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....