An article posted in Stroke Connection Magazine, November/December 2010 issue

A stroke leaves physical and emotional damage – it can also zap energy and cause fatigue. Researchers report that up to 70 percent of survivors experience fatigue that includes overwhelming physical and/or mental tiredness or exhaustion. Symptoms can include difficulty with self control, emotions and memory. How severe and long-lasting fatigues ranges from mild and seldom to overwhelming and constant. Some report feeling tired when they perform a task requiring physical or mental focus. Most report that fatigue occurs without warning and makes it harder to do daily, routine activities as well as social or work activities.

CAUSES:
Because research in this area is limited, we aren’t certain what causes fatigue, but there are several possible causes.

Medical conditions a survivor has, such as heart disease, diabetes, repertory disease, anemia, pre-stroke fatigue or migraines, can contribute to fatigue. That’s because the stroke or medication side affects may worsen fatigue or even mask it. Sleep apnea is also common among survivors. It is reported at high rates among those who report post-stroke fatigue, although no solid relationship has been proven.

Poor heart health may also play a part due to higher levels of exertion. Survivors expend twice as much energy just standing upright and keeping their balance.

Survivors are often concerned about doing some tasks. This stress can increase physical and mental demands and lead to fatigue. Lack of control in movement and walking appear to increase when a person is tired. Anxiety, stress and depression, which are common after stroke, are associated with lack of energy, although research has not determined their specific relationships to post-stroke fatigue.

FIGHTING POST-STROKE FATIGUE
Talk to your family and work with your healthcare team to determine the best plan of care for you. Here are some other tips:
1. Check your prescriptions for potential side effects, including fatigue.
2. Ask for treatment options if you are experiencing anxiety, depression or difficult sleeping. Family support and understanding can also help. Let your family know that post-stroke fatigue is different from fatigue they’ve experienced.
3. Maintain good health to prevent or control other medical conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, which can affect your energy level. Currently there is no prescription specifically for tiredness, although many related symptoms can be treated.
4. Talk to your physical therapist to understand fitness balance disorders, uncoordinated movement and walking related to fatigue. He or she can create an exercise program to increase your endurance. Balance and coordination exercises will help you perform tasks with less energy, increase our confidence and decrease your anxiety.
5. Try to schedule demanding physical or mental activities throughout the day or week. That way you’ll plan to take rest breaks before you feel tired and break up the concentrated periods of time that you’re exerting yourself.
6. Consider modifying your home and work environment to make them more efficient. Use assistive technology when possible.

Physical therapists can help patients reduce post-stroke fatigue. In most states, patients can make an appointment directly with a physical therapist, without a physician referral. Learn more about conditions physical therapists can treat and find a physical therapist in your area at www.moveforwardpt.com

Read this and other great articles by signing up for Stroke Connection Magazine a free publication, by clicking on Stroke Connection Magazine

Posted in the January/February, 2011 edition of Stroke Connection Magazine

A poll of stroke patients commissioned by the American Heart Association a year ago that found stroke survivors and their families face significant challenges in the healthcare system. Among the survey’s key findings were that a whopping 69 percent of stroke patients reported difficulty paying for medical care. Of those who said they had difficulty paying for medical expenses, 85 percent reported delaying or putting off needed care or skipping or reducing their medicine. Forty percent of survivors reported difficulties with their insurance plans in the past couple of years and 36 percent had gone without insurance coverage at some point since their stroke.

“Research has found that stroke patients without health insurance have up to a 50 percent higher risk of death who are underinsured also have up to a 50% percent higher risk of death compared to stoke patients with insurance, and patients who are underinsured also have poorer outcomes,” said AHA President, Ralph Sacco, M.D., chairman of neurology at the University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Hospital. “These statistics reinforce why reform or our healthcare system is critical to stroke survivors and those at risk for stroke. We need to make sure all Americans with stroke and cardiovascular disease have accessible, affordable and high quality care.”

Now that healthcare reform legislation — the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – is law, many survivors are concerned how it will affect them. While the law is not perfect, the good news is that it contains a number of provisions that should make healthcare coverage more accessible, affordable and adequate for survivors. There are several new protections that stroke patients with private health insurance coverage (or seeking to buy private coverage) should know.

PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS:
As of Sept. 23, 2010, for children under age 19 (and beginning Jan 1, 2022 for adults), no one can be turned down for insurance coverage because of pre-existing conditions such as stroke or high blood pressure Also as of this past September, insurance plans can no longer cancel coverage when a person becomes sick.

New health plans, called Pre-Existing Condition Insurance plans, were launched last summer. Intended to help bridge the gap leading up to Jan. 1, 2014, these plans are available for people who have a pre-existing conditions and have been without health insurance for at least six months. The details of these plans depend on the state where you live.

