Wednesday, November 21, 2007

WHAT'S UP DOC? Pinning down communication difficulty

Q: My husband has been having difficulty talking to me. It seems as if it is hard for him to get the words out, yet he seems to understand when I speak to him. What can cause this?

A: You seem to be describing what is called expressive aphasia, and that is what I will discuss in today's column. Your doctor can verify this is what is happening, isolate the cause and then help guide your husband to some therapies that may prevent further problems and help improve the symptoms.

We all know that one thing that separates humans from other animals is the extent and complexity in which we are able to use language to communicate; although animals may use language to some extent, the human use of language is much more advanced. Aphasia is any loss (partial or complete) of the ability to understand or express language (oral or written). next....

Robbed of power to communicate

A bookshelf greets visitors as they walk into Lindsay Richardson's living room, a range of paperbacks and hardbacks propped in rows. However, these days the former secondary school teacher struggles to enjoy them. A stroke suddenly robbed her of the power to interpret written language.

She recalls: "It was great to be home from hospital, but the real worries were yet to come. I used to read a lot, my house was full of books and I could not read a word.

"Reading was lost to me and that was so frustrating."


Recovery and treatment of aphasia after stroke: functional imaging studies

Recovery and treatment of aphasia after stroke: functional imaging studies
Crinion, J.T., et al. - Recent studies of aphasia recovery allow a deeper appreciation of the changing neuronal activation patterns associated with time after stroke. The distinction between neuronal reorganization that does and does not sustain recovery in the chronic phase after stroke, either spontaneous or in response to treatment, remains controversial and further studies are necessary


... Purposeful Relevant, Educating Clinicians Meaningful, for and There's so yet excellent support available on that it's often too difficult to know where to begin. But immediately you can relax since this website holds a means of file. A absolute advantage that comes with a success net option gives businesses can maintain over their store front rivals brick and mortar stores is the lower costs of running their office. That is the inspiration for this porta

David Shenk Answers Your Questions About Alzheimer's

Shenk: Very important question. "Dementia" and "senile dementia" are generic terms that describe a set of symptoms - memory loss, confusion, aphasia, and so on. Every case of dementia is caused by one or another disease. Alzheimer's is one of those diseases, and is by far the most common cause of dementia. There are other diseases that cause dementia - multi-infarct dementia, fronto-temporal dementia, and others. But the important point here is that it is no longer acceptable for a doctor to leave a diagnosis at "just


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Default Is this good English?

I am translating a text from Norwegian into English, and wonder if the following sentences are OK:

"The earliest known written observation that apoplexy, lethargy or other serious brain diseases may lead to damage of speech without a synchronous paralysis of the tongue, is found in a letter from the German doctor Atheus to a Swiss colleague, Schenkius, in 1585."

"Even if aphasia is a linguistic phenomena, the study of aphasia has until recently been dealt with largely by neurologists and psychologists, not linguistics."

Friday, October 26, 2007

Enhancing communication

Filed under UF Voices on October 9, 2007.

Chris SapienzaWhen asked what I do, sometimes I wish my reply could be that I were an astrophysicist or electrical engineer. I am a speech-language pathologist - a profession that few people understand. Even more confusing is that the department which I chair is called Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD). So with every response to “What do you do?” I am met with a befuddled look simply because most people are unfamiliar with this discipline.

But, this is OK because as the conversation continues, I can elaborate on my professional story and boast about my department’s accomplishments. For instance, the CSD at UF is ranked 7th in the field of audiology and 17th in the field of speech-language pathology. These two disciplines within CSD are staffed by internationally renowned faculty who are dedicated researchers and clinicians. Their work as professors and instructors in hearing, speech, and language sciences and rehabilitation offers excellent opportunities for students who have interest in the vast array of clinical disorders, including reading disabilities, autism, aphasia, Parkinson’s disease, stuttering and hearing loss.

With millions of dollars in grant money, most recently from the National Institutes of Health and the Michael J. Fox Foundation, we study the intricate processes of speech production and how disease alters the multiple systems involved in communication. We have helped from the likes of small children who can’t read with the help of the Scottish Rite Organization, to well- known personalities, such as Muhammad Ali and the late Christopher Reeve.

Most importantly, CSD works to assist our community by offering exceptional education to our students, clinical services to people in need, and research collaboration with our colleagues, to enhance the quality of life for those with communication disorders. Our goal is to push the limits of science to find more effective ways to help all persons with hearing, speech, and language disorders communicate as effectively as possible.

Christine Sapienza, Chair

Another novelist overcomes stroke to write new book

Recently, I wrote about a Canadian mystery novelist who overcame a devastating stroke to write another novel, by the ingenious device of giving his series character the same disability.

