Researchers reported in 2001 that cells taken from umbilical cords after birth may offer a vast source of material - free of the ethical concerns of foetal tissue - for repairing brains damaged by strokes and other ills. In animal experiments, at least, these cells appear to greatly speed recovery after strokes. They work with a simple infusion into the blood stream without the need for direct implantation into the brain. The stem cells are attracted to the stroke part of the brain more than the normal brain, where they are transformed into immature nerve cells and also appear to prompt damaged cells to repair themselves. One or two cords could probably provide enough stem cells to treat one human stroke victim, if the current approach proves useful. The cells could be frozen for use when needed.
According to a review of 27 studies involving more than 30,000 participants (published in the March 31, 2001 issue of the British Medical Journal), a low-fat diet reduced the chance of developing a heart attack or stroke by 16% and reduced the risk of dying from heart disease by 9%. Another significant finding was that the benefits of a low-fat diet were especially evident in those patients who maintained the diet for at least two years.