COVERAGE REQUIRED:
Beginning Jan 1, 2014, all Americans will be required to have health insurance. In exchange, insurance companies will be prohibited from charging higher premiums because of health status or pre-existing conditions.

Those who don’t receive coverage through an employer will be able to purchase a private plan through state-based health insurance exchanges beginning no later than Jan 1, 2014. Theses exchanges will be one-stop marketplaces where you can compare plans and choose the one that is best for you from a menu of options.

For more information or to read the whole article in Stroke Connection Magazine, January/February 2011 edition, sign up for this free subscription by clicking on Stroke Connection Magazine

For more information on this law click on Healthcare.gov

There are many websites that offer games that stimulate your brain and lead to brain health.
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Have fun working your memory, problem-solving and language skills with these new online games. Adjust the game to your skill level and see how you rate next to top players. Have a favorite? We’d love to hear what you think. Cast your vote using the poll at the lower left. aarp brain games

Games For The Brain: : Games For The Brain

Check more websites for brain health by going to Google

Games for Purchase:

Writing classes:
Scrabble: Scrabble

Scrabble Slam (cards): Scrabble Slam

Scattergories: Scattergories

Boggle: Boggle

Speech classes:
Catch Phrase!: Catch Phrase

Guestures: Guestures

Likewise: Likewise

Name 5: Name 5

A stroke, the medical term for when blood and nutrients are cut off from the brain, can have a devastating effect on a person’s ability to communicate. Words that once came naturally for even simple objects before the stroke—such as a chair, a pen, or an apple—are suddenly difficult if not impossible to retrieve. Although some people may recover their language skills in time, for others, the effects can be chronically debilitating.

Such differences in patient outcomes have scientists from the University of South Carolina delving deeper into this language disorder—called aphasia—which results when language centers of the brain are damaged by stroke, head injury, or other causes. In new NIDCD-funded research, they’ve demonstrated not only how important the location of the brain damage is in predicting how well a person will respond to aphasia therapy, they are also investigating a new method for stimulating brain-damaged regions in people with aphasia, in hopes of increasing brain plasticity and perhaps improving word recall.

In research published in the September 15, 2010, issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, Julius Fridriksson, Ph.D., studied 26 patients who experienced chronic aphasia after suffering a stroke that damaged the brain’s left hemisphere, where the language centers are found. He wanted to observe whether treating patients for anomia, an impairment associated with aphasia in which a person has difficulty naming certain objects, can help increase neural activity in key regions of the brain. (Although there are several types of aphasia and each has a variety of symptoms, anomia is a symptom that all people with aphasia have in common.) He also wanted to learn if damage to certain regions of the brain had a particularly negative effect on the successfulness of a patient’s treatment.

Read More

An article posted in Advance for Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists, September 20, 2021 in Vol. 20 • Issue 19 • Page 13

Researchers have developed a method to predict post-stroke recovery of language by measuring the initial severity of impairment. Being able to predict recovery has important implications for stroke survivors and their families as they plan for short- and long-term treatment needs.1

“These results indicate that if we know the extent of the initial impairment following stroke, we can predict with remarkable accuracy how patients will function 90 days later,” said Ronald Lazar, PhD, of New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center. “We have established the first reliable metric of the current standard care for post-stroke language treatment and a standard against which future treatments can be compared.”

More than 1 million Americans have aphasia, and stroke is the most common cause, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. For many years it was thought that the combination of stroke size, patient age and education, and specific characteristics of language deficit were predictive of recovery, but no reliable metric had been established.

The recent study involved patients in the Performance and Recovery in Stroke (PARIS) database, which is based at the Neurological Institute of Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian/Columbia.

Researchers used the Western Aphasia Battery (WAB) to assess language function at 24 to 72 hours after stroke onset and then again at 90 days. Among patients with mild to moderate aphasia after acute stroke, recovery improved to about 70 percent of their maximum potential recovery as long as they received some aphasia therapy. Recovery was defined as the change in WAB score between baseline and 90 days.
This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Reference
1. Lazar, R.M., Minzer, B., Antoniello, D., et al. (2010). Improvement in aphasia scores after stroke is well predicted by initial severity. Stroke, 41: 1485-88.

To read, email, print this article, click on Advance Web .

An invitation from The Academi Of Life to spend a night with Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a Harvard-trained Neuroanatomist, Lecturer and Author on:

May 11, 2021 at The New York Society of Ethical Culture in New York City.

“Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one. An astonishing story.”

