Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Singing Therapy Helps Stroke Patients Speak Aga

Singing Therapy Helps Stroke Patients Speak Again

Laurel Fontaine, 16, (left) and her twin sister Heather. When Laurel was 11 years old, she suffered a stroke that destroyed 80 percent of the left side of her brain. The singing therapy helped her regain the ability to speak.
Enlarge Ellen Webber for NPR Laurel Fontaine, 16, (left) and her twin sister Heather. When Laurel was 11 years old, she suffered a stroke that destroyed 80 percent of the left side of her brain. The singing therapy helped her regain the ability to speak.
Debra Meyerson was hiking near Lake Tahoe 15 months ago when a stroke destroyed part of the left side of her brain, leaving her literally speechless. It happens to more than 150,000 Americans a year.
But now Meyerson is learning to talk again through an approach that trains the undamaged right side of her brain to "speak." Specifically, it's a region that controls singing.
For more than 100 years, it's been known that people who can't speak after injury to the speech centers on the left side of the brain can sing.
In the 1970s, Boston researchers started to use a sort of.....

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Chocolate lovers have fewer strokes, study finds

Nikola Solic  /  REUTERS
Chocolates made by Belgian Christine Scholtes Covic are displayed in her Lika Chocolate workshop in the village of Rakovica, in the Croatian region of Lika, some 150 kilometres (93 miles) south of Zagreb January 21, 2011. REUTERS/Nikola Solic

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A sweet tooth isn't necessarily bad for your health-- at least not when it comes to chocolate, hints a new study.
Researchers studying more than 33,000 Swedish women found that the more chocolate women said they ate, the lower their risk of stroke.
The results add to a growing body of evidence linking cocoa consumption to heart health, but they aren't a free pass to gorge on chocolate.
"Given the observational design of the study, findings from this study cannot prove that it's chocolate that lowers the risk of stroke," Susanna Larsson from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm told Reuters Health in an email.
While she believes chocolate has health benefits, she also warned that eating too much of it could be counterproductive.
"Chocolate should be consumed in moderation as it is high in calories, fat, and sugar," she said. "As dark chocolate contains more cocoa and less sugar than milk chocolate, consumption of dark chocolate would be more beneficial."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Trial Shows Blockbuster Potential for Blood Clot Pill

An experimental pill to prevent blood clots exceeded already high expectations as a better therapy for millions of people with atrial fibrillation, according to final results of a worldwide study released Sunday.
The study was featured at the European Society of Cardiology in Paris and simultaneously published on the Web site of The New England Journal of Medicine.
“It’s a remarkable achievement,” said Dr. Valentin Fuster, a past president of American and world heart associations, who was not involved with the trial. “This is one of the most significant advances in cardiovascular medicine in the last five years, no question,” Dr. Fuster, chairman of federal and medical panels on atrial fibrillation and director of the heart center at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, said in an interview..... 


Empathy can limit stroke-related frustration

Imagine your thoughts directing your brain to communicate a desire, idea or command, but your mouth won't speak the words and your hands won't write the correct letters.

Now, if you are born this way, there are methods to teach a baby how to compensate for this handicap.

But, what if, in an instant, you are deprived of the ability to communicate and the world is indifferent to your plight?

This is exactly what happened to my mom. Last July, in the dark loneliness of the night, she suffered a small stroke, which abruptly altered her ability to communicate...... http://bit.ly/ns52rw

Potassium-rich diet tied to lower stroke risk

(Reuters Health) - People who eat plenty of high-potassium fruits, vegetables and dairy products may be less likely to suffer a stroke than those who get little of the mineral, a new study suggests.
The findings, reported in the journal Stroke, come from an analysis of 10 international studies involving more than 200,000 middle-aged and older adults.
Researchers found that across those studies, stroke risk dipped as people's reported potassium intake went up. For each 1,000-milligram (mg) increase in daily potassium, the odds of suffering a stroke in the next five to 14 years declined by 11 percent.
That would translate into a modest benefit for any one person, the researchers say. And the findings do not prove that potassium, itself, is what produces the positive effect.
But they strengthen existing evidence that it might, said lead researcher Susanna C. Larsson, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.
Since high-potassium foods are generally healt.....


Body & Mind - HEALTH Lung Cancer Linked to Risk of Stroke

Heart ECG


People recently diagnosed with lung cancer are at higher risk of having a stroke than those without lung tumors, suggests a large new study from Taiwan.

Researchers looking at data covering more than 150,000 adults found that among those with lung cancer, 26 in every 1000 experienced a stroke each year, compared with 17 in 1000 who did not have cancer.

"This is one more telling sign of the long term risk of smoking," said Dr. Andrew Russman, a stroke specialist at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, who was not part of the study.

The Taiwanese researchers didn't factor in lifestyle issues, such as smoking, drinking or diet, that might influence stroke risk, explained senior author, Dr. Fung-Chang Sung of the China Medical University, to Reuters Health in an email.

Still, they report in the journal Stroke, that stroke risk was highest during the first three months after lung cancer diagnosis for men and during the first four-to-six months for women. Risk decreased in men after one year and after two years in women.

They also found that a less common type of stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, caused by sudden bleeding into the brain, occurred more often among the lung cancer patients than ischemic stroke, which is usually caused by a clot blocking blood flow to brain tissue.

