Thursday, April 28, 2016

Mini-stroke can lead to a big problem - take it seriously

Take mini-strokes seriously - that's the bottom line of some interesting research. Read more how aggressive treatment of "mini-strokes" lowers risk for major stroke:
Better and faster use of secondary stroke prevention methods after transient ischemic attacks, or TIAs, helps reduce risk of additional strokes and death, according to researchers involved with an international study.
With the most aggressive care available, researchers at 21 sites around the world cut in half the risk of a second stroke among participants in the five-year study, which is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
So don't just sit there - take action if you see the symptoms!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

If you or someone you know seems lonely - here's an excuse to reach out

This blog has touched on solitude before, and there's more research that lonely, isolated people may be prone to heart disease, stroke:
Social isolation raised that risk by about 30 percent, exerting the same level of influence on heart health as risk factors such as anxiety and job stress, the British review found.
"Addressing loneliness and social isolation could have an important role in the prevention of two of the leading causes of ill health and mortality worldwide," said lead researcher Nicole Valtorta, a research fellow in the department of health sciences at the University of York.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Aging brains - including yours - might need some exercise

If you're alive, your brain is aging.

So recent research should be an interest for all of us out there, especially those of us who already have concerns about their brains. Seems that aging brains benefit from higher intensity physical exercise, study indicates:
In a recent study, those who reported doing little to no exercise showed greater long-term decline in memory and thinking skills, compared with those having high activity levels. The difference was equivalent to 10 years of aging, according to researchers at the University of Miami, Florida, and Columbia University, New York.
“Our results suggest that moderate to intense exercise may help older people delay aging of the brain,” said study author Clinton B. Wright, MD, MS, of the University of Miami. “The number of people over the age of 65 in the United States is on the rise, meaning the public health burden of thinking and memory problems will likely grow.”
Maybe all my (slow) running will help keep my brain functioning longer - looks like I have at least a bit of evidence on that.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Got fruit? You might be doing yourself a bigger favor than you thought

As most runners, I like bananas. Potassium and all.

Now, it seems that I might be doing some stroke prevention work without even knowing it - a study contains clues that fruit every day might help your heart:
Adults who ate fresh fruit, such as apples and oranges, every day had about a one-third reduced risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke, compared to those who rarely or never ate fruit, researchers found.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Struggling with stroke-related impairments - invisible to the outside world?

Ever feel invisible?

Remember the movie (based on the book) "The Invisible Man" starring the great Claude Rains? Shows the down side of being invisible, you might say.

Now, what's that got to do with stroke survivors? It's those post-stroke impairments that aren't seen by much of the world - invisible. And there's a down side of that, too, that leads to a lack of understanding among co-workers and the world at large.

Physically, I was recovered to a large degree within days. But speech and fuzzy thinking took a while longer, and I'm still convinced that my speech still isn't quite right. But that's not so obvious - invisible, you might say, to much of the outside world. Not all - I had a great support network at church, home and work. Still, I can see how invisibility problems can happen.

So check out recent research about stroke survivors facing "invisible impairments" return to work:

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Common sense department: Eat your vegetables, take your meds

(Icons made by Freepik from
licensed by CC BY 3.0)
As your mother said: Eat your vegetables.

Now, here's another, from health professionals: Take your medicine.

Check out this recent research about how not taking preventive meds is linked to fatal strokes:
Patients noncompliant with their antihypertensive and statin therapies had 7.43-fold ... increased risk of stroke death compared with people adherent to both, Kimmo Herttua, PhD, of the University of Southern Denmark in Esbjerg, and colleagues reported online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Taking one of the two medications but not the other lowered their risk of fatal stroke but didn't eliminate it compared with taking both, said the investigators.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

How I learned about aphasia and intelligence - the hard way

The note on the right was written by my wife back in 1998. I was trying to say "Jonesboro," the last word on the list. Instead, I said the top three words on the list.

Nonsense, in other words. And maddening, in that I knew what I was trying to say but something was in the way. My intelligence was intact - just couldn't get out.

I'd never heard of aphasia before I had my stroke. Now, you do see it in the news from time to time, but it's still frequently misunderstood.

Here's a good rundown on how aphasia is a little-known, yet growing, health problem:
At least 25 percent of the estimated 795,000 Americans who will have a stroke this year will acquire aphasia, according to Williamson's nonprofit organization. Symptoms can vary widely. While many have trouble speaking, others also struggle to process words being spoken to them, to read and to write.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

People, like cats, often ignore the obvious

We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God.
-C.S. Lewis
Our family cats ignore us much of the time. Cats are like that.

C.S. Lewis
I suspect they know we provide food, water, shelter and the like, but simply choose to ignore us because unless they happen to be hungry or thirsty, we aren't worth their time.

However, they cannot evade us forever. We control what they eat, their comfort and their water supply. If need be, we can pick them up and move them. It might take some effort, but we can eventually win out. And if nothing else, we're present in their lives most of the time.

People and God, it seems, are like that, too. We're famous for ignoring God. We get busy on doing something else and turn away. We set some priorities that exclude paying attention to God.

But, like the cats and the owners, we can't evade God. His presence is there, whether we pay attention or not.