Almost half of women treated with uric acid reported less disability three months after an acute ischemic stroke than women given a placebo, according to a study published online ahead of print July 9 in Stroke.

Senior author Ángel Chamorro, MD, PhD, and colleagues followed 206 women and 205 men who were all given uric acid therapy to remove clots. Half of the people in each gender group were also given either 1,000 mg of uric acid therapy or a placebo through intravenous infusion. Women in the study were an average of seven years older than the men and were more likely to have an irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and other conditions.

The researchers found that 42% of women treated with uric acid therapy following a stroke had little to no disability after 90 days, compared with 29% of women treated with placebo.

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In addition, the investigators found that the women had less dead tissue due to poor blood supply after the therapy. Among men, uric acid therapy showed no benefit. The authors suggested that women may fare better with uric acid therapy because less uric acid tends to circulate in their bodies. 

According to the American Heart Association, 55,000 more women have a stroke, and stroke kills and disables more women than men each year in the United States.