Some evidence suggests that excessive bleeding and blood clots, both of wh

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/09/22/lung-cancer-linked-to-risk-stroke/#ixzz1ZAipi0NF

Monday, September 26, 2011

George Seldes Recounts Meeting V.I. Lenin

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Depression tied to higher risk for stroke

People who are depressed are at greater risk for suffering a stroke, a new study indicates.

Having other medical conditions that are also risk factors for stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure could be one of the reasons for the link between depression and stroke.

Hemera Technologies, www.jupiterimages.com

Having other medical conditions that are also risk factors for stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure could be one of the reasons for the link between depression and stroke.


Hemera Technologies, www.jupiterimages.com

Having other medical conditions that are also risk factors for stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure could be one of the reasons for the link between depression and stroke.
Ads by Google
Depression Outreach StudyFor People Taking Antidepressants
But Still Experiencing Symptoms.www.DepressionOutreachStudy.com
Depression ResearchNew medication for patients who are
taking other antidepressants. Applywww.trialreach.com
Fight Preventable DeathsTobacco will kill a billion people
unless leaders take action today.www.mikebloomberg.com

Harvard researchers pointed out that the findings could have a significant impact on public health since stroke is a leading cause of death and permanent disability.

Researchers analyzed 28 previous studies, which involved a total of almost 318,000 people and 8,478 stroke cases. The investigators found that depression was associated with a 45 percent increased risk for stroke and a 55 percent raised risk for fatal stroke.

The study, published in the Sept. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, also .... http://usat.ly/p9gMNF

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Study Is Ended as a Stent Fails to Stop Strokes

A promising but expensive device to prop open blocked arteries in the brain in the hope of preventing disabling or fatal strokes failed in a rigorous study, researchers reported on Wednesday. Those who got the device actually had so many more strokes than those assigned to control risk factors, like blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes, that the study was abruptly terminated.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the device six years ago on the basis of a humanitarian exemption, which did not require solid evidence that it would prevent strokes. Thousands of patients got the devices since then, according to the study’s lead researcher. The finding that the devices actually more than doubled the rate of stroke or death raised serious questions about whether the F.D.A.’s procedures for approving such a medical device ended up putting patients at risk.


Stroke talk

Restoring speech and communication after a stroke.


Sharon (not her real name) suffered a stroke. On our first meeting, I remember vividly her body language, which was much more expressive than any sentence she could put together. It displayed total openness, and her eyes said it all – “Can you help me?”

Although she understood all that took place around her, and showed this by her head nods and hand gestures as we spoke, she had significant trouble when she attempted to speak.
Rehabilitation is an essential part of the life of a person living with stroke. This not only applies to motor functioning, but also to speech and language skills.

As with a few of my other patients, without asking, she gestured me to listen to her speak. “Bow (one), bu (two), tatatata (three), orh (four) ,” she counted one to four, raising each functional left finger as she spoke.

She then raised her hands in exasperation, and gestured, “Can you fix this?”

My first thought was, “Here is a remarkable woman, a fighter,” and our journey to recovery began.

Surviving a stroke brings a new facet of life, not only to the stroke survivor, but to their loving caregivers as well.

“Stroke” by definition means “sudden”. It is commonly used in daily language, such as a stroke of luck, a stroke of lightning, and such. It is aptly use by laypersons to depict a cerebral vascular accident (abbreviated as CVA).

A stroke is the sudden death of a portion of the brain due to the lack of oxygen. A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is hampered, resulting in abnormal function of the brain. It is caused by blockage or rupture of an artery in the brain.

Sudden are all its changes. A stroke leads to challenges in walking, eating, everyday self-help skills, speaking, communicating, thinking, information processing, judgement, personality change, and much more.

Needless to say, the magnitude of change and the challenges it poses are different for each person, and so is its recovery.

Frightening is often a word that describes the feeling of many.
Encourage the stroke-affected person to maintain his social life. A good social life builds up one’s confidence and motivation to regain speech, language and communication skills.

Recovery after a stroke

After a stroke, some spontaneous recovery takes place for most people. Abilities that may have been lost will begin to return.

This process can take place very quickly over the first few weeks, and then, it may begin to taper off.

This can be a very frustrating time for the stroke survivor as they become aware of their limitations from the stroke.

Often, this is the period where anger or depression can set in.

During this period, and even months after, it is helpful to begin intensive rehabilitation to help with regaining lost skills.

In more recent times, researchers and clinicians have been studying and documenting the evidence of what we now know as brain plasticity (plasticine-ness if there is such a word). Although not fully understood, it is certain now that the brain is able to change, reorganising itself following damage such that the remaining healthy cells of the brain are able to take over jobs that were previously carried out by brain cells which were destroyed.

This means that certain lost functions, such as speech and language, can re-emerge as the result of intensive rehabilitation. One way to do this is to practise your speech, language and thinking skills on a DAILY BASIS.

Speech disorders after a stroke can take the form of dysarthria – commonly referring to speech problems due to weak muscles; dyspraxia – referring to the inability to coordinate and perform speech and oral movements in spite of having no paralysis or muscle damage.

Language deficits are known as aphasia. Aphasia affects all modes of expressive and receptive communication, including speaking, writing, reading, understanding and gesturing.

This can be loosely grouped into either receptive aphasia (understanding skills) or expressive aphasia (expression skills).

Needless to say, this means a myriad of possible combinations of the above challenges.

It is NOT helpful to compare Mr Ahmad to Mr Ali in the hopes of encouraging our loved ones to work hard. Constant, reliable support is a great accompaniment to stroke recovery.

