Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death and permanent disability. Most victims succumb to the oxidative and inflammatory damage sustained during cardiac arrest/resuscitation, but even survivors typically battle long-term neurocognitive impairment. Although extensive research has delineated the complex mechanisms that culminate in neuronal damage and death, no effective treatments have been developed to interrupt these mechanisms. Of importance, many of these injury cascades are also active in the aging brain, where neurons and other cells are under persistent oxidative and inflammatory stress which eventually damages or kills the cells. In light of these similarities, it is reasonable to propose that the brain essentially ages the equivalent of several years within the few minutes taken to resuscitate a patient from cardiac arrest. Accordingly, cardiac arrest-resuscitation models may afford an opportunity to study the deleterious mechanisms underlying the aging process, on an accelerated time course. The aging and resuscitation fields both stand to gain pivotal insights from one another regarding the mechanisms of injury sustained during resuscitation from cardiac arrest and during aging. This synergism between the two fields could be harnessed to foster development of treatments to not only save lives but also to enhance the quality of life for the elderly.
- Oxidative Stress