Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas: '...and for love of us came to us ...'

When we celebrate Christmas we are celebrating that amazing time when the Word that shouted all the galaxies into being, limited all power, and for love of us came to us in the powerless body of a human baby.
-Madeleine L'Engle
As the season of Christmas is still with us - until Epiphany on Jan. 6 - I wanted to add this quote from Madeleine L'Engle, best know as the author of "A Wrinkle in Time."

These are words to ponder. Celebrating the birth of, from outward appearances, a human baby - but knowing that this baby was the embodiment of the one who created you and loves you. What am amazing time that must have been.

So today, as people are so tempted to move past Christmas as if we can just put it away, keep Ms. L'Engle's quote in mind. Before that first Christmas, God first "shouted all the galaxies in being" and made humanity.

Yes, we celebrate that birth during this time of year. But that love is more than a day, a season. God's love for you was your gift on Dec. 25, today, tomorrow and as the New Year dawns. Every and all days, God's love is present and accessible for you.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

'Lazarus effect' - then and now

[This was originally posted Dec. 24, 2009; revised in 2014]
Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. "Take away the stone," he said.
"But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days."
Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me."
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."
A few years ago (2008), I heard a presentation by one of the doctors responsible for making tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) available to stroke patients.

In my own 1998 experience, I could not speak, I could not move my right arm or leg - but after the clot-busting tPA, I regained those abilities. It was a dramatic experience. The doctor called it "the Lazarus effect."

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Another study shows possible stroke treatment outcomes

As the year gets close to an end, we've lately seen two pieces of news that might - might - lead to better outcomes for stroke patients in hospitals.

A few days ago, there was research showing that a clot removal technique might be the next step in certain stroke treatment. Click here to read about it.

One of the concerns about tissue plasminogen activator clotbuster - tPA - is a risk of bleeding. Now, though, research indicates the possibility that another drug might counters tPA risks:

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Positive news for new stroke treatment - clot removal

There's promising news that there's more than one way to battle a clot-related stroke. Maybe, in some circumstances, better than current medical treatment.

Read here about a study showing how clot removal proves mettle in large-vessel strokes:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Headlines can hit or miss the story

Photo from the
National Institute on Aging
I'm a journalist by trade, and I've seen some great - and not so great - stories about strokes, research and treatment.

For instance, over the last few days, I've seen stories about a recent study about memory loss and stroke risk. The study included a portion saying that people who complain about memory loss have a higher risk of stroke. But then it gets muddy.

The researchers included three groups, by level of medication - low, medium and high. And the high group members seemed to have had a higher stroke risk. Or did they?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Post-TIA brain scans might yield vital information

Nobody likes to hear bad news - but sometimes, bad news might save a life.

Many people have transient ischemic attacks, or mini-strokes, before a larger stroke occurs. Now, imaging after a mini-stroke can help map a plan of treatment and, potentially, preventing a more serious stroke.

You can read here about how brain scans yield clues to future stroke risk:
Brain scans taken shortly after a mild stroke can help identify patients at risk of suffering another stroke within three months, a new study suggests.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Ignorance about stroke can kill or disable

If you're here, chances are you've had a stroke or know someone who had a stroke. That means you're likely more educated than most people about stroke risks, signs and the potential outcomes, both good and bad.

I ran across a couple of articles about the lack of knowledge in the United States - where this blog is based - and halfway across the globe. One article reports that more than half of Americans don’t know if they are at risk for:
Despite the prevalence and potential severity of stroke, many Americans still don’t know the risk factors or signs of a stroke. About one third of Americans are unable to recall the warning signs of a stroke, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Nearly 60 percent of Americans don’t know if they are at risk for the disease, the American Stroke Association (ASA) said.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Post 700: '...there is no failure'

Inside the will of God there is no failure. Outside the will of God there is no success.
I ran across this quote not long ago. Now, I don't pretend to know all there is to know about God's will. Yet, this quote strikes me as true.

Today's posting is No. 700 on this blog. And I would hazard a guess that at least a time or two, I've had some success. Those times with positive responses, both public and private. The posts that were personally therapeutic.

My personal prayer with Post 700 is to move upward to success - not necessarily as people see it, but as God sees it.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Better speed to stroke treatment

More evidence that mobile stroke treatment can result in better outcomes. Just read about a recent study indicating that a mobile unit speeds access to tPA:
Nearly one-third of (32.6%) ischemic stroke patients who were transported in the special ambulance received thrombolysis, compared with 22% of patients who received conventional care ..., reported researcher Martin Ebinger, MD, of the Charite-Universitatsmedizin in Berlin, and colleagues.
Hospital transport ... increased the number of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) treatments within the critical window of 1 hour (the "golden hour") from symptom onset almost 10-fold, they wrote online in JAMA Neurology.
Golden-hour thrombolysis was associated with better short-term outcomes in the study population, they added.
Read the whole article for details for a way to improve the application of this treatment and improved versions in the future.