Thursday, July 30, 2015

Aspirin today? You are not alone - and maybe Missouri could do better

(Credit below)
You know, aspirin is good for headaches, too.

I ran across some numbers the other day about aspirin use - high numbers of users who want to avoid stroke or heart disease.

Within the heart patients surveyed, a fairly tiny number take aspirin for pain relief. It is actually a pretty good non-steroid anti-inflammatory, too, if you can stomach it.

One down note for my current state of residence - Missouri. Read about this and from a story running down the numbers on aspirin's common use:

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Secondhand smoke: Does it have a deadly link to stroke risk?

Photo by Global Panorama via Flickr.
We know smoking is linked to increased stroke risk - among many other dangers.

It's possible that even being around smokers might bump up your risk. Check out this recent study how secondhand smoke is tied to raised stroke risk:
"Our findings suggest the possibility for adverse health outcomes such as stroke among nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke and add to the body of evidence supporting stricter smoking regulations," said lead author Angela Malek, of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

'Those who wait upon God ...'

Photo by Frank Kovalchek via Flickr
For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.
A couple of postings ago, I complained about nagging back pain. And even though I'm not so young these days, I understand how, as Isaiah says, young people can get tired, drop out, stumble and fall.

Ever feel that way?

As this is being written, I'm waiting for word that my health insurance will cover a shot in the back that, I hope, will help. Complaints about employee-based health insurance delays - thus reducing their own employees' productivity - could take up an entire posting and then some.

But today, it's about waiting. It seems we live in a hurry-up world today. If there's nothing I can do but wait, I need to wait. Not necessarily on human timetables, but on God's timetable. Follow God's timetable will give me fresh strength, as Isaiah told so eloquently so long ago.

Now, will I always get exactly what I want by waiting? Not necessarily. But God's strength comes in many ways, many sizes, many shapes. I must refresh my trust in that.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Was your stroke an emergency? Not all that long ago...

Photo by Chris Violette via Flickr
We've gone a long way.

Twenty years ago, a stroke wasn't considered an emergency. No treatment to reverse or limit a stroke's brain damage.

In 1996, the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator was approved to treat strokes. That also caused a great deal of rethinking how health care providers responded to strokes. What was not an emergency suddenly became one. That meant a lot of rethinking of roles and actions of health professionals when a stroke happens.

An interesting take on that history and more ideas evolving, focusing on when stroke care is a statewide effort:

Thursday, July 16, 2015

'You have done so many things!'

Lord, you have done so many things! You made them all so wisely! The earth is full of your creations!

One of those creations, of course, would be ... you!

When you're having one of those days - frustration, perhaps, or without obvious progress - remember that you are one of God's creations.

I've had some particularly trying days lately with an old back injury flaring up, which happens every few years. Yesterday, I stayed close to home, laying flat on the floor with an ice bag and living on muscle relaxers.

So I pondered this yesterday. Every day is important, of course, but it is only a day. Today, I'm much better. I feel hope for tomorrow.


Only this: I am one of God's creation. That's all I need to know.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Get moving after a stroke?

Photo from U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention
Hanging around in a hospital bed is seldom good for you. Everybody knows that - and now we've got a little evidence for stroke patients.

Mine affected my speech, not so much my physical abilities. I was a little unsteady for a while and, in my way of thinking, lost a little of my fine motor skills. But so many people have more profound physical issues after a stroke.

And part of the answer, it seems is that people with brain injuries heal faster if they get up and get moving:

Thursday, July 09, 2015

For women, PTSD seems linked to stroke risk

Stroke prevention becomes even more important when an additional risk factor looms. Recent research about post-traumatic stress disorder reveals that PTSD and trauma may raise women's stroke risks:

For women with severe PTSD, the study found a 60 percent higher risk of heart attack or stroke compared to women who hadn't experienced any trauma. The risk was increased 45 percent for women who experienced a traumatic event but didn't develop PTSD, the researchers added.
"Our study is the first to look at trauma exposure and PTSD symptoms and new cases of cardiovascular disease in a general population sample of women," said lead researcher Jennifer Sumner, an epidemiologist at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.
It's important to note, however, that while this study found an association between trauma and a higher risk of stroke and heart attack, it wasn't designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship. It's possible that other factors may explain the increased risk.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Where are you? And why should that matter for stroke treatment?

Place can have a lot to do with your health. That's been demonstrated, and experts have talked about diet, access to providers, lifestyles and more.

But a recent study has its own author puzzled about baffling disparities in stroke treatment across the United States:
In the bottom one-fifth of the hospital markets patients received no tPA. In the top one-fifth of markets 9% of patients received clot-busting drugs. In Asheville, NC and Stanford, CA as many as 14% of patients received IV tPA or an intra-arterial treatment using tPA or another drugs.
There were only minor improvements in treatment levels for patients in regions with certified primary stroke centers, or where emergency medical services drove patients further to get stroke treatment. Older patients, minorities, and women were less likely to get tPA regardless of where they lived, the study showed.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Assigning homework for aphasia recovery patients

As you might have seen before, I used some technology myself in recovering from aphasia - a borrowed child's toy called GeoSafari. It was a teaching toy, and I was able to use it as a language-building tool.

Fast-forward 17 years, and we're more sophisticated now - snazzier video games, education toys, tablets - offering even more possibilities for aphasia recovery.

Plus, it gives a chance to study this on your own timetable. Check out the recent story how self-delivered speech therapy is feasible for aphasia patients: