Wednesday, April 29, 2009

AssistiveWare Previews iPhone Text-To-Speech Proloquo2Go

AssistiveWare announced that it will preview its product, Proloquo2Go, which uses Acapela Group's forthcoming iPhone text-to-speech to provide a full-fledged communication solution on the iPhone and iPod touch for people who cannot speak. Also to show is the upcoming version of Infovox iVox, which introduces new British, Italian, Greek, Norwegian and Russian voices for the Mac.

Also to be introduced by AssistiveWare are the GhostReader document and selection reader used by struggling readers and for language learning, the KeyStrokes on-screen keyboard, the SwitchXS switch access solution to Mac OS X, the VisioVoice access solution for people with vision impairments, in addition to the Mac-based Proloquo communication software.

AssistiveWare will also be showcasing the Axiotron Modbook, a tablet Mac providing an ideal platform for assistive technology software because of it's compact form and durable design.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Piracetam (Nootropyl) and aphasia

Excerpts from Smart Drugs & Nutrients

Piracetam (Nootropyl)

by Ward Dean, M.D., and John Morgenthaler

Piracetam is reported to be an intelligence booster and CNS (central nervous system) stimulant with no known toxicity or addictive properties. Piracetam is inexpensive (under $0.85 per day) and available by mail (see appendix A). The subjective effect described by some people is that piracetam, “wakes up your brain.” You'll find more personal accounts of the effects of this remarkable drug in the case histories and testimonials appendix. It's effects and safety are so impressive that piracetam prompted the creation of a new pharmaceutical category called nootropics.

The term nootropic comes from a Greek word meaning “acting on the mind.” Since the invention of piracetam by UCB Laboratories in Belgium, other pharmaceutical companies have been scrambling to develop their own nootropics. Some of them being researched now include; vinpocetine, aniracetam, pramiracetam, and oxiracetam. As yet, there is no nootropic compound that is FDA approved for sale in the US, but there is plenty of motivation on the part of pharmaceutical companies to get that approval. Financial analysts expect that the US market for these cognitive enhancers will soon be in excess of $1-billion per year (Pelton, 1989).

Piracetam is very similar in molecular structure to the amino acid pyroglutamate (see Pyroglutamate). Piracetam and pyroglutamate have the same “base” chemical structure, the 2-oxo-pyrrolidine, but they differ by the side chain. Pyroglutamate is 2-oxo-pyrrolidine carboxylic acid, and piracetam is 2-oxo-pyrrolidine acetamide.

Piracetam enhances cognition under conditions of hypoxia (too little oxygen), and also enhances memory and some kinds of learning in normal humans. Outside of the US, piracetam is used to treat alcoholism, stroke, vertigo, senile dementia, sickle cell anemia, dyslexia, and numerous other health problems (Pelton, 1989).

One of the most intriguing effects of piracetam is that it promotes the flow of information between the right and left hemispheres of the brain (Buresova, 1976). We know that the communication between the two sides of the brain is associated with flashes of creativity. This may also be the basis for piracetam's usefulness in the treatment of dyslexia (Dilanni, 1985).

Friday, April 24, 2009

Treatment gives Liliana new smile


IT is smiles all around for young 12-year-old Liliana Maravu who suffered a brain tumour that had her blind on one eye.

Thanks to treatment she received under the guidance of Canberra neurosurgeon, Dr K Nandan Chandran, Liliana has had a new lease of life.

Travelling to Fiji to help with brain tumour sufferers, Dr Chandran operated on Maravu with the hope of relieving her suffering.

However, complications after the surgery meant that Liliana was bound for Canberra where she would get a second operation with the hope of rectifying the problem.

With the support of the Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children (ROMAC), Liliana’s dream would finally come true as she would travel to Canberra for her operation with her adoptive grandmother, Cecilia Keil.

Lilian accompanied by her grandmother, were hosted in Canberra at the residence of Gungahlin Rotary Club president, Sandra Mahlberg.

She was there until last week in which she was able to see certain specialists who were there to help her in correcting her sight before her return home.

With the kind help from ROMAC who generously offered $20,000 in cash to help the young lady with her hospital costs, Liliana can now breathe a sigh of relief as all her troubles that once haunted her are all just a distant memory.

