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Preventing Another Stroke

iHOPE is a series of Web presentations and “Ask the Experts” Q&A sessions led by topic experts who will give you information and resources to help with specific issues related to stroke recovery. It is designed to provide an individual experience, allowing you to learn at your own pace and access information about stroke information specific to your personal needs.

 Join topic expert Mary Pinzon, RN, CPE, MEd, for Preventing Another Stroke and learn more about:

  • What is a stroke?
  • Types of stroke
  • Warning signs of stroke
  • Stroke risk factors and tips for managing them
  •  Medication assistance programs

 Mary Pinzon, RN, CPE, MEd, is the Stroke Education Nurse for INTEGRIS James R. Daniel Stroke Center of Oklahoma at Southwest Medical Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
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Motor rehab therapy also may improve language skills in stroke patients

Therapy designed to improve arm function in stroke survivors also improved their language skills, according to a new study. The study includes the first data supporting a long-held clinical tenet that motor rehabilitation efforts can also cause changes in language.

Brain scientists have known for some time that brain structures supporting language and motor systems operate similarly. Neuroscientist Stephen Page of the University of Cincinnati hypothesized that patients with one-sided paralysis (hemiparesis) would exhibit language changes along with changes in arm motor function.

Dr. Page and his team studied five patients with chronic hemiparesis and aphasia. The patients received two arm function tests along with a two assessment function tests along with a standard language assessment before and after up to six weeks of weekday arm training. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) monitored affected arm and brain changes.

All five survivors showed improved motor and language abilities after motor therapy for upper extremity hemiparesis. The three subjects with the greatest as improvement on one of the arm tests also showed the most improvement on the language assessment. Researchers and task-related activity changes between pre- and post-fMRI scans revealed distinct brain activation patterns associated with high improvements on language and motor tests. Better understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying functional recovery in stroke may lead to efficient therapy delivery, researchers said.

To sign up for this free publication, click on Stroke Connection .

National Stroke Association has embraced the need for recovery resources that are easily accessible, free and convenient for you.      


To help you along the recovery journey, The National Stroke Association created Living After Stroke – an easy way for you to learn how to make the necessary adjustments in your daily life to cope with life after stroke. Living After Stroke is an individual experience. It allows you to learn at your own pace and access information specific to your own needs .Through a five-year grant from the Rehabilitation Institute Research Corporation, The NAA is creating yearly Web presentations to help you more easily work through the challenges of adjusting to life at work, in the home and community and identify and access needed services.

Watch these free, easy-to-view, web presentations by a team of experts who will give you the information and resources you need to make a smooth transition to your home and community by clicking here:  Living .

ScienceDaily (Mar. 24, 2009) — Stroke can impair balance, heightening the risk of a debilitating fall. But a University of Illinois at Chicago researcher has found that stroke survivors can improve their balance by practicing the Chinese martial art of tai chi.

Christina Hui-Chan, professor and head of physical therapy at UIC, has studied and used tai chi as a way to improve balance and minimize falls among healthy elderly subjects. Now she and a colleague have seen similar results in a group of stroke survivors.

The study used 136 subjects in Hong Kong who had suffered a stroke more than six months earlier. Participants were randomly assigned to a tai chi group or a control group that practiced breathing, stretching and other exercises that involved sitting, walking, memorizing and reasoning.

Tai chi consists of constant coordinated movement of the head, trunk and limbs requiring tremendous concentration and balance control. Participants learned a simplified form that had been shown to be beneficial to arthritis patients.

Patients were trained in small groups by physical therapists in a weekly class, then practiced at home three days a week for one hour. They received 12 weeks of training but were able to learn the technique in as little as eight. The goal was to make the patients as independent in their treatment as possible, Hui-Chan said.

They were then tested for their ability to maintain balance while shifting weight, leaning in different directions, and standing on moving surfaces to simulate a crowded bus. In these tests the tai chi group out-performed the control exercise group. The two groups performed about the same on another test, which was not focused solely on balance but involved sitting, standing, walking, and returning to sit down.

