Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Stroke patients can keep recovering, even after a year

One takeaway from a recent story about stroke recovery shows something to remember - "it's highly unethical to say nothing can be done after 12 months" in recovery. Personally, it took me years to get back to my almost-100 percent recovery. Stroke recovery can be incremental.

Now, will horses and music definitely help? One small study doesn't prove that it does, but it's worth studying further. Read how long-term stroke survivors believe they do better with horse, music therapy:
A small Swedish study of stroke patients finds that activities such as horseback riding and rhythm-and-music therapy can help them feel like they're recovering faster, even if their stroke occurred years earlier.
After 12 weeks of twice-weekly lessons, 56 percent in the riding group and 38 percent in the music group said they had experienced meaningful recovery compared to 17 percent who were not given any extra activity. The self-reported benefit persisted six months after the lessons stopped.
Coauthor Dr. Michael Nilsson told Reuters Health by phone that the results counter the attitude that stroke patients can't improve if a year has passed since their brain damage occurred.
"For a big, big, big group of stroke survivors, it's highly unethical to say nothing can be done after 12 months," said Nilsson, who directs the Hunter Medical Research Institute in New South Wales, Australia. That attitude can "kill the motivation for further rehabilitation."

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Finding the right words - the challenge of aphasia

June is Aphasia Awareness Month. And until 19 years ago, I had no idea what the word meant.

But I know now. It's a language disorder, leaving some people unable to speak. Others can speak but struggle to find the right words.

That was me. I still have the list of words I said to my wife after my 1998 stroke: towrith, rice, torithe. And I was trying to say the name of a city I'd visited not long before -- Jonesboro. Through time and with the help of a speech therapist, family and friends, I'm almost 100 percent back.

I can still remember frequently swapping pronouns -- referring to a male as "she" or a female as "he," a common occurrence. Or leaving out small words. Or using the wrong tense -- such as saying "worked" instead of "working."