Her recovery from the operation was somewhat an amazing feat as described by Ms Mahlberg, “she was supposed to have been in hospital for ten days but only spent six days at the hospital and had only a day to content with in ICU.” next.........

talk about tia

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a temporary blood clot in the brain. When you have a TIA, your symptoms are similar to those of stroke and last less than a day, yet most last less than five minutes.1 A TIA may make you feel dizzy or confused, but because it is over so quickly, you may not even realize that you had one.

TIA Can Happen to Anyone

I was a healthy, pregnant 32-year-old when I had one of the most frightening experiences of my life, which lasted an agonizing 40 minutes. It was late winter 2007, and I was in a meeting at work when all of a sudden everything went blurry. This terrible feeling washed over me and I couldn't see my colleagues clearly or spell simple words when taking notes. The right side of my body — my arm, face and leg — went numb. I didn't want to draw attention to myself so I sat very still.

The meeting seemed to drag on forever and I was so confused and scared because I didn't know what was happening to me or if it was going to stop. And then the symptoms went away almost as quickly as they came on. I was relieved to feel okay again, but called my husband and he told me to go to the emergency room immediately.

The emergency room doctor diagnosed me with transient ischemic attack (TIA). I had no idea what a TIA was or what the risk factors for having one were. The doctor gave me some materials to read and my husband and I researched more. We learned that high blood pressure or smoking can increase the risk of having a TIA. Although neither of these apply to me, I learned that TIA really can happen to anyone.

Experiencing a TIA was a wake-up call for me. Now I'm aware of what I need to do to prevent another one, which includes eating a healthy diet and regular check-ups with my doctor. I also get plenty of exercise keeping up with my seven-month-old daughter.

I think it's really important for people of all ages to know the symptoms of TIA — I wish I had known what was happening to me during that meeting at work, and the importance of getting help right away. I want people like me to know that TIA exists and it can happen to them. By knowing the symptoms and what to do if you experience them, you can help reduce the risk of having a TIA or stroke.

Jennifer S.
St. Joseph, Missouri

Having a stroke can be devastating. Almost 70% of stroke survivors will be left with some type of disability. These may include paralysis, vision problems, speech or language problems, or memory loss.2

What causes a TIA?

TIAs are caused by a blood clot that partially blocks normal blood flow to the brain. These blockages usually happen for one the following reasons3: next...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

i report

Just a bump in the road . . .My husband was diagnosed in May 2003 with a GBM IV - had radiation and Chemo for three years and is now cancer free. A beautiful clear MRI! Tumor was in the left frontal area - has expressive aphasia (word finding skills) - walks two miles a day and is loved by his family everyday! Life is good

Monday, April 13, 2009

scanman’s casebook: Case 13

Published by Vijay March 20th, 2009 in Brain, CT, Radiology, casebook

CT Angiography shows severe narrowing of the distal cervical, intracanalicular and supraclinoid segments of left Internal Carotid artery with non-visualized terminal segment and its bifurcation. Left Middle Cerebral artery and A1 segment of left Anterior Cerebral artery are not seen. A2 & A3 segments of left ACA are normal.

Diagnosis: Internal Carotid artery dissection with acute cerebral infarction (MCA territory)

Carotid artery dissection is a significant cause of ischemic stroke in all age groups.Spontaneous internal carotid artery dissection is a common cause of ischemic stroke in patients younger than 50 years and accounts for up to 25% of ischemic strokes in young and middle-aged patients. Dissection of the internal carotid artery can occur intracranially or extracranially, with the latter being more frequent. Internal carotid artery dissection can be caused by major or minor trauma, or it can be spontaneous in which case genetic, familial, and/or heritable disorders are likely etiologies. Patients can present in a variety of settings, such as a trauma bay with multiple traumatic injuries; their physician’s office with nonspecific head, neck, or face pain; or to the emergency department with a partial Horner syndrome. A high index of suspicion is required to make this difficult diagnosis. Sophisticated imaging techniques, which have improved over the last two decades, are required to confirm the presence of dissection.

Further Reading:

1. Case of Carotid Dissection with stroke at - completely worked up with plain CT, DW MRI, CT Perfusion & DSA images.
2. Dissection, Carotid Artery - article in Medscape Radiology [Registration required, Free]
3. Acute Cerebral Infarction - case in BrighamRad.