Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Hospitals hiring weight-guessers? Or is there a better solution?

Image from Wellness Corporate Solutions via Flickr
Ever seen someone offering to guess your weight at a carnival? It's been a while for me.

Maybe we need to hire some of those folks for hospital work - when knowing someone's weight means administering the correct amount of a drug that could bring you back from a stroke, or put you in danger - at least partly depending on how the accuracy of your weight in its calculation.

Recently, some research shows that weight guesses for stroke treatment are often wrong:
"Relying on our ability to 'guess' the weight of a patient in the acute setting is no longer acceptable and potentially dangerous," Pankaj Sharma, MD, PhD, from the Institute for Cardiovascular Research at the University of London, told Reuters Health.
The recommended dose of alteplase (recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator [r-tPA]) is 0.9 mg/kg, up to a maximum dose of 90 mg. In the interest of time, clinicians often estimate patients' weights to determine the r-tPA dose. ...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Language skills and aphasia recovery - connected?

Should have taken those French classes in high school.

Turns out that for stroke patients suffering from aphasia, a language problem that affects thousands a year, bilingual brains sustain less stroke damage:
Compared to patients who spoke only one language, bilingual stroke patients were more than twice as likely to have normal cognition following their stroke and they also performed better on tests measuring post-stroke attention and function.
But the two groups had similar frequencies of aphasia, at 11.8% among monolinguals and 10.5% among bilinguals (P=0.354), which might be explained by a higher level of cognitive control in patients speaking two or more languages, Suvarna Alladi, DM, of Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad, India, and colleagues wrote online in Stroke.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Link between depression, stroke risk among black Americans

Racial disparity is a longstanding issue in health care. A study showing the need for more research and action linked depression among black Americans and stroke risk:
The study, based on the ongoing Jackson Heart Study in Jackson, Miss., included more than 3,300 blacks between 21 and 94 years old who were screened for depression. None of the participants had a history of heart attack or stroke.
But more than 22 percent had major depression at the start of the study, and over the course of 10 years, they had a higher risk of heart disease (5.6 percent vs. 3.6 percent) and stroke (3.7 percent vs. 2.6 percent) than those without depression, the researchers found.
Participants with depression were more likely to be women, have chronic health problems, get less exercise, have lower incomes, smoke, and have a higher body mass index (BMI), an estimate of body fat based on height and weight.
You've seen other news about depression as related to stroke risk, too. It's a series issue for all of us. And, perhaps, particularly an issue for some populations.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Feel like you're on a high wire for your health?

Photo by Morgan via Flickr
During a discussion of the health care of my mother in the last few years of her life, a smart doctor told us that as someone ages, much of health care becomes a balancing act.

Or maybe it's not just about aging, but blood pressure in any age. Check out recent research about how blood pressure control can cut stroke risk but might result in trade-offs
And the rate of all cardiovascular events, including heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular death, was 25 percent lower in the group that received aggressive treatment: 243 events in those 4,678 patients, compared with 319 events in the 4,683 that got less medicine.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Adding more research on alcoholic drinks and stroke prevention

Photo by Graham Hills via Flickr
I've had a drink of soju more than once, first with colleagues from South Korea visiting the United States a few years ago and during trips to that country.

I enjoyed it at the time, and now feel even better about it! Check out the story about soju might lower stroke risk:
Research results suggest that three to four glasses of the drink a day lower males’ stroke risk. Compared to those who do not drink, one glass of soju (10g of alcohol), two glasses of soju, and three to four glasses of soju can scale down stroke risk by 62 percent, 55 percent and 46 percent, respectively. Drink-based stroke prevention effects were the highest when a person drinks one glass or less of soju.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Pot: Stroke related? Researchers seeking answers

For the complex human brain, there are few simple answers out there. This includes answers about stroke causes and risks, depending on type of stroke, age and other factors.

Now, there's more research on marijuana use, specific type of stroke and age:
Photo from National Library of Medicine
A team led by Dr. Valerie Wolff, at the University Hospital of Strasbourg in France, examined 334 patients younger than 45 who suffered an ischemic stroke -- an attack caused by blocked blood flow to the brain. Fifty-eight of the patients were marijuana users.
The study couldn't prove that marijuana caused strokes, but Wolff's team did find some differences in stroke characteristics between pot users and non-users.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Hole in the heart - patching or not patching?

My own stroke was blamed on a hole in my heart - a patent foramen ovale, or an opening between the two upper chambers of the heart. The opening was closed in 2007. To read more about that, you can follow this link.

Researchers have been back and forth on whether closing the hole is a good idea or not. The most recent discussion made more sense - to this layman - and how for some, the closure makes sense. For others, not as much.

For example, relatively young people with a combination of the hole and an atrial septal aneurysm - that's when the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart is bulging - might benefit more. That was my case.

So follow this link to read more about the results of PFO closure in the long term:
While patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure still doesn't pan out for overall outcomes in long-term follow-up, the procedure does what it is supposed to in terms of reducing recurrent cryptogenic strokes, particularly for younger adults, the RESPECT trial showed.