Restoring speech

Speech language pathologists are qualified professionals who can assist your family by assessing, planning, working individually or demonstrating what you can do to help with restoring speech and language skills at home.

In Malaysia, most government hospitals have at least one attending speech language pathologist today.

Others can be found at private hospital set-ups, private centres or home-based visiting clinicians.

Every person can be an element of support and encouragement. Here are a few things to bear in mind:

1. Reassure the person that he/she is still needed and important. Include him/her in family activities and decisions even if the verbal output is minimal.

2. Encourage the person to maintain his social life. A good social life builds up one’s confidence and motivation to regain his/her speech language and communication skills. Invite his/her friends over (with permission) for casual chats.

3. Make speaking a pleasant experience and provide stimulating conversation. Tell him/her what’s been happening, share with him/her no matter what sort of response you get. Ignore errors when possible and avoid criticisms/corrections.

4. Take a calm, friendly, respectful approach when communicating. Remember that you are speaking to an adult.

5. Find a quiet place to talk. If not, minimise or eliminate background noise (such as television, radio, other people).

6. Allow time for the person to understand what you say and to formulate his responses.

In Malaysia, we have a growing prevalence of stroke. It has been reported that six Malaysians experiencing a stroke EVERY hour, and about 52,000 Malaysians suffer a stroke annually.


After countless therapy sessions and the sheer hard work that she put in daily with the support of her loved ones, Sharon now enjoys communication, speaks confidently, and is actively giving back to society in her own way.

Albeit needing more time than others, she is now back on both the mobile and email network, is able to cook, read, and drive herself places (after having her car suitably modified).

If you suspect someone of having a possible stroke, act F.A.S.T.

F – Face: Ask them to smile and see if it’s even.

A – Arms: Ask them to raise both arms and notice if one drops, or can’t be raised equally well.

S – Speech: Ask them to repeat a sentence and note if it’s perfect.

T – Time: Time is off the essence to prevent further damage, so get them to a hospital FAST.

If we have family members or colleagues at work who are at risk of having a stroke from an unhealthy sedentary lifestyle, obesity, smoking, and a failure to control their hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol, paste this reminder on your fridge or your office billboard. You may just give them a second chance at life.

> Pamela Thomas Joseph is a speech language pathologist and a member of the Malaysian Association of Speech Language & Hearing (MASH). She will be running a workshop for caregivers on September 24, 2011, in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. For details, contact Coreen at 013-3301728 or email her at coreen@trainingtrack.biz.

Authors@Google: Dr. John Ratey

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Psoriasis may increase stroke risk

Diane Alter – AHN News Trivia Writer

Copengagen, Denmark (AHN) – A new Danish study says psoriasis may increase stroke risk.

A new study published online Aug. 12 in the European Heart Journal found that people who suffer with psoriasis had three times the increased risk of atrial fibrillation, and a 2.8 times increased risk for stroke. The findings add to the growing research linking the skin disorder with heart and vessel problems, including heart attack and cardiovascular disease.

Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes rough, red, itchy, dry and flaky skin. It is a common condition thought to be passed down through families, but is not contagious. It also causes inflammation in the body and may lead a host of other health related problems.

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, about 7.5 million Americans, or 2.2 percent of the U.S. population, and 12 million people worldwide, suffer with this auto-immune skin disease.

The mother of missing estate agent Suzy Lamplugh has died aged 75

The mother of an estate agent who disappeared 24 years ago has died after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Women's safety campaigner Diana Lamplugh OBE, of East Sheen, died in her sleep at the age of 75 yesterday, after suffering her second massive stroke in the past nine years.

Mrs Lamplugh’s daughter Suzy, who was living in Putney at the time of her disappearance, went missing in 1986 after going to meet a client for a house viewing. She was never seen again.

The traumatic event led parents Diana and Paul Lamplugh to establish the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, which made a name for itself as a national charity that championed the importance of personal safety.

Paul Infield, chairman of the charity’s board of trustees, paid tribute to the inspirational mother of four.

He said: “Diana was one of those people who contributed energy, focus and commitment to everything she did.

“With her husband, Paul, she was tireless in establishing, through the trust, the concept of and discipline for personal safety – now a household expression - as a positive life skill for people of all ages and occupations.

“Her message is as relevant today as when she started campaigning following Suzy's disappearance. While she will be sorely missed, the trustees and staff of the Trust are determined that our work will continue to fulfil Diana's vision of improving people’s personal safety.”

Before her illness Diana led the trust in campaigning for changes in law and procedures regarding safer working practices, safer travel in minicabs, and safer travel on trains and safer stations.

She also championed greater safety in car parks, stricter treatment and sentencing of sex offenders, better systems of helping vulnerable young people and victims of crime, protection from stalking and harassment, and changes in the treatment of young offenders.

For more information about the trust visit suzylamplugh.org.

Test for Calcium Buildup May Spot Heart Attack, Stroke Risk Scan may help predict which patients deemed at moderate risk would benefit from statins: study

THURSDAY, Aug. 18 (HealthDay News) -- A calcium test performed with the assistance of a CT scanner seems to provide insight into the likelihood that certain patients at moderate risk of heart problems will have a heart attack or stroke, researchers say.
Click here to find out more!

The test to detect coronary calcium can help physicians determine whether the patients should take cholesterol-lowering drugs to reduce their cardiovascular risks, the study authors explained.

