Stroke is the second leading cause of death and a major contributor to disability worldwide. The prevalence of stroke is highest in developing countries, with ischemic stroke being the most common type. Considerable progress has been made in our understanding of the pathophysiology of stroke and the underlying mechanisms leading to ischemic insult. Stroke therapy primarily focuses on restoring blood flow to the brain and treating stroke-induced neurological damage. Lack of success in recent clinical trials has led to significant refinement of animal models, focus-driven study design and use of new technologies in stroke research. Simultaneously, despite progress in stroke management, post-stroke care exerts a substantial impact on families, the healthcare system and the economy. Improvements in pre-clinical and clinical care are likely to underpin successful stroke treatment, recovery, rehabilitation and prevention. In this review, we focus on the pathophysiology of stroke, major advances in the identification of therapeutic targets and recent trends in stroke research.
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