After a stroke, the brain can be flooded by salty water, causing a swelling known as cerebral oedema. For many years, scientists believed this water was coming from blood getting into the brain. But breakthrough research—enabled by new technologies that allow scientists to look into the brain during a stroke—suggests that this water is coming from an entirely different source: cerebrospinal fluid.

The findings, published Jan. 30 in the journal Science, point to potential treatments to subdue swelling in the brain and improve patients’ recovery after stroke.

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