At issue are people who fall into the middle area between those who are at high risk of heart problems due to factors like high blood pressure and those who are at low risk. People in the so-called "gray zone" may have risk factors, such as being overweight or having high blood sugar levels, but they aren't considered in great danger.

The question is: Should those in the middle range of risk -- an estimated 6 million people in the United States -- be prescribed the anticholesterol drugs known as statins, which often work well but have side effects?

The study, published in the Aug. 19 issue of The Lancet, sought to determine whether a test of calcium in the arteries is more helpful at estimating risk than a blood test that examines levels of C-reactive protein.

The researchers tracked 2,083 people for six years. They found that 13 percent of those with the highest levels of calcium in their arteries had a heart attack or stroke during that time period. But just 2 percent of those with high levels of C-reactive protein -- and no calcium buildup -- had a heart attack or stroke.

Not everyone needs a calcium test, said lead study author Dr. Michael J. Blaha, a cardiology fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. However, he stated in a Hopkins news release, "we believe looking for calcification in coronary vessels in certain patients makes sense in order to predict who may benefit from statin therapy, because the test gets right to the heart of the disease we want to treat."

"Our data support recent American Heart Association guidelines, which say it is reasonable to order a coronary calcium scan for adults who are considered to be at intermediate risk of a heart attack over the next 10 years. A high coronary calcium score would indicate that statin therapy would likely be a useful strategy to lower that person's cardiovascular risk," study co-investigator Dr. Roger Blumenthal, director of the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease at Johns Hopkins University, said in the news release.

Commenting on the study, cardiologist Dr. Vijay Nambi, an assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine, said that most insurance companies don't cover the calcium tests, which cost in the range of $200-$400. "Sometimes people have to pay for it out of pocket," said Nambi, who thinks it's a useful test. "It helps physicians in a lot of respects."

Test results can also help patients make decisions when they're worried about taking anticholesterol drugs, Nambi added. http://bit.ly/q8MtPP

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Memory Problems May Be Sign of Stroke Risk

Memory Problems May Be Sign of Stroke Risk

TEHRAN (FNA)- Findings of a new study showed that people who have memory problems or other declines in their mental abilities may be at higher risk for stroke.

The study is scheduled to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 63rd Annual Meeting in Honolulu April 9 to April 16, 2011.

"Finding ways to prevent stroke and identify people at risk for stroke are important public health problems," said study author Abraham J. Letter of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

"This study shows we might get a better idea of who is at high risk of stroke by including a couple simple tests when we are evaluating people who already have some stroke risk," Letter added.

For the study, researchers gave tests to people age 45 and older who had never had a stroke, then contacted them twice a year by phone for up to 4.5 years to determine whether they had suffered a stroke.

The average age of the participants was 67. Strokes were then confirmed by medical records. A total of 14,842 people took a verbal fluency test, measuring the brain's executive functioning skills, and 17,851 people took a word recall memory test.

The study was part of a larger study called the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. During the study, 123 participants who had taken the verbal fluency test and 129 participants who had taken the memory test experienced a stroke.

Those who scored in the bottom 20 percent for verbal fluency were 3.6 times more likely to develop a stroke than those who scored in the top 20 percent. For the memory test, those who scored in the bottom 20 percent were 3.5 times more likely to have a stroke than those in the top 20 percent.

The difference in stroke incidence rates between those with the bottom and top 20 percent of scores was 3.3 strokes per thousand person-years. In general, the differences remained after researchers adjusted for age, education, race and where participants lived.

At age 50, those who scored in the bottom 20 percent of the memory test were 9.4 times more likely to later have a stroke than those in the top 20 percent, but the difference was not as large at older ages. more read...

Fighting heart disease and stroke

Liverpool, NY (WSYR-TV) The American Heart Association held its annual Heart Walk Saturday at Long Branch Park in Liverpool.

The walk raises money for lifesaving research, programs and education, while celebrating survivors of heart attack, heart surgery and stroke.

About 5,000 people took up the cause.

"Well it's encouraging to see this and there is certainly a need for this kind of event to support the cause and to make sure this is top most in people's minds,” said AHA volunteer James Jerose.

more read...

Klein could live with dementia for years, says exper

Klein could live with dementia for years, says expert

Last Updated: April 8, 2011 5:37pm
.articleControls.thin { height: 80px; }.articleControls.thin .share div { text-align: center; }.articleControls.thin .share span { display: block; }
Dementia is an umbrella term to describe a number of neurological diseases, with between 5 and 10% of them affecting the frontal temporal lobe, as is the case with former premier Ralph Klein.
Klein falls within the normal age bracket for the disease, said Price, and people diagnosed with this form of aphasia usually live an average of five to seven years, said Sarah Price, director of dementia care with the Alzheimer Society of Calgary.
“But we know people can live 20 years with Alzheimer’s Disease so it really has a lot to do with the individual themselves,” said Price.
“Their health and how much of the brain is affected, it’s all very individualized."
Klein, 68, was diagnosed April 1 with primary progressive aphasia, a form of frontal temporal dementia.
“What that means is the two regions of the brain that are primarily responsible for language, some memory and sort of how we behave in society are affected,” said Pirce.
“With this particular diagnosis, aphasia means language, the ability to understand, comprehend and articulate ourselves.
“Over time, because it’s a progressive type of dementia, other aspects will become affected that are more commonly known, like memory loss and the abilities to walk and ambulate fluently.”
Progression of frontal temporal lobe dementia is typically slow, said Price.
“Often times with any type of dementia, it’s been progressing for a couple of years until the point that the family says, ‘you know what, something is wrong.’”
About 12,000 Calgarians suffer from dementia and warning signs are often overlooked or not immediately recognized, said Price.
“You’re looking for something vastly different than someone’s normal behaviour or way of doing things,” she said.
“With the language, you’re looking for those word finding difficulties.”
Ten warning signs of dementia:
1 Memory loss that affects day-to-day function
2 Difficulty performing familiar tasks
3 Problems with language
4 Disorientation of time and place
5 Poor or decreased judgement
6 Problems with abstract thinking
7 Misplacing things
8 Changes in mood or behaviour
9 Changes in personality
10 Loss of initiative
— source: Alzheimer Society of Calgary
more read...

