Thursday, August 29, 2013

Quicker treatment, better outcomes

A couple of days ago, I posted a note about how hospitals increasingly give powerful clot-buster for stroke. A related item, showing the importance of early treatment shows that the quicker the treatment, the better chances of a better outcome.

A study indicates that ultra-early treatment reduces disability after stroke:
... [T]he new study found that when these clot-busting drugs were administered even sooner -- within 90 minutes of the appearance of stroke symptoms -- patients had little or no disability after three months compared with patients who got the drugs later.
"Despite the time window of 4.5 hours to give clot-busting drugs, there are clear differences between patients treated ultra-early -- within 90 minutes -- and those treated later," said lead researcher Dr. Daniel Strbian, an associate professor of neurology at Helsinki University Central Hospital in Finland."
Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the United States, so quicker treatment to reduce these outcomes should be a high priority. I'll end this with the same note I ended the last posting: It's vital that a stroke patient get help quickly. Recognize the signs of a stroke and don't hesitate in getting aid!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hospitals increasingly give powerful clot-buster for stroke

In the good news front, more clot-caused stroke patients are receiving the powerful treatment tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA. This is especially true for those who arrive at a hospital quickly and assessed for safe use.

The numbers, to be sure, could be better. But now, you've got better odds of proper treatment than you might have had a decade ago. Check out the story on how hospitals are increasingly giving powerful clot-buster for stroke:
At these hospitals, use of tPA increased from 4 percent to 7 percent during the nine-year study period. Among patients who were quickly brought to hospital and did not have any medical conditions that would prevent safe use of the drug, tPA administration increased from 43 percent to 77 percent. ...
"Hospitals have put tremendous efforts in the past decade into increasing the number of patients who can be treated with intravenous tPA, and this paper suggests those efforts are paying off," study corresponding author Dr. Lee Schwamm, executive vice chair of neurology and director of stroke services at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, said in a hospital news release.
"Today, more than three-quarters of stroke patients who are eligible for IV tPA are getting this treatment at the more than 1,600 U.S. hospitals we studied," he added.
It's vital that a stroke patient get help quickly. Recognize the signs of a stroke and don't hesitate in getting aid!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mediterranean diet: Possible stroke prevention

Diet plays into stroke risk factors - both good and bad ways. A new study (click on the link to read the entire story) reports that a Mediterranean diet may counter the genetic risk of stroke:
Mediterranean diets heavy in two foods -- olive oil and nuts -- are linked to a lower rate of strokes in older people whose genetic makeup boosts their risk of diabetes, according to a new study.
The research suggests but doesn't conclusively prove that the diet lowers or even eliminates the extra risk of stroke, perhaps by lowering the rate of diabetes. Still, "our work has placed a solid step on the ladder of personalized nutrition and successful health," said study co-author Jose Ordovas, director of the nutrition and genomics laboratory at Tufts University's USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ethnic disparity in stroke rates persists

Strokes can cross the boundaries of race, ethnicity, sex, age, and income. However, some groups do have higher stroke rates. A recent story shows that ethnic disparity in stroke rates persists:
Ischemic stroke rates declined over an 11-year period in Corpus Christi, Texas, but rates remained elevated in Mexican Americans relative to their non-Hispanic white neighbors, researchers found. ...
"Although the declining ischemic stroke incidence in Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic whites is encouraging, the persistent disparity in young stroke patients, who suffer the longest from post-stroke disability, indicates a need for additional prevention efforts targeting young Mexican Americans and communities with large minority populations," they wrote.
"The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently published goals and objectives for reducing health disparities, although specific action plans remain elusive," they added.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fighting aphasia to communicate

I lost the ability to speak during my stroke - and struggled to regain the ability to speak coherently.

A recent story about how another stroke survivor fought to communicate:
However, last year, everything came to an abrupt halt when Alster suffered a stroke while traveling in his car. He awoke from a coma after three weeks in the hospital and was discharged to Morse Geriatric Center for rehabilitation. He could not speak, had no mobility and could not feed himself.
Alster entered the aphasia program at Morse, and with the help of his rehab team, led by Debbie Trontz, along with his own fighting spirit and motivation from his wife, he eventually learned to speak once again, eat and walk.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

'His love endures forever'

Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever."
Here's the last of a three-part set of postings drawn from Bible verses. The last one told us that nothing "will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Today's verse reminds us that love - the love that cannot be separated - endures. Endures through all trials, big or small. Forever.

Trials confront us all  - you, me, everybody.Those trials testing of your faith produce perseverance. And those trials cannot separate us from God's love. And "his love endures forever."

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

'The love of God'

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Last Thursday's posting was about life's trials - big and small - that can produce perseverance in faith.

Today, I re-read these verses from Paul's letter to the Romans and saw they fit that message, too. Trials are in the present and test us for the future. But despite these trials, they cannot separate us from God's love.

The trial I wrote about last week - harassment and tomato-throwing - is small compared to the trial of stroke recovery. But God's love is large - bigger than any trial, love that cannot be separated from you.

You might have seen these words on this blog before, but they're so worth repeating.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

'Testing of your faith produces perseverance'

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Trials come in lots of varieties and sizes. Recently, our home has been hit by harassment and vandalism by unknown people. It started with late-night doorbell ringing and escalated to tomato-throwing at our garage and front doors a few days ago. It happens off and on, sometimes as long as two weeks without incident.

Especially after we cleaned up smashed tomatoes off our doors in the middle of the night, I've had a lot of uncharitable thoughts about the culprits and have sat up late more than once.

After reading these verses from James, perhaps I need to adjust my attitude. So I've pledged myself that I will pray daily for the vandals.

Will it stop? I don't know. Will I still stay up late occasionally? Probably. Should they still held accountable? Yes.

Will testing my faith help me produce perseverance? Yes. And that's what it's about.