“The tai chi group did particularly better in conditions that required them to use their balance control,” Hui-Chan said. “In only six weeks, we saw significant improvements. The ability to shift your weight is very important because all reaching tasks require it.”

While learning tai chi is not easy, Hui-Chan has found that most people can learn the art if taught by a trained instructor. Many Chinese practice tai chi in morning group exercises, and Hui-Chan thinks the experience can work for Americans and other western nationalities.

“It can be taught at community centers, YWCAs or YMCAs, or in parks in the summer,” she said.

Read this and other articles in

Read more from the International Taoist Tai Chi Society Health Recovery Program by clicking:

Be Careful Out There!

Stroke doubles patients’ risk of hip or thigh fracture

An articly By Stroke Connection Magazine March/April 2010

Stroke Survivors have about twice the risk of breaking a hip or femur compared to those without a stroke – and the risk is even greater for younger patients, women and those with recent strokes.  Dutch researchers report in Stroke: Journal of the American Hear Association”.  Their findings imply that it is important to conduct fracture risk assessment immediately after a patient is hospitalized for stroke.  They studied 6,763 patients who had a hip/femur fracture and matched them by age, gender and location with 26,341 others in a large database of Dutch patients without fractures.  After adjusting for general factors for fracture risk, the researchers found:

  1. Overall, stroke was associated with about double the risk of fracture
  2. Among women, fracture risk was slightly higher than double
  3. Patients were most vulnerable for hip/femur fracture during the first three months after a stroke, when the risk was more than three times higher.
  4. The youngest stroke survivors (70 years or younger) were at the highest risk.

The findings of highest risk of fracture in the first months after stroke confirm and reinforce other trials that showed “substantially higher” rates of bone mineral density loss within the first six months after stroke.  Loss of bone mineral density was most obvious in paralyzed extremities.

 The majority of hip/femur fractures occurred in people age 50 or older and the average period between stroke and fracture was 22 years. The average of study participants was 75, and 73 percent were female.

To sign up for The Stroke Connection Magazine, a free, publication, click on:  Stroke Connection Magazine

Author: Roberta Yared

A new device could save you and yours from major disabilities caused by the most common type of stroke.

The tiny device has a big name: The Concentric MERCI Retrieval System. It “almost instantly” reverses paralysis and other stroke symptoms by safely removing blood clots from the brain vessels, Sidney Starkman, M.D., of the UCLA Stroke Center, told an American Stroke Association conference in San Diego last month.

Each year, 700,000 Americans have a stroke, the country’s leading cause of disabliity and the third-leading cause of death. Eighty-eight percent of strokes are ischemic, in which blood flow to the brain is blocked.

Starkman reported that in his study, blood flow was restored in more than 50 percent of the 114 participants, whose average age was 70 and who were treated up to eight hours after their stroke symptoms first appeared. Many of these patients had no problems or only minor difficulties after the blood clots were removed, he said.

Trial participants could not use the clot-buster drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), the standard treatment today. TPA must be given within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms.

The new device, made of nickel and titanium and shaped like a corkscrew, is encased in a catheter and threaded through an artery in the groin up to the brain.

The MERCI Retriever has not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration but is under review.

Article taken from AARP Bulletin- March 2004

Reaad a fascinating story about this lifesaving device by Clicking Here .

For updated information on the Concentric MERCI Retrieval System, click on .

Author: Lindsey Tanner, Associated Press

Nintendo’s Wii video game system, whose popularity already extends beyond the teen gaming set, is fast becoming a craze in rehab therapy for patients recovering from strokes, broken bones, surgery and even combat injuries.

The usual stretching and lifting exercises that help the sick or injured regain strength can be painful, repetitive and downright boring.

In fact, many patients say PT — physical therapy’s nickname — really stands for “pain and torture,” said James Osborn, who oversees rehabilitation services at Herrin Hospital in southern Illinois.

