Sunday, December 9, 2012

At The Stroke Of A Key: Online Therapies To Improve Sight Of Stroke Survivors

11/27/2012 6:59 AM ET
Stroke frequently affects vision, and one in five stroke survivors are said to have hemianopia, a condition which refers to partial or total loss of vision in either the right or left sides of one or both eyes. The visual problems following a stroke can severely affect the quality of life of stroke survivors. But all hope need not be lost as researchers from the University College London have developed two new web-based therapies to help stroke survivors improvetheir sight from the comfort of their own home.
The two websites namely, Read-Right and Eye-Search could mark the beginning of a new online era for stroke rehabilitation, helping stroke survivors with everyday tasks like reading a shopping list or identifying an item of clothing from the wardrobe, say the researchers NEXT...

After Stroke, Living in a Home Filled With Bickering, and Love

A conversation between two roommates, Marianela Toro and Ana Ventura, on a recent afternoon consisted of disparaging comments soaked in sarcasm and exasperated sighs that were soon chased with laughter. There was even a weapon brandished: Ms. Ventura, 43, threatened Ms. Toro, 46, with a pillow.
Marilynn K. Yee/The New York Times
Marianela Toro suffered a stroke that caused most of her left side to be paralyzed.  A sister and nephew live with her.
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“Her hobby is screaming,” Ms. Toro said. “She screams all the time.”
“She’s like a child,” Ms. Ventura shot back, and Ms. Toro, an admitted instigator, simply smiled.
Ms. Toro and Ms. Ventura are sisters, sharing an apartment in the Unionport neighborhood of the Bronx. Ms. Ventura’s 12-year-old son, Yadriel Bracero, who had always been close to his aunt, lives with them. Bickering and pranks are commonplace in their home. NEXT...

Frankie Muniz has mini-stroke: 'I couldn't say words'

He says he's "still trying to make sense of it."

10:07AM EST December 5. 2012 - Malcolm in the Middle star Frankie Muniz turns 27 today. And last week, he suffered a mini-stroke.
TMZ reported the news on Tuesday, citing a source was taken to an Arizona ER on Friday when friends noticed he was "acting really weird" -- having trouble speaking and understanding words -- and they got freaked out."
On Good Morning America today the actor/musician explained, "I couldn't say words. I thought I was saying them! My fiance, was looking at me like I was speaking a foreign language."
He was riding his motorcycle in Phoenix on Friday when he lost vision in one eye, he told GMA. His doctors told him he had suffered a mini-stroke. Among people who have had strokes, fewer than 10% are under 45. Muniz says he doesn't drink or do drugs and has never had a cigarette. NEXT....

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Speech long after stroke

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Nearly 800,000 Americans have strokes each year and about 100,000 are left with serious problems communicating, a condition known as aphasia. Research has demonstrated that, with therapy, many of these patients can talk and understand language again. But the process can be slow and expensive.
A new study from the Medical University of South Carolina tallies at least part of that expense by examining Medicare payments to thousands of stroke patients. The study found that people with aphasia tend to be older and sicker than other stroke patients, requiring hospital stays that are on average 6.5 percent longer and Medicare payments that are 8.5 percent higher.
But despite their greater needs, Medicare caps payments for speech and physical therapy after a stroke at less than $1,900. Most private insurance also has strict limits for such rehabilitation.
In light of growing evidence that recovery can continue for some time after the stroke, that philosophy should be reconsidered, says the lead author of the new study, published recently in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.
Without adequate treatment, patients and families suffer "substantial limitations in life participation," said Charles Ellis Jr., associate professor at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Lisa Edmonds, an aphasia researcher at the University of Florida, says some patients continue to make gains for years. "The improvement may not be as steep as it is in the first year, but there is the capacity to continue improving. Some for three, five years after," she said.

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mark Kirk Stroke: Doctors Remove Two Pieces Of Republican Senator's Brain Tissue Destroyed By Stroke

Mark Kirk
Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk remains in serious but stable condition after suffering a stroke over the weekend.
01/26/12 12:14 PM ET   AP

CHICAGO -- Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk remains in serious but stable condition after suffering a stroke over the weekend.
His neurosurgeon said Thursday that doctors have removed two small pieces of brain tissue destroyed by the stroke.
Dr. Richard Fessler of Northwestern Memorial Hospital said Wednesday's surgical procedure is common and is meant to create more space around the brain to accommodate expected swelling. Doctors removed a 4-by-8-inch piece of Kirk's skull, also to allow for swelling during an emergency surgery Sunday...

Head patch watches over stroke patients’ blood flow in brains

Stroke is one of the silent killers just like heart attacks, and the amount of damage it does to the body varies, with many of those who suffered from a stroke before having to live with limited movement as well as slurred speech. Not only that, statistics show that nearly 33% of stroke patients experience another stroke – all the while when they are still stuck in the hospital. Nurses assigned to such patients will have to go the extra mile then to keep a close eye on them, and also to help arrange for such patients to undergo additional tests if they fall under the category of being a high risk case of getting another stroke.
It is rather unfortunate that such tests can prove to be invasive, and in some cases are even potentially harmful to the patient. Good thing advancements in modern medical technology brings good news – there is a spanking new device that is being developed at the Mayo Clinic in Florida, which might eventually be able to monitor the potential advent of another stroke through the simple act of shining light onto a patient’s forehead.

This device is known as near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), where it will be attached to the brow skin just like a sticker. Following that, it measures blood oxygen levels in the brain, and through the emission of near-infrared light that penetrates the scalp, which will in turn proceed about 2.5 centimeters (0.98 inches) into the underlying brain tissue, makes it work similar in nature to the pulse oximeter that is widely used today, although the latter will clamp onto one’s finger.
Standard operating procedures in testing for a stroke will require a CT perfusion scan to be performed, where this will measure blood flow and oxygenation via the use of an introduced contrast medium, and in some cases might actually result in airway or kidney damage. Should multiple scans be required, such a process will also expose the patient to excessive radiation, and that has a risk of cancer as well. Hopefully the new device can be miniaturized eventually for everyday use, including assessing the extent of brain injuries.

New drug could protect brain from stroke damage

A new drug appears to protect the brain against damage from stroke, even if administered hours after the stroke occurs, according to a new study in monkeys.
Monkeys given the drug had less dead brain tissue and showed more improvements on tests of brain function after a stroke, compared with monkeys that did not take the drug.
Testing on primates was important because, over the last half-century, there have been more than 1,000 drugs aimed at preventing brain damage that have failed to work in people, even though they worked well in mice or rats, said study researcher Dr. Michael Tymianski, of the Toronto Western Hospital Research Institute in Canada.