Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Alexa - tell me how to save a life

Alexa has moved into our home.

That is, a couple of Amazon Echo Dots occupy the place where I live. So far, I've told Alexa (the name of the voice) to tell me jokes, give me news and weather information, play radio stations, play music and more.

Very handy devices, all voice-controlled.

And now, Alexa can tell you the steps for CPR and warning signs of heart attack and stroke:
Alexa, the friendly voice of the Amazon Echo, will for the first time offer CPR instructions and describe the warning signs of heart attack and stroke.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Snowstorms and strokes - strange association

The people in my town, Columbia, Missouri, can thank me for the lack of snow lately. A couple of years ago on Black Friday, I bought a snow blower online, from my recliner. That's my kind of Black Friday shopping.

But it's been mostly idle since - not that much snow. Which is fine. I'm not a fan.

So how does this tie in with strokes? It seems that snowstorms may bring blizzards health troubles, including strokes:
Hospital admissions for heart-related ailments -- heart attack, chest pain and stroke -- were 23 percent higher two days after a storm.
The study authors believe their analysis is the first to examine hospital admissions over the course of several days after low, moderate and high snowfalls.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Story of a clinical trial provides serious food for thought

A still from the video of my PFO closure.
Click here to watch the video.
Something to think about: Clinical trials are necessary but can be thought-provoking.

The Houston Chronicle recently published a look at a clinical trial to find answers about closing a heart defect called a patent foramen ovale, or a PFO. It's potentially a stroke-causing defect. It was the probable cause of my stroke in 1998. It got patched up in 2007. You can click here to read about it.

But even though mine was fixed almost 10 years ago, it didn't end the controversy over whether the procedure - done in a cardiac catheterization lab - was really better than treating the defect with medication. One of my personal choices involved not taking blood-thinning warfarin - click here to read about it - for the rest of my life.