I am thrilled to share with you our 2013 Raising Awareness in Stroke Excellence (RAISE) Awards winners. This national program recognizes individuals and groups for taking stroke awareness activities to new heights.

This year we received over 200 nominations—the most entries to date. All these candidates represented wonderful happenings occurring across the country to increase stroke awareness.

Click Here for this year’s winners and watch the video of the announcement.

Stroke Numbers Up Worldwide

An article posted to MedPage Today Oct 23, 2021 By Todd Neale, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today
Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

The overall burden of stroke in terms of absolute numbers of people affected around the world is growing, especially in younger age groups and in low-to-middle-income countries, a global study showed.

In 2010, there were 16.9 million people who had a first stroke, 33 million stroke survivors, and 5.9 million people who died from a stroke — increases of 68%, 84%, and 26% respectively since 1990, according to Valery Feigin, MD, of the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, and colleagues.

In addition, 102 million disability-adjusted life years DALYs were lost, up 12%, the researchers reported online in The Lancet.

What’s more, there was a 25% (95% CI 13% to 33%) increased incidence of stroke in those ages 20 to 64. At the end of the study period, 31% of first strokes occurred in people younger than 65, up from 25% in 1990.

If those trends continue, there will be an estimated 12 million stroke deaths, 70 million stroke survivors, and more than 200 million DALYs lost globally each year by 2030, with low- and middle-income countries bearing the brunt of the problem, they noted.

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Stop the Medicare Therapy Cap!

“60 days until the Medicare therapy cap goes into effect, tell Congress it’s time to #StopTheTherapyCap

The Medicare therapy cap exceptions process expires on December 31, 2013. Without Congressional action, patients will be faced with a hard cap on outpatient therapy services in 2014. The Therapy Cap Coalition, a group of almost 50 associations, organizations, patient and consumer groups, are working together to prevent a hard cap, but we need your help!

Join our Thunderclap and write your members of Congress to stop the therapy cap. You can find organizational action alerts on the Stop the Medicare Therapy Cap Facebook Page. Don’t let patients lose access to critical therapy services on January 1! Thanks for your participation!

What is the Stroke Gene?

WHAT IS THE STROKE GENE

An article posted to www.howtoandtips.com on 26 September, 2013 by Anne Richardson

This latest discovery pinpoints one type of gene called COL4a2 which is affected by a number of mutant protein cells. This in turn can cause bleeding in the brain which is the main factor in a haemorrhagic stroke. These diseased cells can be treated however by an already approved drug known as 4-phenyl butyric acid.

Yet this is not the only stroke gene that scientists have discovered. Back in 2012 another genetic mutation was discovered in just one of the 23,000 human genes and yet this single mutation is thought to double the risk of a stroke.

The stroke gene is known as HDAC9 and a link was found between people who had suffered from a blocked blood vessel leading to the brain and the gene which is thought to be a genetic variation inherited from parents. If someone inherits two copies of the gene from their parents then they double their risk of a stroke.

How Can the Stroke Gene be Identified?
In order to identify any genetic variants, scientists have to research the DNA sequence of patients and this simply is not possible on a large scale. Scientists usually compare healthy patients with those who have suffered a stroke to discover any gene mutations or variants. This information is used to help medical science better understand the nature of strokes and also to be able to tailor medication for stroke victims.

There are certain lifestyle risks that can also increase your chance of suffering a stroke whether or not you have the variant stroke gene. The only conclusion that science has been able to offer is that these genes increase the risk of someone suffering a stroke, but if certain lifestyle changes were implemented then that risk could be lowered considerably. In fact research carried out by scientists in Spain discovered that eating a health Mediterranean diet can even counteract a person’s genetic risk of having a stroke.

How Can Identifying Stroke Genes Help in the Treatment of Strokes?
By identifying different gene variations which may be responsible for certain types of strokes, scientists can individualise treatment for patients, aggressively targeting the mutant gene in order to prevent any further strokes. Early intervention is key as currently around 152,000 people in the UK suffer from a stroke each year which can often lead to disabilities affecting their daily lives and independence.

Anne Richardson is a health writer who lives in the UK with a keen interest in blogging and social media. Outside of writing Anne is a enthusiatic gardener and is a dab hand at homemade cooking.

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NIH announces 15 Clinical and Translational Science Awards to help translate scientific discoveries to improved health.

Translating basic discoveries into new treatments that tangibly improve human health requires innovative collaborations and resources, as well as a diverse, highly trained workforce. To help meet these needs, the National Institutes of Health today announced more than $79 million in fiscal year 2013 funding to support 15 Institutional Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA).

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As the Stroke Program Coordinator for Via Christi Hospital in Wichita, Kansas, I strive to care for patients and their families as if someday myself or someone I love could be in their situation. In May of 2010, it happened.
I received a phone call from my sister, who was just 30 at the time, a few hours after she awoke with “the worst headache of her life” and vision changes. Initially I thought about a stroke, but due to her young age and lack of any other symptoms, I attributed her complaints to a “possible migraine” – which she never had complaints of prior. When I found out that her symptoms became worse over the next couple of hours, I convinced her to let me take her to the hospital, where we found out that she had suffered a stroke.

Today, almost one year later, she has adjusted to complete left sided vision loss, but still struggles daily with fear, anxiety and some memory difficulties.

In hindsight, there are things I would have done different. Although she was likely to be out of the time window for any invasive treatment because she awoke with her symptoms and waited several hours to notify anyone, I should have called 911 immediately.

My messages to the public and healthcare professionals are:

*Stroke does not discriminate against age.
*Stroke symptoms are not always the obvious “facial droop and/or 1‐sided weakness.
*Act fast and dial 911 if you or anyone you know is experiencing a sudden, out of the ordinary change.

Someday, it could be you or someone you love in that bed – because unfortunately, none of us are invincible.

An article posted in MedlinePlus on Friday, October 18, 2021 By C. E. Huggins

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Caring for a disabled family member can be overwhelmingly hard. But caregivers may live longer than those who don’t bear such responsibilities, new research suggests.

In a nationwide study, adults who provided care for a chronically ill or disabled family member had a lower death rate than a similar group of non-caregivers.

The finding is something of a surprise.

In the past, researchers have found just the opposite - an increased risk of death as well as poorer mental and physical health among caregivers. Such detrimental health effects have been found among people caring for a disabled spouse or a person with dementia, for example.

“(We want to) emphasize the positive message that caregiving is a healthy thing that we should be doing in our families,” lead study author Dr. David L. Roth, director of the Johns Hopkins University Center on Aging and Health, told Reuters Health.

Dolores Gallagher-Thompson, who directs the Geriatric Education Center at Stanford University School of Medicine in California told Reuters Health the current study’s findings are “surprising… because prior studies did find an association between caregiver stress and mortality.”

Gallagher-Thompson pointed out that the caregivers included in Roth’s study were not heavily stressed, however. They didn’t all have their ill family member living with them full time. Some caregivers may have just visited their charges, the report indicates.

The study also did not distinguish between caregivers of people with dementia and those with other conditions.

“Previous studies that have reported high stress and increased mortality have focused on dementia,” said Gallagher-Thompson.

Roth noted that poorer health among caregivers is “undoubtedly true” in some cases, particularly among those caring for people with dementia. However, “caregiving stress has been over exaggerated,” he said.

“In a way you can say this is good news,” said Gallagher-Thompson, who was not involved in the study. “If you‘re caring for someone with long-term (illness or disability in some cases), it may actually provide you with some health benefits.”

Reasons for the lower rate of death among caregivers may have to do with their own self-selection, Roth said. Considering the low number of spouse caregivers included in the study, the non-spouse caregivers who chose to provide care to their family members “may be healthier, better adjusted people who have their own house in order,” he said.

Gallagher-Thompson thinks maybe altruism, spirituality, and resilience among caregivers also played a role. “Some caregivers are able to roll with the punches,” she said.

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OUR FAITH SAW US THROUGH THE LAST 18 YEARS OF RECOVERY
On June 20, 1995, John, age 55 had a massive stroke and was left with Aphasia (loss of speech and language ability), semi-paralysis on right side and Pseudobulbar (also known as involuntary emotional expression disorder).

That day John had come home from work, complaining that he was dizzy. I went in to the dressing room and found pictures off the wall and chairs moved around. I called our neighbor who was a doctor. We both thought it might have something to do with John being diabetic. He had John prick his finger and for me to get him some food and then to retest. While we were waiting John talked to our Granddaughter which later showed me that his speech at that time was fine. A very little time later all he could do was make gurgling sounds. Our doctor-neighbor came again and had John get dressed as we were going to the hospital. John easily got dressed - no paralysis at that time.

