Sunday, May 31, 2009

Finally, God awareness

So Paul took his stand in the open space at the Areopagus and laid it out for them. "It is plain to see that you Athenians take your religion seriously. When I arrived here the other day, I was fascinated with all the shrines I came across. And then I found one inscribed, to the god nobody knows. I'm here to introduce you to this God so you can worship intelligently, know who you're dealing with."

Paul's message to this group was about God awareness. His audience was learned, like Paul. He used the group's own intelligence to pique their interest, then instructed in God awareness.

This month, I've faithfully posted about Stroke Awareness Month - and will do the same thing next year, God willing. It's important to know about stroke prevention and stroke symptoms. But even more important was Paul's message of God awareness. So to all: Be aware.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tai Chi: Not exactly my thing, but...

...For those who might have an interest in using it as a tool in stroke rehabilitation:
A recent study led by researchers at the University of Illinois shows that Tai Chi, a Chinese form of martial arts that consists of a series of coordinated movements of the head, trunk and limbs, and which does not need any equipment, is an effective form of stroke rehabilitation.
I'm more of a distance runner guy, but hey - this could be extremely helpful for some.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hospitals might miss tPA benefits

Patients who need clotbusting tPA can fall through the cracks, as this recent Modern Medicine article illustrates:

Two-thirds of US hospitals do not administer tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) to patients who have a stroke and are covered by Medicare, according to the results of a national study conducted between 2005 and 2007, which were presented at the International Stroke Conference 2009.

Furthermore, many of these patients reside in counties that do not have a hospital that delivers t-PA at a rate equalling or surpassing the national average in t-PA delivery. Hospitals that did not give t-PA to patients covered by Medicare tended to be small and rural, said the study’s lead investigator, Dawn Kleindorfer, MD, stroke neurologist and associate professor, University of Cincinnati.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Stroke survivor and hero

A story about the admirable efforts of a Tennessee woman who serves her fellow stroke survivors:

Her most important ministry is giving to people who are going through what she once suffered. She spends hours with the patients every week.

"I try to give them encouragement," Daugherty said. "It's a blow to them. If one day your arms and legs aren't working anymore it's a big shock. They wonder if they can get better ... I tell the patients to keep working at it and they may be surprised."

Friday, May 22, 2009

Seeking God, seeking answers

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

This month, I've posted a lot of items about Stroke Awareness Month. Awareness is a key to prevent strokes, get stroke patients help as soon as possible, and assist people who are recovering.

But as the author of Hebrews noted, God awareness is a lifelong occupation. So keep the faith - no matter what.

(Image from

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Avoiding a second stroke - efforts needed

A recent article in U.S. News and World Report:

After suffering a stroke, the chances of having another are high, but a new report shows many patients aren't getting the interventions they need to reduce that risk.

Those interventions include lifestyle changes, such as smoking cessation and exercise, and medical treatments, such as aspirin, blood pressure medications and cholesterol-lowering drugs.

We need more and better strategies for these patients - rehab, counseling, medication, among other things. This Stroke Awareness Month is a good time to start.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Too much salt can increase stroke risk

Right amount of salt is good - we can't live without it. But too much can get you in trouble, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expert quoted in a recent WebMD article:
Seven out of 10 U.S. adults get 2.3 times the healthy amount of salt. It's putting us in a world of hurt, says Darwin Labarthe, MD, PhD, director of the CDC's division for heart disease and stroke prevention.

"This is a very important message," Labarthe tells WebMD. "There is no room for debate any longer that a high level of salt causes stroke and heart disease, and that lowering salt intake will diminish these very serious health consequences."
This Stroke Awareness Month is a good time to watch out for too much salt.

(Photo from CDC)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Another fellow stroke survivor, runner

A recent story about a fellow distance runner and stroke survivor Chris Bolio. I'd quibble with the term "luck" in the story's headline. In my experience, there's no such thing.

"I know how blessed I am," he said. "By the same token, internally, it’s still a struggle to accept the changes."

Exercise provides relief.

"I don’t have to worry about cognitive deficiencies," Bolio said. "I don’t have to field questions or resolve anything except the next stroke in the pool or the next step on the pavement. It really is kind of where my mind can relax now."