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a Harvard-trained and published neuroanatomist. Her brother’s brain disorder and schizophrenia led Dr. Taylor to dedicate her career to studying severe mental illnesses. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey. Dr. Taylor gave a presentation at the TED Conference, which has been watched by over ten million and has become the most viewed TED Talk to date. She was chosen as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Dr. Taylor was the premiere guest on Oprah’s Soul Series webcast and was interviewed by Oprah and Dr. Oz on The Oprah Winfrey Show. She’s now an artist as well as a scientist, creating anatomically correct stained-glass replicas of brains that are sold as fine art and also travels the country on behalf of the Harvard Brain Bank as the “Singin’ Scientist.” Dr. Taylor is an adjunct lecturer at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

o Learn how to get your brain to do what you want it to do.
o Learn who is who inside of you.

Join us for a special evening of inspirational storytelling, spiritual conversations, and meaningful music: an evening of “uncommon depth.” Jill will be joined by critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Carrie Newcomer. Presenting on the same stage, author and songwriter weave a seamless story of insight into the wonders of the human brain and the resilience of the human spirit through their own stories of change and transformation.

The evening is designed to be a completely enveloping experience as Jill and Carrie engage the audience in an intellectual discussion, while taking them on a powerful journey into the consciousnesses of their minds, bodies and hearts and at the same time, creating a space of safety, joy and celebration of life.

‘Pay attention to what you are thinking, and then decide if those are thoughts that are creating the kind of life you want created.’ – Jill Bolte Taylor

Register and find out more by clicking on The Academi of Life

“Everyone who cherishes the gift of language will cherish Diane Ackerman’s narrative masterpiece, an exquisitely written love story and medical miracle story, one that combines science, inspiration, wisdom, and heart.

One day Ackerman’s husband, Paul West, an exceptionally gifted wordsmith and intellectual, suffered a terrible stroke. When he regained awareness he was afflicted with aphasia-loss of language-and could utter only a single syllable: “mem.” The standard therapies yielded little result but frustration. Diane soon found, however, that by harnessing their deep knowledge of each other and her scientific understanding of language and the brain she could guide Paul back to the world of words. This triumphant book is both a humane and revealing addition to the medical literature on stroke and aphasia and an exquisitely written love story: a magnificent addition to literature, period.”

Order

The National Aphasia Association and The Association for Frontotemporal Dementias are proud to be a part of this important conference for both caregivers and persons with Primary Progressive Aphasia that is being hosted by Northwestern University’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center.

The conference will be held Monday, March 21st, 2011 at The Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center of Northwestern University in Chicago, IL. The program will include a Keynote Address by Bradley F. Boeve, MD, a professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN; approaches to assessing and treating mood and behavioral symptoms by Deborah Reed, MD, assistant professor of Psychiatry at Northwestern University; a number of breakout sessions for caregivers, and so much more.

For more information, or to register to attend, please click here .

“This aphasia must be akin to what a foreigner feels knowing very little English. After all, I am learning English as a second language — English the Second Time Around.”

Schultz suffered an aphasic stroke that left her completely without words. She could not speak, read nor write and had difficulty understanding words spoken to her. “Crossing the Void” is the story of her courageous journey back.

With the language part of her brain permanently damaged, in an unorthodox approach to re-learning speech and writing, she taught herself to visualize words to prompt her speech. Her book describes the painstaking process that led her from wordlessness to book author.

In a masterfully crafted narrative, the author brings the reader into her aphasic mind enabling them to better understand what it is like to be aphasic. She provides fascinating insight into the workings of a damaged brain driven to regain normalcy, as well as a frank appraisal of the resources available to help aphasic victims. Hers is the inspiring story of a woman determined to overcome a major disability and, now, to help others do so as well.

“Crossing the Void” is a compelling read for everyone. But especially, it begs to be read by every professional and lay person working with aphasia and language learning disorders.

Order this book through www.crossingthevoid.com or through your local book store.

Below is Aphasia Hope Foundation’s upcoming Professional Forum Series for 2011

January – Maura Silverman, MS, CCC-SLP; Triangle Aphasia Project, North Carolina
February – Kristine Lundgren, PhD., CCC-SLP; Boston University School of Medicine
March – Nan Musson, MA, CCC-SLP; BC-NCD-A, VA Medical Center, Gainesville, FL
April – Mary Beth Clark, MS/CCC
May – Audrey Holland, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, BC-NCD; University of Arizona
June – Anne Ver Hoef, MA, CCC-SLP; Alaska
July – Roberta J. Elman, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, BC-NCD; Aphasia Center of California
August – Carole Pomilio, MA, CCC-SLP; Speech Language Teacher, Kyrene Schools, Arizona
September – Claire Penn, Ph.D., CCC-SLP; ETH University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
October – Leonard LaPointe, Ph.D., CCC-SLP; Florida State University
November – Margaret Forbes, MS, CCC-SLP; University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
December – Anita Halper, MA, CCC-SLP, BC-NCD; Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago