Friday, November 30, 2012

Playing games in stroke recovery?

More potential tools for home recovery for stroke survivors. A Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute grant funds Ohio State researchers using Kinect for at-home stroke rehabilitation:
Lynne Gauthier, an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, is leading the team creating a video game for the Microsoft Kinect that the team hopes could expand access to a specific kind of rehabilitation called constraint-induced movement therapy. The game would allow patients with mild-to-moderate upper-limb impairment to perform guided CI therapy in their homes.
The game uses Microsoft Kinect’s motion capture technology to guide patients through a series of therapeutic exercises set in a river adventure theme, Gauthier said. Patients would visit a clinic for initial consultation and the game would act as a consultant to guide them through exercises at home. Patients would also be given a restraint mitt to encourage them to use their affected side more often in daily activities.
“A lot of these kinds of rehab games are basically about just getting the person to move a lot,” she said. “But we’re trying to make it so that the game would stimulate what the therapist would do. Just as a therapist would make a task harder when the person improves, the game would do the same thing.”

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Battling misconceptions about aphasia

I stumbled across this recent blog posting about 10 Things You Should Know About Aphasia. I especially thought this item might help avoid the typical (but wrong) assumption that people with aphasia are always confused or have a lack of intelligence:
4) Aphasic patients are not necessarily confused. Most aphasia occurs in the absence of confusion and it can be extraordinarily frustrating (and frightening) for the patient. Consider that every time the patient is unable to speak (or even write) there is something that they desperately want to say.
Read the entire list, though, using the link above.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Today, I'm especially thankful that I can bring God my worries.

We all have plenty of things we could worry about - money, health, family, work, to name a few. But in his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus cautions us that worry is a time-wasting, useless task. Today, I pray that I continue to bring God my worries and that helps me find a center of my life in Him.

On this Thanksgiving Day, thank God - literally - that I don't have to carry a burden of worries.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

'Safe and few patients get it'

This blog author wrote an entire book about a clot-busting drug for stroke patients - tPA for Stroke: The Story of a Controversial Drug - and still finds people are still having a hard to avoiding a fate worse than death (not so easy):
Although appropriate for almost 9 in 10 strokes — those that are ischemic, or due to blood clots — only a small fraction of potentially eligible patients, not more than about 4-8%, receive tPA. Consider this:
It’s safe and effective…so few patients get it. As a drug for a major and life-threatening disorder, tPA was shown to be effective with a 11-13% absolute benefit (cancer drugs that provide a 2% absolute benefit are routinely approved).
I've harped on this before - it's critical to get help for someone right away. Every minute counts. But even when someone is at a hospital on time, it's important to be an advocate for that person to get the right help.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sugary drinks linked to higher stroke risk

Not a huge surprise here - those sugar-laden drinks are associated with higher stroke risk around the world. This one involved research in Japan on women health and found that sugary drinks linked to higher stroke risk:
Women who imbibe sugary soft drinks almost every day are 83 percent more likely to have a certain type of stroke than women who rarely drink sodas and other sweetened beverages, according to a new study from Japan.
Although the findings don't prove that sweet drinks are to blame for the higher stroke risk, other studies have shown links between high sugar intake and clogged arteries, said Dr. Adam Bernstein, a researcher at the Cleveland Clinic, who was not involved in the study.
And "as the authors here saw, most of the (increased) risk was with ischemic stroke, the kind of stroke with plaque buildup" in the arteries, Bernstein said.
(Photo from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

'The door will be opened'

"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."
God wants the persistent prayer. People pray all the time, but persistent praying is not the norm.

Just before the verses above, Jesus tells how you might open your own door to a friend who persists knocking, even late at night.

So when you pray, don't stop at once or twice - pray with persistence.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Stroke survivors who smoke raise risk of more strokes

Back on the "stop smoking, or never start!" beat for this blog, recent news about researching showing that stroke survivors who smoke raise risk of more strokes, heart attack, death:

Compared to those who never smoked:

  • Those who smoked when they had a stroke were 30 percent more likely to have a poor outcome.
  • Among those who survived the first 28 days after stroke, current smokers had a 42 percent higher risk of poorer outcomes.
  • Ex-smokers had an 18 percent higher risk of poorer outcomes.
  • Compared to past smokers:
  • Among those who survived the first 28 days after stroke, current smokers had a 23 percent higher risk of poorer outcomes during the 10 years."

Read the entire story. Stopping helps. Never starting helps even more.

(Image from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Debating PFO closure for stroke risk

An article a bit thick to get through, but very informative about the debate about patent foramen ovale closure for stroke risk. That being said, if you're interested in the topic, did a nice job in getting different expert opinions. Read the entire article, but here's a snippet:
Depending on one's point of view, the studies fail to support the continued treatment of patent foramen ovale (PFO) with the Amplatzer occluder (St Jude Medical, St Paul, MN) for the prevention of stroke recurrence or provide yet more evidence that closing PFOs is the right thing to do.
The conflict arises from the fact that both randomized, controlled clinical trials missed their primary end point. As reported by heartwire, the studies were negative, with RESPECT suggesting a benefit when evaluating the "as-treated" patients only, and this has left researchers, clinicians, and other experts trying to understand what went wrong and the potential reasons the trials don't line up with published observational reports.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Are stroke patients getting younger?

There's been a lot of news lately about how U.S. stroke patients are getting younger:
"... while stroke patients between the ages of 20 and 54 made up nearly 13 percent of all stroke patients in 1993 and 1994, that figure rose to just shy of 19 percent by 2005.
The result: In the interim, the average age at which strokes now occur has dropped significantly, down from roughly 71 years old in the mid-1990s to about 69 a decade later.
"This is pretty important, and a pretty big jump," said study lead author Dr. Brett Kissela, professor and vice chairman of neurology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. "And what it means is that even though young people typically feel like they're healthy and that a stroke can't happen to them, the fact is that our study is evidence that that is not true."
Mine happened at age 39 - so it's vital that every know the stroke signs and know what to do.