At this time we lived in Greenville, Mississippi and we asked the ER Doctor for tPA. He said that he wouldn’t give John tPA as it was still experimental. I was upset, thinking if we were in Houston, Texas; we could get it. Later I learned that because John had both ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes, if given tPA, the extra blood could have killed him. I knew The Lord was in control and not me!

Because of my faith I have always believed that the Lord was in control of my life; that He had a plan. Did I believe that now when my security (John’s good job and health) had been stripped away?

I found a note that I had written, shortly after we arrived in Houston. In part I wrote:

“I can only do all this with the Lord’s help. I’m very frightened…so many unknowns…I’m afraid nothing is going to be the same! Right now it seems like all of this is bad, but I know that the Lord can do awesome things through this situation. Someday, we will be able to look back and see all the good that has come from it. I know the Lord is in control because I can see how His Grace is upholding me when I feel so helpless. I’m so blessed to have our three sons, our great friends & family; great doctors and therapists at TIRR. Part of me says that I know God can restore John to good health and when HE does, we will give Him the credit; but if the Doctors’ tests show otherwise, I will have to think about other long term practical plans. I want to honor God in my actions. I want to be positive about John’s recovery. I know God can do miracles!”. Through all of this I didn’t want to let the Lord down in my witness for Him, but I was feeling very weak. I really didn’t want to fail HIM…I wanted to Glorify Him! I felt I needed to be up and “Cheery” for John, but I didn’t feel that way.

During this time I had numerous Blessings:

*Our sons told me that my job was to help their Dad to be the best he could be and they would assist in making sure we were all right, financially.

*We had friends that paved the way for John to be accepted into the Institute of Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) in Houston.

*Being in Houston would also mean we would have support from family and friends.

*Our best friends called and wanted me to stay at their home for as long as John was in Rehab. Coming home each night after dealing with John and his recovery to a familiar home and friends was such a blessing.

The Neurologist explained that John’s brain scans showed extensive damage and swelling and that John had aphasia, that he might eventually walk, but for extended walking he would need a wheel chair, and he would have no use of his right hand and arm. What they didn’t factor in was John’s desire to get better; the value of the love and support of family; that we knew who the Great Physician is and that God loved John and that he would guide us to help John to be the best that he could be!

The Doctors set out a plan including Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Music Therapy, psychiatry evaluation.

At TIRR the PT, OT, SP all asked what my “goals” were for John. I thought it was a crazy question. I said “I want John to be John again!” The Therapists and John worked very hard to make that happen. When we left TIRR after 5-1/2 months, John could walk with a cane, and say a few words.

In September we went to the first of four 6-week Sessions at the Residential Aphasia Program (RAP) at the U. of Michigan in Ann Arbor. There he had five hours of speech therapy, group therapy and computer classes each day.

His Therapist, Carole, helped develop his confidence in his abilities again. After one week, Carole looked at John and said, “John you are not sick, you have had a stroke; You need to get up ad get on with your life!” Then she looked at me and said, “Judi, John needs to be taken off these medicines(so he could think more clearly)”. He was in charge of the Closing program during his last session. He felt very proud of himself. Carole suggested finding someone to be a communication partner for John. Amazingly one of our neighbors, Emil, who was retired, came one day and asked if he could come in and visit with John. After his visit, I asked him if he would be that communication partner for John and he agreed. Emil came every weekday for over 2 years. The Lord had sent us a wonderful Communication “angel”!

We also took John to the Neurological Retraining Center (NRC) at the U. of Wisconsin for more PT and OT. They videoed him and wrote out a program to help John for two 3-month periods. It required about l-1/2 hrs of exercises each day, 5 days a week.

I learned a lot about being a Caregiver to someone with aphasia. First, you must remember that the person with Aphasia is the same person inside and should be treated with respect. There were many adjustments made when becoming John’s caregiver. From giving John two insulin shots per day and numerous other medicines, I also had to handle the financial matters. Initially, I wasn’t able to leave him alone. Later, I had to pack both suitcases and carry them to the car. Also, I had to drive John to the front door and then park the car.

I had to learn not to feel guilty when I did activities that took me away from John because my well-being is just as important as his, especially in getting us through John’s recovery process.

One of the terrible problems for Aphasics is that they lose their friends. When friends came to visit, it was obvious that they felt awkward since John could not carry on a normal conversation. It is so important to remember that John is still “there”; therefore, to talk about things he use to like to talk about, and he would just nod.

