Women, but not men, taking uric acid after a stroke may experience less disability, a new study published in Stroke has shown.

Too much uric acid can result in kidney stones or gout; it has also been associated with cardiovascular problems and diabetes. Uric acid is known to counteract the release of free radicals after a clot is successfully removed. Study investigators from Barcelona’s Comprehensive Stroke Center reevaluated 2014 data based on URICO-ICTUS, a randomized double-blind trial of 411 patients admitted to stroke centers. In addition to treating the clots, half in each gender group were given 1000mg uric acid or a placebo via intravenous infusion.

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In the study, 42% of women treated with uric acid after a stroke experienced little to no disability after 90 days vs. 29% of women treated with placebo; no difference was seen among men taking uric acid treatment and placebo. Women were also found to have less dead tissue resulting from lack of blood circulation with uric acid therapy.

Further research is needed before uric acid becomes standard clinical practice, especially in determining whether uric acid can also benefit men with naturally lower levels of uric acid or high blood sugar, researchers concluded.

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