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.
The Neediest CasesFor the past 100 years, The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund has provided direct assistance to children, families and the elderly in New York. To celebrate the 101st campaign, an article will appear daily through Jan. 25. Each profile will illustrate the difference that even a modest amount of money can make in easing the struggles of the poor.
Last year donors contributed $7,003,854, which was distributed to those in need through seven New York charities.
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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.

Air pollution may increase stroke, heart attack risk

The study doesn't show that air pollution directly triggers strokes, although the researchers say that is biologically plausible.
The study doesn't show that air pollution directly triggers strokes, although the researchers say that is biologically plausible.
  • Strokes more likely to occur immediately following periods when air quality drops
  • Researchers estimate a 20% reduction in air pollution would have prevented 6,100 strokes
  • Second study provides evidence that air pollution may increase cardiovascular risk
( -- A brief uptick in traffic-related air pollution may be enough to increase a person's short-term risk of stroke, new research suggests.
An analysis of 10 years of data from a major Boston stroke center has found that strokes are more likely to occur immediately following 24-hour periods in which air quality drops into the range the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers "moderate."
"At levels that the EPA considers to be generally safe, we found an important effect of ambient air particles, which is one of many pollutants in the air, but an important one," says study coauthor Gregory A. Wallenius, Sc.D., an assistant professor of community health at Brown University Medical School, in Providence, Rhode Island. Wallenius collaborated with researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Harvard School of Public Health, both in Boston...................

McCarney, still hospitalized, confirms stroke but sounds cheery

Photo taken Nov. 19, 2006:  Then-Iowa State head football coach Dan McCarney gets high fives as he leads his players onto the field at Jack Trice Stadium.
Take it from Dan McCarney – something bad, something like a stroke -- can happen even when you’re in tip-top physical condition.

“But tell everyone back there that I’m doing fine,” the former ISU head football coach said Tuesday from his bed in a Denton, Texas, hospital. “I’ve got too much Irish in me to stay down very long.”

McCarney, now coach at North Texas, confirmed that he suffered a stroke Sunday morning, shortly after his daily workout.............

Taking Medicine, With a Microchip Under the Skin

Download this story as a PDF

This is the VOA Special English Technology Report.

Call it medicine on a microchip.

Researchers in the United States have developed the first wirelessly controlled device that can supply a drug directly into the body. A small chip is implanted under the skin. It contains the medicine, which it releases at preset times.

The developers say the device could improve the lives of millions of people who take medicine for long-term illnesses.

A company called MicroCHIPS began developing the device about fifteen years ago. Last month, the company released the results of its first successful tests in humans. The tests took place in Denmark with seven women with osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and break easily. The disorder is common among older people, especially women. Many patients have to give themselves daily injections of medicine. One type of treatment requires injections for two years.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Strokes, retina damage and trapped nerves: Is yoga doing us more harm than good?

It may be the secret to some of the most lithe and bendy bodies around, but yoga, as loved by celebrities from Matthew McConaughey to Natalie Portman, may also be the cause of a host of severe injuries.

A new book, published next month, lifts the lid on some of the darker sides of the physical and mental stretching techniques - and from back traumas to strokes, the discipline is not without its dangers, writes author William J Broad.

The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards, out next month, pulls together medical studies and case studies from those who have met with disastrous ends rather than the feel-good flexibility the practice normally affords.
Ancient technique: Yoga is said to calm and heal, but a new book opens the lid on some of the physical and mental stretching practices' darker sides
Ancient technique: Yoga is said to calm and heal, but a new book opens the lid on some of the physical and mental stretching practices' darker sides
In an adaptation of the book in the New York Times, Mr Broad recalls meeting Glenn Black, a yogi with classic Indian Iyengar training.

Mr Black, a yoga teacher of nearly 40 years, made the admission that he believes that 'the vast majority of people' should give up yoga. He recently underwent back surgery to correct decades of damage from the discipline. 

The yoga guru told Mr Broad that he has seen people's Achilles tendons tear from overdoing a downward-facing dog, men's ribs breaking with 'pops' from spine-twisting moves and teachers who no longer have any movement in their hips or who are forced to teach lying down because of back problems.