Mobile app MyVoice reportedly benefits people with communication challenges

Individuals facing communication challenges due to aphasia or autism can look forward towards the latest offering. University of Toronto scientists have now introduced a mobile app named MyVoice for those living with aphasia, autism and other conditions that affect speech ability. Also a server system has been created that operates on iPhone and Android devices.The novel app enables users to communicate by simply tapping words and pictures on a screen. Scientists have developed MyVoice to seemingly improve communication confidence, participation and independence. This assistive and augmentative communication device brings in location-aware vocabulary that suggests useful words and phrases based on a user’s location.
“This is an excellent example of how university research makes a direct and positive impact on the challenges that face people around the world. MyVoice is just one of the many projects our Innovations and Partnerships Office is developing with U of T faculty so we can move our brilliant research from our campuses to the global marketplace,” Professor Paul Young, vice-president (research).
The app instantly generates items like ‘Timbits’ and ‘Double Double’ for use in conversation. It comes with an average price tag of $12,000 and the full featured version for a $30 monthly subscription cost. The device is currently employed at a school in the Toronto District School Board.
The mobile app MyVoice is funded by Google, Android and  more read...

Sweet Tweets for Ralph Klein

Sweet Tweets for Ralph Klein

Calgary Herald April 10, 2011

* Story
* Photos ( 1 )

Former Alberta Premier Ralph Klein and his wife Colleen relax at their Calgary home, April 7, 2011. He has been diagnosed with progressive non-fluent aphasia, which is a type of dementia.

Former Alberta Premier Ralph Klein and his wife Colleen relax at their Calgary home, April 7, 2011. He has been diagnosed with progressive non-fluent aphasia, which is a type of dementia.
Photograph by: Don Braid, Postmedia News

Earlier this week we learned that former premier Ralph Klein has been diagnosed with "frontal temporal dementia, consistent with primary progressive aphasia." Tweeters from all over the world showed their support for the ex-premier.

Here's what some had to say:

~ Best wishes to Ralph Klein. Very sad news. "I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life." - Ronald Reagan.

~ Best wishes to Ralph Klein & his family.

~ Ralph Klein: We may not agree w/ his politics, but his wit (e.g. McGuinty's premature speculation) will B missed

~ Ralph Klein is extremely worthy of our respect, politics aside. He strived for his province, something we all would do as Premier

~ Loved this guy when I lived in Calgary in the 80's

~ Sad to hear Ralph Klein is battling dementia; stealing his voice, one that we may not of always agreed with, but one that was strong & clear

~ Thoughts and prayers going out to Ralph Klein. He may have been controversial, but I have nothing but respect for the guy.

~ I read the story about Ralph Klein and one of the things that made me saddest is that he was a voracious reader who can no longer read. : (

~ Sad to see that we're losing one of Alberta's strongest voices

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/health/Sweet+Tweets+Ralph+Klein/4590371/story.html#ixzz1JpNua7pv

Innovative Medical Technologies Help to Rehabilitate Patients’ Mental and Physical Abilities

Employing approaches that include computer gaming methods, virtual reality and robotics, New Zealand researchers are at the forefront of developing new medical technologies that help patients regain cognitive and physical abilities following stroke, trauma or other debilitating illness.
“We are today seeing the emergence of diverse scientific efforts throughout New Zealand’s research institutions and companies that are generating innovative new technologies and products directed at helping those recovering from serious injuries or illness more fully participate in daily life,” said George Arnold, Program Manager, Health, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. “Many of these advances are resulting from the effective convergence of computer science and medical technology.”
For example, a computer game-like system developed by scientists at New Zealand’s Crown Research Institute, Industrial Research Limited (IRL), and licensed to start-up company, Im-Able Ltd., uses a handlebar-like air mouse and a series of simple computer exercises to improve arm movements, coordination and cognitive skills of patients with neurological or musculoskeletal impairment. “Patient feedback to date has been beyond our expectations, with patients reporting gains in function from use of the Able-X device, even many years after their stroke injury,” said Sunil Vather, Ph.D., Chief Executive of Im-Able. “An affordable product designed for easy use at home, the Able-X allows patients to continue their rehabilitation in their own time and speed once they have left the hospital or rehabilitation facility.” Already commercially available in New Zealand and Australia, Dr. Vather noted that the company planned to seek both U.S. FDA approval and a European CE Mark for the product during 2011.
Research at the University of Canterbury under a program led by Professor Tanja Mitrovic is aimed at extending 16 years of research advances in the field of artificial intelligence and computer-based learning to helping patients improve their cognitive skills following a stroke. “We hope to use the knowledge we’ve gained in creating responsive computer-based learning environments for students at the university and high school level, to develop systems that can evaluate an individual stroke patient’s skills and respond with appropriately challenging tasks that help improve their attention and working memory,” said Prof. Mitrovic. The multi-disciplinary research effort, which includes collaboration with Dr. Stellan Ohlsson, Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois, Chicago, is supported by a prestigious Marsden Fund grant for fundamental scientific research from the Royal Society of New Zealand.
Advances in robotics are also helping wheelchair users to increase their mobility and ability to overcome barriers in daily life, as illustrated by Rex, the robotic exoskeleton. Designed and built in New Zealand by Rex Bionics, Rex is not a replacement for the wheelchair, but it enables people who cannot walk because of spinal cord injury or with chronic physical conditions such as muscular dystrophy to stand, walk, turn, and climb stairs and slopes. “Rex enables users to stand and socialize or work, and to overcome many day-to-day obstacles like climbing a few steps into a building or using a standard kitchen,” said Jenny Morel, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Rex Bionics. “In addition, there are well documented medical benefits associated with standing and walking, such as improved circulation and bone density, better skin condition, fewer bladder infections and pressure sores that can come with extensive wheelchair use.”
“I’ve found the New Zealand medical technology sector’s creativity and desire to explore and innovate to be extremely exciting,” says Professor Jonathan Sackier of the University of Virginia, who has played a significant role in the development of many medical technologies and serves as a director to Rex Bionics. “A surprisingly large number of innovative medical products with the potential to significantly help those whose lives are affected by injury or chronic illness are coming out of this small country.” more read....

