Thursday, April 28, 2011

Neighbors can help stroke survivors

Interesting article, with an upside and a downside, talks about how close-knit neighborhoods raise chances of stroke survival:
In fact, for each increase in what researchers call neighborhood "cohesion," such as seeing and talking with neighbors or being able to call on a neighbor for help, the odds of survival after a stroke increased 53 percent.

"This finding highlights the importance of positive neighborhood environments to health, particularly among the elderly," said lead researcher Cari Jo Clark, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

"Cohesive neighborhoods are potentially good for your health, particularly your risk of dying from stroke," she added. The effect is limited to helping to prevent mortality from stroke, not its occurrence in the first place, Clark said.

"But the protective effect of neighborhood cohesion was found only for whites, and not for blacks," she added.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Running for stroke awareness

My back is giving me fits, so it's unlikely I'll ever run the Boston Marathon. But these admirable folks ran as part of a stroke awareness team:

Running down a dream: Stories from the Boston Marathon:
Page Minihan and William Maley are just two of 26,895 runners participating in the 115th Boston Marathon on Monday. Yet their stories speak volumes.

Minihan, a 27-year-old Medford resident and Holliston High graduate, ran the race for Tedy’s Team, which was created by retired New England Patriots legend Tedy Bruschi. The former linebacker had a stroke in 2005, just 10 days after winning his third Super Bowl. Bruschi recovered fully and played another three seasons while forming Tedy's Team, a partnership with the American Stroke Association that works to raise stroke awareness.

“I was running for my father (Joe Minihan), who at the age of 29, suffered a couple major strokes” said Minihan, who finished the Marathon in four hours, six minutes, eight seconds. “I was four (at the time). The strokes left him completely paralyzed on the right side, but he has still led a phenomenal and positive life.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

You say umbrella, I say elevator...

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  

Back in May 1998, almost 13 years ago, I lost the ability to speak.

Thank God, and I mean it, I regained that ability. It took me several weeks of speech therapy to be able to engage in intelligent conversation, and to this day, I stumble over words that I think - but will never really know for sure - that I would not stumble over if the stroke had never happened.

A few days ago, I said "elevator" in conversation with my wife when I meant to say "umbrella." In my defense, I was about to head to work, was extremely busy and my mind was preoccupied. Still, I do wonder.

So from time to time, I might be at a loss of words. But are we loss from God, when our speech, gait or vision are flawed?

No. As mentioned before in this blog, perfection is not required.

On this Easter Sunday - coming soon - remember that. Jesus Christ died for the sins of the imperfect. Jesus Christ defeated death for me, the imperfect, and for you, the imperfect. Not for the flawless and sinless. But for us.

Thanks be to God.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Talk about bad news...

Not long ago, the CBS affiliate in Dallas/Fort Worth tried to run a story on a worthy topic - "Know the earlly warning signs of a stroke" but with unworthy content.

A glaring error in describing "early symptoms" includes "horrendous headaches for two consecutive weeks." Now, if someone is really having a stroke (likely the kind in which the brain is bleeding, not the kind with the blood clot), then waiting for two weeks is tantamount to suicide.

No, "early symptoms" might include the sudden onset of a horrendous headache. More like two minutes, not two weeks.

Plus - and you might have read this here before - often, stroke victims do not even have a headache. The National Stroke Association offers these easy-to-remember signs, called F.A.S.T. :

FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

'It has no worries in a year of drought'

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
Ever lived through a long drought? People in parts of the world can become desperate in the lack of water.

We live through other droughts as well. Desperate in the lack of hope. Of confidence. Of relief. You name it - everyone has experienced most of those times.

Today, though, consider the words of Jeremiah. Place your trust in God. You will become like that tree - strong in confidence and ready to face the heat and drought as you confront life.

(Image from Idea go /

Thursday, April 07, 2011

One more reason to get help fast!

If you've visited this blog before, you've heard this line before: If you are having any stroke sign or symptom, even one, call 911 and get to an emergency department that is a stroke center quickly.

Even a mini-stroke - a transient ischemic attack, or TIA - can be a harbinger for a full-blow stroke. Now, we find that according to one study, 'mini strokes' are linked to doubled heart attack risk:
Although TIA symptoms may last only a few minutes, they are a warning of coronary heart disease that may be unrecognized, said Dr. Larry B. Goldstein, a professor of medicine and director of the Duke Stroke Center at Duke University Medical Center, who was not involved in the study.

The study confirms that "people who have had a TIA or stroke should also be evaluated for coronary heart disease," said Goldstein.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

'Blessed is the one who perseveres'

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
The book of James is one my faves. It's chocked full of practical advice on how to handle day-to-day issues - but always with a higher goal than just getting through a single day.

How many times are people - including you and me - "under trial." Work issues. Health. Money. Home  Family. It's tempting to give up. James reminds us that God will help you persevere and stand the test of the moment - because he stands with you far past the moment.

James 1:12 from Jeff Porter on Vimeo.