John has great quality of life after 18 years. Physically, John walks with a 4 prong cane; cannot use his right hand; he can dress himself except to button his left cuff on long sleeve shirt and putting on his right shoe with his brace. He learned to read again by reading 3 hours each day; learned to write with his left hand. He can “say” most words if you give him enough time. John drives (after attending Rehabilitation Driving school). This gave him more independence and control over his life. He drives to our sons’ company and enjoys being back in a working situation.

At the time of John’s stroke, there wasn’t any information on the internet on how to get better. I mentioned this to our son Joe. The next day, Joe called and told me we were starting a foundation; therefore, in 1997 the Aphasia Hope Foundation (www.aphasiahope.org) was born! AHF provides information on strokes, aphasia, and caregiving and provides guidance to Aphasia Survivors on their own road to recovery.

I look back on these 18 years and am thankful that instead of being defeated by the challenges, I relied on my Faith and sought God’s direction on each of our steps for John’s recovery. When confronted with dire doctor’s reports, I would make myself stand firm on the promises of God.

If I had succumbed to despair I would have missed God’s blessings that he had planned for John, for me, and for our sons and their families. I have clung to many bible verses during these 18 years but one is extra special to me and to my family:

Romans 8:28: “For we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him who have called according to his purpose.”

At Thanksgiving, 2012 we celebrated our 50th Wedding anniversary with our Family (18) and renewed our wedding vows! We are blessed!

by Lucy Bustamante, 13News Now, Posted on October 14, 2021 at 6:20 PM

VIRGINIA BEACH — Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury may soon have relief from their symptoms.

Dr. Paul Harch, a leader in hyperbaric medicine, claims hyperbaric oxygen therapy may permanently curtail TBI and PTSD symptoms.

James Ciconne was an E4 in the Army and was diagnosed with PTSD after spending a year in Iraq. He committed suicide a year ago. “He did say to me, ‘Mom, I’ve done terrible things. I’ve done terrible things,’ and you can see the pain in his face,” Tanya Ciconne said. His father, Bill Ciconne, remembers the last three texts he got from his son. “I love you, thank you for raising me, and goodbye,” he texted.

Bill Ciconne supports Dr. Harch’s research.

“I will never accept my son not being here,” Ciconne said.
Harch is in charge of the hyperbaric oxygen therapy program at LSU Medical School in New Orleans and says his therapy could help prevent 22 suicides that happen every day in the military. Harch says with his therapy, he’s seen brain traumas cured in veterans.

“To our great surprise, after 25 treatments he [one patient] came and said to me, ‘My PTSD is gone,’” Harch said.
Dr. Harch says he hopes his upcoming FDA trial using veterans with PTSD will prove to the military that the oxygen chamber they already use to help their divers heal can also be used to treat post traumatic stress disorder.

“It acts as a signal to our genes in our DNA and it turns on growth and repair hormones,” said Harch.

Dr. Harch isn’t waiting to get military members to him. Mercy Medical , a non-profit group, is stepping in to help.

Also on his side is the Ciconne family, who wishes their son would have known about the treatment.

On November 11, the Ciconnes are sponsoring a free movie night at Cinema Cafe to bring awareness to suicide prevention and PTSD treatment.

The Department of Defense, the Veteran’s Administration, and the National Institute of Mental Health recently pledged $100 million for further PTSD and TBI research and treatment, impacting over 550,000 brain injured veterans.

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Review of previous studies finds link between inflammatory bowel disease and cardiovascular trouble. This article was posted on Health Day News. MONDAY, Oct. 14

People with inflammatory bowel disease may be at increased risk for heart attack and stroke, a new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 150,000 inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients who took part in nine studies. They found that these patients had a 10 percent to 25 percent increased risk of stroke and heart attack, and that this increased risk was more prevalent among women.

Doctors need to be aware of this link and should focus on controlling other stroke and heart attack risk factors, such as smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes, study author Siddharth Singh, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said in a news release from the clinic.

The study was scheduled for presentation Monday at the annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology, in San Diego. Research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis — the most common forms of IBD — affect 1.5 million Americans. In these patients, inflammation of the intestine leads to rectal bleeding, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and pain, fever, and weight loss.

Patients with IBD need to work with a doctor to manage their condition, control their stress, eat a healthy diet and get moderate exercise. Smoking is a major risk factor for IBD patients, and those who smoke should try to quit, the researchers said.

Although the study found an association between IBD and an increased risk for heart attack and stroke, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

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