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.
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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