Cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) is an unusual form of stroke. It is little researched largely because it accounts for less than 1% of all strokes. Unusually for stroke, CVT affects young adults and is more common in women. Unlike most strokes, which are usually caused by obstruction of the arteries in the brain, CVT is due to blockages of its veins. The mechanisms causing this disease are poorly understood. Some studies have shown that as it can run in families, genetics may be important in this disease.
The researchers have already established an international consortium called BEAST (Biorepository to Establish the Aetiology of Sinovenous Thrombosis), recruiting CVT patients from across Europe and North and South America.
The study will involve the participation of 700 patients with CVT and approximately 3,099 healthy individuals, and represents the largest study and the biggest collaboration in the world on CVT.
The aim is to uncover the biological mechanisms of this disorder by assessing the influence of different factors that may increase the risk for CVT. In addition, the influence of genes on CVT will be assessed by comparing the genome of CVT cases and healthy individuals. A person’s genome is a complete set of their DNA which includes their genes.
The study will provide a much better understanding for the reasons underlying CVT, which is an unusual but very important cause of stroke in young (mainly female) adults. It could lead to a better prediction of who will have a CVT as well as to discovery of specific treatments.