of brain function.
Increasingly, early signs of neurovascular disease are being discovered thanks to modern diagnostics, enabling preventive intervention. Below is a list of the most common neurovascular conditions.
The aneurysm is a localized wall weakness of an artery which progressively bulges in intermittent inflammation of the wall and, if ruptured, may potentially lead to a dangerous cerebral hemorrhage. With a prevalence of 2 – 3%, aneurysms are increasingly being discovered as incidental findings. In order to prevent a complicated bleeding (10/100 000 persons / year), the stability of an aneurysm wall should be thoroughly clarified in case of a chance finding. If there is evidence of instability, the aneurysm can usually be treated with minimal invasive endovascular or neurosurgical treatment. Decision-making is interdisciplinary with the involvement of the patient and the referring physician.
The most frequent vascular fatigue on the arterial side is observed in arteriosclerosis. In this context, but also for other, mostly cardiogenic reasons, it can, more or less localized, come to an acute interruption of the brain circulation and thus the loss of brain functions. Often there are early warning signs which, once recognized, can prevent a dangerous progression of the disease by rapid action. The recognition of cardio-neurovascular risk factors enables preventive intervention and preserves healthy brain function.
The arteriovenous malformations are less common in the brain and spinal vessels. The blood is not delivered to the brain tissue at this point, but is diverted directly into the veins via a short circuit of arteries. This greatly increased circulation can lead to an accelerated occurrence of deterioration of the vascular wall. It can lead to bleeding or by irritation or deficiency symptoms on the adjacent brain tissue to epileptic seizures, headaches or neurological deficits. As a rare disease, vascular malformations are poorly understood and affected patients would benefit from expertise and coordinated research approaches.
The pulsatile tinnitus, an ear noises occurring synchronously with one’s own heartbeat, is a frequent and disturbing symptom of a certain, rare neurovascular disease. In most cases, pulsatile tinnitus is only caused by a venous outflow variant. A specific clarification provides information about cause and treatment options.
Dementia is an increasing critical reduction of brain performance with increasing impairment of perception and social interaction. Dementia affects the mind, language and motor skills, and the entire personality structure. The role of neurovascular disease in dementia is increasingly recognized and could be treated.
Accordingly, the early detection of vascular dementia is critical and allows this portion of brain degeneration to be halted.