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Finding the Words: New Brain Stimulation Technique Shows Promise for People with Aphasia

A stroke, the medical term for when blood and nutrients are cut off from the brain, can have a devastating effect on a person’s ability to communicate. Words that once came naturally for even simple objects before the stroke—such as a chair, a pen, or an apple—are suddenly difficult if not impossible to retrieve. Although some people may recover their language skills in time, for others, the effects can be chronically debilitating.
Such differences in patient outcomes have scientists from the University of South Carolina delving deeper into this language disorder—called aphasia—which results when language centers of the brain are damaged by stroke, head injury, or other causes. In new NIDCD-funded research, they’ve demonstrated not only how important the location of the brain damage is in predicting how well a person will respond to aphasia therapy, they are also investigating a new method for stimulating brain-damaged regions in people with aphasia, in hopes of increasing brain plasticity and perhaps improving word recall.
In research published in the September 15, 2010, issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, Julius Fridriksson, Ph.D., studied 26 patients who experienced chronic aphasia after suffering a stroke that damaged the brain’s left hemisphere, where the language centers are found. He wanted to observe whether treating patients for anomia, an impairment associated with aphasia in which a person has difficulty naming certain objects, can help increase neural activity in key regions of the brain. (Although there are several types of aphasia and each has a variety of symptoms, anomia is a symptom that all people with aphasia have in common.) He also wanted to learn if damage to certain regions of the brain had a particularly negative effect on the successfulness of a patient’s treatment.  more read...

Using light to probe the brain's self-repair after a stroke

A revolutionary new technique is allowing Canadian researchers to map, with exquisite precision, how the brain repairs itself after a stroke.
Optogenetics gives neuroscientists the ability to control brain circuits in laboratory animals with lasers, to turn cells on or off with a flash of light. It offers a new way to probe what different parts of the brain do and could lead to new treatments for a variety of neurological conditions.

Stroke Awareness Resource Center May is National Stroke Awareness Month

awareness action icons

Introducing the
Stroke Awareness Resource Center

Welcome! Learn how to raise stroke awareness during National Stroke Awareness Month in May and throughout the year. Public knowlege of stroke is low. It is time for stroke champions to band together and elevate stroke in the mindset of everyone in the U.S. Simple prevention and treatment education can help reduce stroke incidence. Influence loved ones to adopt healthier lifestyles and  decision-makers to advocate for stroke by sharing personal stories. Explore the Resource Center and make stroke your cause today. More read.........

Sunday, March 27, 2011

BrainGate Turning Thought into Action


For people with locked-in syndrome - the inability to move and to speak despite being fully awake and alert (for example, due to brainstem injury or ALS) - restoration of easy communication is a priority. Our research team is developing technologies that would re-enable the ability to control a cursor on a computer screen or to type on a virtual keyboard, simply by thinking about the movement of one's own hand (for example, as if controlling a computer mouse). Initial progress toward this can be seen at:
more read.....
Research supported by:

Rehabilitation R&D Service, Department of Veterans Affairs logo National Institutes of Health logo National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering logo The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development logo National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders logo National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke logo  
National Science Foundation logo

Brain Waves Harnessed To Play Music

Using the power of the brain has long been a science fiction staple. Eduardo Miranda, composer and computer-music teacher, has created a system where someone can play music with their mind. The brain-computer interface tracks and picks up neural impulses from your brains and translates them into musical notes. The type of technology is not entirely new as other types of brain-computer interfaces let people control prosthetic limbs and even type on a computer with their thoughts.

