Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Women trail men in clot-busting treatment

Ran across an interesting report about a disparity between men and women and stroke treatment. The article cites why women trail men in clot-busting treatment:
Among patients presenting with an acute stroke, women were less likely than men to receive intravenous thrombolytic therapy, which could have to do with delayed arrival at the hospital, researchers found.
Read through the entire article; another argument that speedy response to stroke signs are vital.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Moving more may lower stroke risk

A regular visitor to this blog won't be surprised - exercise is good for you!

I regularly run 4-10 miles - occasionally longer - and now, a study funded by the National Institutes of Health suggests that moving more may lower stroke risk:
The findings revealed that regular, moderately vigorous exercise, enough to break a sweat, was linked to reduced risk of stroke. Part of the protective effect was due to lower rates of known stroke risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity and smoking.
“Our results confirm other research findings but our study has the distinct advantage of including larger numbers, especially larger numbers of women as well as blacks, in a national population sample so these provide somewhat more generalizable results than other studies,” said Virginia Howard, Ph.D., senior author of the study from the School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham.
"Enough to break a sweat" is a good measure for exercise, at least in my experience. And it makes sense that exercise will help address high blood pressure and help with other key stroke risk factors.

Walking is a good start - cheap exercise most people can do.

(Photo from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Blood pressure pills can reduce stroke risk

High blood pressure is a top stroke risk - a factor that can, at least to a degree, be controlled. A large study shows one way to decrease your stroke risk is to take your blood pressure pills:
A large new observational study demonstrates that people who don’t take their antihypertensive medications are much more likely to have a stroke. The new study, published in the European Heart Journal, used nationwide prescription, hospital and mortality records from 73,527 hypertensive patients in Finland.
The Finnish investigators compared 26,704 patients who were hospitalized or died of stroke with 46,823 patients who did not have an event. The stroke patients were older, less educated, had lower income, and were more likely to have diabetes or cancer than controls.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

'Your consolation brought me joy'

 When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.
I try not to worry. A lot. When I am thinking right, I remember to bring my anxiety to God.

A few months ago, God allowed me to stumble across a quote from someone I'd never heard of before. Her name was Mary C. Crowley. I did some research and found that she was many things, but she was also someone who COULD have been weighed down with anxiety. Lost her parents at an early age. Went to work during the Great Depression to keep her children from starving. Battled cancer twice.

Here's her quote I found: “Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He's going to be up all night anyway.”

The words from Psalm 94 - echoed in this wise woman's words - remind us that in our worries or anxiety, God is there to console us.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Herbal stroke remedy no better than dummy pill

I've never tried herbal remedies, and here's another reason to be wary. Note the ingredients and cost in the Reuters Health article on how a herbal stroke remedy is no better than a dummy pill:
A Chinese herbal remedy marketed to improve stroke recovery failed to exceed the benefits of a placebo in a large, three-month clinical trial.
"There's no evidence of efficacy," said Dr. James Brorson, medical director of the University of Chicago Stroke Center, who was not involved in the study. ...
NeuroAiD is a blend of extracts from plants, leeches, beetles, scorpions and antelope horn. ...
It is currently not available through U.S.-based vendors, although consumers can buy it online. A three month regimen costs about $1,500.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Speech recovery can continue for years

I've been convinced that stroke recovery doesn't all happen in the short term - a year or less. In my own  experience with aphasia, it can take years to recover.

Now, I see a Wall Street Journal article about how new therapies help stroke survivors recover language years after injury:
Encouraging new evidence is emerging to suggest the brain’s plasticity, or its ability to change and heal, may last many years after injury—far longer than the commonly assumed plateau for speech recovery of about six months to a year after stroke. Insurers, for example, may only cover the cost of one-on-one speech therapy sessions for the first few months.
“The conventional wisdom has long been that after a year post-stroke, you aren’t going to get any better,” says Cynthia Thompson, director of the Center for the Neurobiology of Language Recovery at Northwestern University. “But the brain continues to change until you die."
Certainly, in my case, rapid change took place in the first few months after my stroke in 1998 - starting with complete lack of speech back to a career in journalism.

But later, even years later, I would catch incremental improvements. Now, I still have some lasting effects (in my opinion) in the speech department, but I refuse to rule out even additional improvements.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

'Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart'

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
My guess is most people don't like to wait. We're living in a cell phone-microwave-Internet world, and waiting doesn't sell.

Still, sometimes we are forced to wait. If you're in those circumstances, remember these words from Psalm 27. We're not always on a human schedule - but in God's schedule. So be strong and take heart.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Study shows Chicago policy may help stroke patients

You've seen postings before about using accredited stroke centers when possible. Now, a recent study shows a link to those centers and better treatment. You can follow this link and read about how a study shows citywide policy may help stroke patients recover:
A citywide policy enacted in 2011 — involving Chicago ambulance crews taking suspected stroke patients directly to accredited hospitals with accredited stroke centers — was associated with increased usage of a therapy that can reverse the effects of a stroke if received in time, according to a study published in the journal JAMA Neurology on Monday.
Before the change, rates of stroke patients getting what’s known as intravenous tPA [tissue plasminogen activator] was 3.8 percent of all patients. After, it improved to 10.1 percent.