Yet another Stroke Awareness Month note that you a stroke can happen to anyone, any age, even those who seem healthy and fit.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lack of stroke awareness is frightening

More evidence that too many people know too little about stroke symptoms, from a recent posting:

The results of the survey were a bit disappointing and some key points are summarized below:

* 93% of those asked knew a couple of the obvious symptoms especially the numbness.
* 59% of those surveyed didn’t recognize the less obvious symptoms such as a severe headache.
* Only 37% of those surveyed recognized all five warning signs of stroke as listed above.
So please, tell someone what to watch out for today.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Another study about clot-busting developments

Not long ago, researchers from Johns Hopkins University released a study about the use of an aggressive clot-busting treatment for stroke patients.

New results from a multicenter study led by Johns Hopkins show that patients who got an experimental clot-busting treatment for a particularly lethal form of stroke were not only dramatically more likely to survive but also continued to shed lingering disabilities six months later. The findings, announced Feb. 19 at the International Stroke Conference in San Diego, are likely to build support for the use of tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, in patients with intracerebral hemorrhage, a treatment-resistant form of stroke marked by brain bleeding.

There's been some disagreement about tPA, so new studies are important to get some clear answers.

Friday, May 08, 2009

A note in passing...

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
It happened 11 years ago today. At least, that's when it happened to me.

On Friday, May 8, 1998, I found myself hit by a stroke working with a colleague who was smart enough to get me some help. The rest, as you might say, is history.

I was a devoted distance runner at the time and remain so. I will likely run 10 miles without stopping tomorrow (Saturday). Why do people run? Now, for me, it's an act of worship, thanking God that he gave me two strong legs - one of them twice.

This blog is my feeble attempt to provide help for fellow stroke survivors and those who care for them - in any capacity. I've prayed for those who have contacted me or I've heard about concerning their own circumstances or struggles. Anyone reading this can e-mail me anytime - - and you'll be in my prayers, too.

Do I completely understand what happened those 11 years ago? No. But as Paul wrote to the Philippians, God's peace surpasses understanding - leaving me under God's protection. It's there for you, too.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

'Restore you and make you strong ...'

An incredible story in The York Daily Record, a story about a stroke survivor who lost speech but never lost faith:

Dan Kidd relied on his faith to help him adjust to his muteness and prayed to God that he would be healed. One Bible verse of particular comfort to him he found in I Peter: "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."

I won't say more to spoil the story - just click and read it. This video accompanied the article.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The next life saved could be yours

Success in stroke awareness can be counted in many ways, but saving a life is the best way to count. From a British newspaper (Halstead Gazette) about a man who - thanks to an alert friend - received the help he needed:
Mr. (Roger) Foreman, a former builder who lives in Greenstead, is now backing a three-year government stroke awareness campaign, which it is hoped will save 700 lives a year in Essex.

The adverts are shocking, but could help to save some of the 67,000 people in the UK who die as a result of suffering a stroke each year. He said: “The more awareness there is, the better. When I visited the stroke centre in Colchester, I was surprised how many people were there.

“Some are only in their 30s. When you’re that age, you think you’re bullet-proof. You would never dream in a million years that you could have a stroke.”
Some only in their 30s. That was my case back in 1998, and if history is a guide, it will happen multiple times today, just in the United States. Better stroke awareness, and more of the 300-plus people hit by a stroke every day in the U.S. will recover.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Fast food restaurants - a stroke risk factor

You've seen the neighborhoods - no grocery store of any size or at all, but a plethora of fast food restaurants.

In your gut, you know that can't be good. Now, there's some documentation to back up that feeling. Not long ago, some research linked that pattern with stroke risk:

Researchers zeroed in on a region of Texas, analyzed neighborhoods for the number of fast food restaurants, and found a 13% elevated risk of ischemic stroke in neighborhoods with the highest number of fast food restaurants. Ischemic strokes are caused by blood clots.

For every fast food restaurant in a designated neighborhood, the relative stroke risk increased 1%, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2009.

“The data show a true association,” says Lewis B. Morgenstern, MD, director of the University of Michigan’s stroke program and lead author of the study. “What we don’t know is whether fast food actually increased the risk because of its contents or whether fast food restaurants are a marker of unhealthy neighborhoods.”
An issue to consider during May, which is Stroke Awareness Month.

(Image from USDA)