To use the system you have to don an EEG skull cap and concentrate on four “buttons” on a screen. When a user focuses on a button, their brain fires of a unique series of impulses specific to each button and those impulses are captured by the skull cap. A series of notes is played for each respective button. Since this type of interface is not intrinsically known, calibration is needed for each user. It takes a user with locked-in syndrome, a paralysis of the entire body except the eyes, about two hours to calibrate the system during trials at the University of Essex.
Miranda came up with the idea of using brain waves to make music over ten years ago and now its getting closer to fruition. He realized that this type of device would have a large impact in music therapy. He is hoping to develop and refine the system so that it doesn’t take so long to calibrate. In the future the device will use algorithms to predict which notes the user wants to play.
[via Discovery]
more read....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Toggle (real name Leo DeLuca) - a veteran of the Iraq war. Toggle, a young heavy metal fan, was wounded in an ambush while serving as Ray Hightower's driver, and has returned home with expressive aphasia and a loss of sight in one eye. B.D., his former commanding officer, often checks in to see how he is doing. While recovering from his injuries, Toggle met Alex Doonesbury through B.D. and has become her boyfriend. He has considered attending Walden under the new GI Bill but came away from Zipper's tour unimpressed.

Doonesbury Characters In Starbucks Again With People Open Carrying Guns

Doonesbury decides to revisit the Starbucks open carry topic in another useless strip:

Doonesbury – Source
Yahoos… Morons… loudmouth gun owners?  The tone hasn’t really changed…  Holy his comics are boring.

* Technology * Designs * Ethonomics * Leadership Magazine Community Jobs Thinking Cap: "Mynd" Is the First Dry, iPhone-Compatible, Portable Brain Scanner


Thinking Cap: "Mynd" Is the First Dry, iPhone-Compatible, Portable Brain Scanner

BY David ZaxMon Mar 21, 2011
Neuromarketing goes mobile with this lightweight, dry, and iPhone- or iPad-compatible new device from NeuroFocus. DiY brain researchers rejoice!

NeuroFocus, a firm that brings brain research to marketing, today unveiled what it deems “the first dry, wireless headset designed to capture brainwave activity across the full brain.” The device, three years in the making, debuted at the 75th Annual Advertising Research Foundation conference in New York.
What is “neuromarketing,” the odd corner of marketing research NeuroFocus has staked out for itself? Broadly speaking, neuromarketers measure how the brain and body react to certain stimuli, then extrapolate from that information whether an advertisement, brand, product, or package is having its desired effect. Neuromarketers reportedly had a hand in the 2010 midterm elections, with several consulting for Republican candidates. Neurological research has also been used to help market movies. Recently, Fast Company also explored whether these firms might have a hand in making the movies themselves.
NeuroFocus’s new device, which it calls “Mynd,” has a few key features. It claims to get “full-brain coverage with dense-arrray EEG” sensors, yielding data “within seconds” of switching the device on. It can also network with any Bluetooth-enabled mobile device, like an iPhone or iPad. Unlike other EEG devices you may be familiar with, Mynd doesn’t need to use gel (that’s what’s meant by calling the device “dry”). And since the device isn’t too heavy itself, and can be linked to a wireless device, that basically makes it a mobile brain scanner. (See our earlier take on a “wearable” PET scanner for rats, here.) NeuroFocus envisions research panels conducted at home with the device; its CEO Dr. A.K. Pradeep tells Fast Company those might happen within the next eight months.
The Mynd device is enough of an advance that medical brain researchers are taking an interest in it. The European Tools for Brain-Computer Interaction Consortium, or TOBI, will use Mynd as its “core platform” to develop technology that could help people with neurological disabilities; NeuroFocus says it's donating several devices to the consortium. NeuroFocus advisor and UC Berkeley professor Dr. Robert Knight helped facilitate the contact at TOBI, which is led in part by Professor José del R. Millán, a researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology who has pioneered a number of novel brain-computer interfaces (including one featured in this slideshow on the new “thoughtpads,” from last fall). In the words of Dr. Gerwin Schalk, a research scientist in neural injury and repair at the Wadsworth Center, a New York State public health laboratory, Mynd’s real innovation is in taking brain research from being bulky and expensive to something potentially lightweight and on-the-fly: “This wireless dry electrode headset substantially reduces the cost and expertise necessary to access signals from the brain, which has profound implications for clinical and commercial applications of EEG technology,” he said in a statement.
NeuroFocus CEO Dr. A.K. Pradeep tells Fast Company he was especially excited to be contributing to science: “I run a marketing company, and I know we’ve taken so much from science. It’s kind of cute and funny to give back to science. The headsets we design are now actually going to be used by people in wheelchairs to control those wheelchairs. It’s really a fascinating moment.”
NeuroFocus is expected to roll out the device in labs all over the world shortly; the device is not for sale commercially however, and Pradeep declines to say how much each one costs.
Follow Fast Company on Twitter.
[Images: NeuroFocus]

more read ...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Write letters in only 35 hours with brain speller

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

King Speech's and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Kudos, for the "King's Speech". I did not watch the "King Speech" but another film that is Amazing is "The Diving Bell and The Butterfly". Watch the film and give my your opinion.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Learning About Aphasia

Charlotte, NC: Losing the ability to communicate is devastating for a person with a job dependent on talking. The video of KCBS-TV reporter Serene Branson slurring her words during a live Grammy broadcast went viral. Her doctors have determined that she suffered a migraine which caused her speech problems. The video has raised interest in sudden speech loss. FNR's Anna Kooiman talks with Carl McIntyre, a local actor suffering from aphasia and Chuck Bludsworth, a producer working on a movie about the illness.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Pediatric Stroke: Impacts as many Children as Leukemia & Brain Tumors



The 33 News

"Boom," Dr. Michael Downing said while pointing at an MRI scan. "That white spot is a stroke."