Using the game console’s unique, motion-sensitive controller, Wii games require body movements similar to traditional therapy exercises. But patients become so engrossed mentally they’re almost oblivious to the rigor, Osborn said. Read More .

For More Articles about “Wii-hab”, click on .

ABC and

Click Wii .

Melodic Intonation Therapy

Melodic intonation therapy (MIT) uses melodic and rhythmic components to assist in speech recovery for patients with aphasia.

Although MIT was first described in the 1970s, it is considered a relatively new and experimental therapy. Few research studies have been performed to analyze the effectiveness of treatment with large numbers of patients. Despite this, some speech therapists use the method for children and adults with aphasia as well as for children with developmental apraxia of speech.

The effectiveness of MIT derives from its use of the musical components melody and rhythm in the production of speech. A group of researchers from the University of Texas have discovered that music stimulates several different areas in the brain, rather than just one isolated area. They also found a strong correlation between the right side of the brain that comprehends music components and the left side of the brain that comprehends language components. Because music and language structures are similar, it is suspected that by stimulating the right side of the brain, the left side will begin to make connections as well. For this reason, patients are encouraged to sing words rather than speak them in conversational tones in the early phases of MIT. Studies using positron emission tomography (PET) scans have shown Broca’s area (a region in the left frontal brain controlling speech and language comprehension) to be reactivated through repetition of sung words.

To read the complete article, please Click Here.

For another article from Rehab, please Click Here
and from Stroke Connection Magazine .

Here are a couple of other articles with personal testimonies: .

To hear a speech from one of the above survivors, please Click Here .

Author: Monique Beeler

As well-wishers bearing bouquets filed into a rehearsal room in the Music Building on a chill December afternoon, 14 choir members dressed in red-and-black had already taken their seats, preparing to warm the hall with their first performance.

A diverse group of men and women who once worked in professions including rock musician and in-home caregiver and ranging in age from 40s to 80s, choir members share one common trait: Each is a client of the Aphasia Treatment Program offered by Cal State East Bay’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Most commonly caused by a stroke, asphasia is a disorder that impairs a person’s ability to communicate but doesn’t affect intelligence.

“Through the choir, people have talked about the power and magic of music,” said Ellen Bernstein-Ellis, director of the Aphasia Treatment Program and founder of the choir –– the only one of its kind in the Bay Area and one of a handful offered nationwide. “Maybe Ella Fitzgerald said it best: The only thing better than singing is singing some more. So without further ado, may I introduce to you the choir.”

Following the welcoming remarks, graduate student and Choir Musical Director Michelle Lussier steps to the music stand set up before the group. At her signal, they launch into a series of familiar tunes including holiday standards, Motown favorites and pop hits such as Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.”

“No, I won’t be afraid, no, I won’t be afraid/Just as long as you stand, stand by me …” choir members sang in unison.

Despite difficulty communicating, research has shown that music and singing can help those with aphasia access language in a way they can’t through regular speech, explained Lussier, 40.

“There are a couple people in the group who can speak really only one word at a time but who can sing songs they know pretty fluently,” she said.
Read More .

Driving After a Stroke

Author: Jillian Dworak

The following is from an Article from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Life Center, reviewed March 2006:

For most people, being able to drive is a sign of independence and freedom. Driving enables people to get to the places they want to go and do what they want to do. It is something that many of us have done for much, if not most, of our lives. Nevertheless, driving is a very complex skill. Our ability to drive safely can be affected by changes in our physical, emotional, and medical condition. The goal of this brochure is to:

assist you, your family, your physician, and other health care professionals address how a stroke may affect your ability to drive; and
introduce you to the Driver Rehabilitation Program at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

To access more information from RIC please Click Here.

The American Stroke Association also has the following article. You can access it by clicking Here .

Another great article was filed in the Stroke Connection Magazine, September/October 2010 issue: Survivors at the Wheel.