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.

Read more: http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/news/health/Speech-long-after-stroke#ixzz1qNi1Mtzi

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
(Health.com) -- 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.