But the most severe cases include a 28-year-old woman who suffered a massive stroke while attempting the 'wheel' position. Her story was documented by Willibald Nagler, of Cornell University Medical College, and published in 1973.
Bendy: Matthew McConaughey enjoys a spot of yoga on the beach - but could he be doing his body more harm than good?
Bendy: Matthew McConaughey enjoys a spot of yoga on the beach - but could he be doing his body more harm than good?
Neurological damage had occurred because of hyperextension of the neck, but the woman - who took two years to learn to walk again and was left with permanent arm and eye and problems - is not alone in succumbing to brain injuries brought on by wounding arteries from head, neck and back movements.

Mr Nagler's report was an early and salu

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

‘Mini strokes’ linked to lower life expectancy

“Mini strokes,” with symptoms that last just a few minutes or hours, are well-recognized warning signs for potentially deadly larger strokes. Now new research confirms that they are associated with a lower life expectancy.

Survival rates after mini strokes, known medically as transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), were 20% lower than expected among study participants nine years later compared to the general population. The findings highlight the fact that TIAs are serious events that should not be ignored, says stroke specialist and American Heart Association spokesman Philip Gorelick, MD. He directs the Center for Stroke Research at the University of Illinois College of Medicine....Next

12 to watch in 2012: Alexander Levy

App inventor Alex Levy is one of the Star's 12 people to watch in 2012.
App inventor Alex Levy is one of the Star's 12 people to watch in 2012.
Lucas Oleniuk/Toronto Star
Vanessa Lu Business Reporter
Alexander Levy never imagined he’d be running a mobile app company.
In 2009 he was finishing up his political science degree at the University of Toronto and was planning to go to law school when he took a part-time research assistant job at the Technologies for Aging Gracefully Lab.
That led him to a chance encounter with Bill Scott, a stroke survivor who suffered from aphasia, where words are on the tip of his tongue, but the person just can’t get them out.
Scott wandered into the lab with a huge binder of photos with words that he used to communicate, along with a bulky machine, wanting to find a better way.
That prompted Levy, with the help of others including his company’s co-founder, Aakash Sahnei, to develop their MyVoice app, which readies a list of specific words based on the GPS location of a smartphone.....Next



Jim Gloster / USA / English / 40 min / Official Website
Aphasia tells the true story of actor Carl McIntyre about the effects of a massive stroke he suffered at the age of 44 - he lost his ability to read, write and speak. Starring as himself, McIntyre portrays his life story with an incredibly nuanced performance. Through humor and pathos Aphasia speaks to anyone who has struggled to meet life’s challenges. Click for Tickets
Date Time Venue Tickets
Sunday 02/12/2012 2:00pm The JCC in Manhattan Buy Tickets
Monday 02/13/2012 7:00pm Staten Island JCC Call for tickets - 718.475.5291
Saturday 02/11/2012 1:00pm St. Agnes Library Free.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Red meat linked to high stroke risk - study

By David Liu, PHD

Saturday Jan 7, 2012 ( -- A new study in the journal Stroke suggests that eating too much red meat may drastically increase risk of stroke.

The study led by Adam M. Bernstein, MD, ScD of the Wellness Institute of the Cleveland Clinic and colleagues found high intake of red meat was associated with an elevated risk of stroke while eating poultry was correlated with a reduced risk.

For the study, researchers followed 84, 010 women aged 30 to 55 years at baseline and 43,150 men aged 40 to 75 years who at baseline had no diagnosed cancer, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease, for 26 and 22 years respectively.  During the follow-up, 2633 and 1397 strokes occurred in women and men respectively.

The researchers found that compared to consumption of one serving per day of red meat, one serving per day of poultry, nuts, fish, low-fat dairy and whole fat dairy cut the risk of stroke by 27, 17, 17, 11, and 10 percent, respectively.

However, when legumes and eggs replaced red meat, the risk remained the same.  Caution needs to be exercised when interpreting this finding.  Legumes were consumed in small quantity and it may not play any significant role in the risk for stroke, a health observer suggested.

The findings indicate that red meat eaters may cut their risk for stroke if they opt to eat poultry, fish, but and dairy products instead of red meat.

Stroke is a leading cause of death in the U.S.  More than 800,000 Americans die each year from cardiovascular disease and strokes. In the U.S., about 800,000 people have a stroke.

Symptoms of a stroke include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding, sudden trouble seeing in on or both eyes, sudden trouble walking, feeling dizzy, losing balance or coordination and sudden severe headache without known causes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.