Alma Rodriguez listened as Dr. Dowling explained what happened to her 16-year old son Danny.

Two weeks ago Danny was playing his favorite sport when suddenly he felt something was wrong.

"I was playing baseball and all of the sudden I felt really dizzy," Danny said. "I started vomiting and my head hurt."

That was in El Paso where he suffered a stroke--he was flown to Children's Medical Center in Dallas--Alma still can't believe her son suffered not one, but two strokes.

"I was very, very surprised because I was like, he was very healthy and he has a lot of condition," Alma said. "I was surprised, very very surprised."

Dr. Dowling is the director of Children's Medical Center's Pediatric Stroke Program where he see's about 100 young stroke patients a year.

In about six months Children's will take part in a nationwide study to test the clot busting drug 'tissue plasminogen activator' or tPA.

It works in adults and doctors want to see if it's safe for kids--and if so--establish a proper dosage. The drug has to be used within 4 ? hours of a stroke.

Pediatric stroke can lead to a lifetime of physical disabilities--including speech difficulties, learning problems and even death.

Dr. Dowling wants to know why kids suffer strokes.

"The death rate from stroke in children is somewhere between five and ten percent," Dr. Dowling said. "Another 70% of children who have stroke are left with some neurologic damage."

Dr. Dowling believes a heart infection may have caused Danny's stroke--clots formed--broke off and then blocked blood flow to the brain.

The drug study may help the next Danny who has a stroke.

"Our goal is to decrease the mortality rate, to decrease the level of neurologic injury in all of these kids," Dr. Dowling said.

Danny will be on blood thinners for six months and is expected to lead a perfectly normal life which includes baseball.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fluent dysphasia -(part 2)Classic irish language short film

'Thinking cap' makes brain waves in Australia

Professor Allan Snyder, left, and PhD student Richard Chi, right, display their "thinking cap" on a glass head at the University of Sydney. Professor Allan Snyder, left, and PhD student Richard Chi, right, display their "thinking cap" on a glass head at the University of Sydney. Photo: AFP
Scientists in Australia say they are encouraged by initial results of a revolutionary "thinking cap" that aims to promote creativity by passing low levels of electricity through the brain.

The device, which consists of two conductors fastened to the head by a rubber strap, boosted results significantly in a simple arithmetic test, they said.

Three times as many people who wore the "thinking cap" were able to complete the test, compared with those who did not use the equipment. Sixty people took part.

Allan Snyder, director of the University of Sydney's Centre for the Mind, said the device worked by suppressing the left side of the brain, associated with knowledge, and stimulating the right side, linked to creativity.

"You wouldn't use this to study or to help your memory," Professor Snyder said. "You would use this if you wanted to look at a problem anew.

"If you wanted to look at the world, just briefly, with a child's view, if you wanted to look outside the box."

He said the goal was to suppress mental templates gathered through life experiences to help users see problems and situations as they really appear, rather than through the prism of earlier knowledge.

Professor Snyder added that the work was inspired by accident victims who experienced a sudden surge in creativity after damaging the left side of their brains.

"We know that from certain types of brain damage and abnormalities or injuries, people who suddenly have damage to the left temporal lobe will burst out in the arts or other types of creative activities," he said.

Professor Snyder said the device had been in use by scientists for a decade, but this was the first study into how current passing through the brain could amplify insight.

He said the "thinking cap" had potential applications in the arts and problem-solving, although the science remained in its infancy.

"The dream is that one day we may be able to stimulate the brain in a particular way to give you, just momentarily, an unfiltered view of the world," Professor Snyder said.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

For the real robot uprising, look to the disabled

Robotic augmentation suits like Raytheon’s cleverly marketed XOS-2 (”It’s a real-life Iron Man!”) grab headlines because, well, they’re pretty cool. But they’re also military-grade science experiments, many years from deployment and hardly intended for civilian use. Meanwhile, researchers around the world are designing robo-suits for an entirely different purpose: to help those that can’t walk, walk. Next...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Inside a brain injury recovery

 (CNN) -- From a rehabilitation center in New York, Emilie Gossiaux has been planning her next art project, which she will probably never see. She's thinking it will involve constructing a chair out of wood and then covering it in multicolored clay to turn it into a completely different shape.
"I've been thinking the best way to work is to work with my hands," said Gossiaux, who lost her vision after being struck by an 18-wheeler on October 8. As a result of the accident, she had a stroke and a traumatic brain injury; her leg, head and pelvis were fractured.
As U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords begins her journey to start rehabilitation in Houston on Friday, this aspiring artist is checking out of her own inpatient recovery program.
Although Giffords' brain injury results from a bullet wound, Gossiaux's boyfriend, Alan Lundgard, sees many parallels between the women in their initial stages after injury, including responsiveness to touch. And like Giffords, Gossiaux is surrounded by people who care about her. Lundgard has spent nearly every night with her.
"It's that family link, that family love, that family support -- they've all said, all the medical staff have said -- that really promotes the healing and the rehabilitation, which is very painful and very hard," Emilie's mother, Susan Gossiaux, said.


Can We Download Our Brains?

King George VI Didn’t Have Aphasia…

The Kings Speech Poster

… yet, I think “The King’s Speech” movie definitely deserves to be mentioned on the Aphasia Corner Blog. I saw this movie a few days ago — it was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while. The movie captures intricacies of the relationship between the patient and the therapist in an amazing way.

Here is the synopsis of the movie:

After the death of his father King George V (Michael Gambon) and the scandalous....