Skip to page content
Return to Top

News and Information

Discovery by Tarleton professor could prevent brain death after cardiac arrest
Vital signs on a computer screen

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

STEPHENVILLE, Texas—A discovery by Tarleton State University’s Dr. Myoung-gwi Ryou and a team of Texas researchers could prevent brain death after cardiac arrest. The team’s findings are featured in the May issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to biomedical research.

The researchers found that protective enzymes are deactivated in the brain following cardiac arrest and CPR, but an intravenous infusion of pyruvate preserves their activities. The team’s research shows that pyruvate—a natural, energy-yielding fuel and antioxidant—prevents brain cell death after cardiac arrest.

“More than 500,000 people in the U.S. suffer cardiac arrest annually,” Ryou said, “and cardiac arrest is devastating because it severely injures the brain. Those who are fortunate enough to survive cardiac arrest may be at increased risk of developing senile dementia.

“This study shows that methylglyoxal, a toxic metabolic byproduct, accumulates in the brain during cardiac arrest but could be dampened by the pyruvate treatment,” he explained. Pyruvate preserves the brain’s natural defenses against methylglyoxal when given in a timely fashion. We believe our research could foster development of treatments like pyruvate that augment the mechanisms that protect the brain from methylglyoxal and other toxic metabolites.”

Other team members are Drs. Gary Scott, Anh Nguyen, Brandon Cherry and Robert Mallet, and Roger Hollrah and Arthur Williams Jr., all with the University of North Texas Health Science Center’s Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Center, and Dr. Isabella Salinas, St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.

Ryou received his doctorate in biomedical sciences from the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

Tarleton, a member of The Texas A&M University System, provides a student-focused, value-driven educational experience marked by academic innovation and exemplary service, and dedicated to transforming students into tomorrow’s professional leaders. With campuses in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian and online, Tarleton engages with its communities to provide real-world learning experiences and to address societal needs while maintaining its core values of integrity, leadership, tradition, civility, excellence and service.


Contact: Dr. Myoung-gwi Ryou

<< Back

Vital signs on a computer screen