Here, Diane Ackerman reflects on how her husband Paul West coped with his stroke:

Paul had had a massive stroke, one tailored to his own private hell. The author of more than 50 stylishly written books, a master of English prose with the largest working vocabulary I’d ever encountered, a man whose life revolved around words, he had suffered brain damage to the key language areas of his brain and could no longer process language in any form. Global aphasia, it’s called — the curse of a perpetual tip-of-the-tongue memory hunt. He understood little of what people said, and all he could utter was the syllable “mem.” Nothing more. Next...

Collage By Artists With Aphasia To Debut At CU-Boulder On Oct. 19

Oct. 9, 2007

A collage created by a group of artists with communication disabilities stemming from stroke or brain injuries will be on display this month at the University of Colorado at Boulder's Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences Center.

The center will unveil an artwork display by the Aphasia Community Art Studio during a public viewing and reception that will take place from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19. The exhibit is a collaborative effort between CU-Boulder and Naropa University's art therapy department.

In addition to the display of the collage and other artwork, there will be a brief presentation by Michael Franklin, director of Naropa's art therapy program, and Bette Hadler, a CU-Boulder speech, language and hearing instructor. The presentation will take place at the center in room 230, 2501 Kittredge Loop Road on the CU-Boulder campus next to Fiske Planetarium.

Hadler said the mission of Naropa's art studio and CU-Boulder's Speech, Language and Hearing Center is to provide art-making opportunities to people who have "been marginalized" by society. Aphasia is a language disorder caused by brain damage following a stroke or head injury. Patients have difficulty understanding others and expressing themselves through speech, writing and reading.

Default Hashimoto Encephalopathy? Please help!

I'm looking for any advise on HE situation, I think my mother has this decease.

My mother (66 years old) had Hashimoto thyroiditis for a long time and it was not diagnosed or treated. Her nails got very yellow and thick and hair were thinning. She was loosing weight and getting more and more tired, but was able to work as a dentist, her mental state was absolutely normal.

But in May in a period of 2-3 days she developed neurological symptoms: right sided hemi paresis, confusion, aphasia, tremor, myoclonus, limbs twitching and rigidity that were progressing. Her TSH at a time was 18 and TPO 380. Doctors could not come up with a diagnose, all tests were fine(MRI, EEG, spinal, virus and toxicity tests) and by the end of the month she got into stupor, had myoclonic seizures and then was in coma for 2 days. In reanimation she regained complete consciousness, was absolute adequate, normal and stayed symptoms free for 2 months. In August the same set of neurological symptoms occurred - gait unsteadiness, right sided hemi paresis, confusion, delirious-like state, extreme rigidity and then myoclonic convulsions. Her TSH is 23 now and TPO is 647, she was put on Syntroid(88mg) and was getting better physically for past week and a half, she can walk, talk, eat. However, her thinking is still very clouded, she's disoriented and have difficulty expressing herself, she has no short term memory at all.

Neurologist and psychiatrist are saying that this is due to hypothyroid, but endocrinologist says that mom's TSH is not high enough for mexedema delirium(plus, mom has no swelling or goutier, she actually lost a lot of weight).
But I was doing a lot of reading on what can cause her relapsing condition and Hashimoto Encephalopathy came up - mom's symptoms look very much like HE. In this case, as I understand, Levothiroxin alone will not help. But last week she was discharged from hospital and IV steroid treatment was not prescribed. Now endocrynologist saying that she might consider oral steroid treatment with high doses of Prednisone for my Mom, but all case studies on HE I've read mention IV pulse steroid theraphy as a choice of treatment, they state remarcble response occure in 1-3 days in case ir this is really HE.
Did anyone improve on oral steroids, did it help?

I'm looking for any advise on the HE, please, help! How do I talk doctors into considering probability of HE for my mom?

At least one Kentucky-based company has joined the cause-marketing bandwagon


At least one Kentucky-based company has joined the cause-marketing bandwagon.

Once Upon a Stocking, in Farmers, offers Christmas stockings that typically retail for $79.95. Each is tied to a cause, such as arthritis or autism.

Dawn Quinn, who commutes between her home in Chicago and the small factory near Morehead, formed the company earlier this year.

Quinn said she has made stockings as gifts for friends and family for years.

After her ex-husband developed aphasia as a result of a stroke, she wanted to find a way to raise money for the cause and educate people about the condition, which impairs the ability to speak and comprehend language.

She combined those two ideas to form the company. She says she will donate 10 percent of the price of each stocking to the cause it represents.

For now, Quinn has six full-time employees, including several women who lost their jobs in nearby sewing factories after the companies moved their production overseas.Kentucky company has a Christmas stocking for your favorite cause

Friday, October 19, 2007

Association recognizes woman for saving a life

BY: Holly Kramer, Staff Writer

Thursday, October 18, 2007 12:23 PM CDT
printable version e-mail this story View Comments on this Story
When a co-worker exhibited signs of a stroke, Sheila Smith, 51, Lee's Summit, Mo., sprang into action.

Sharon Gilmore, 53, a pharmaceutical representative, said she felt a pounding headache and wanted to go home. Next.....

The Morning News

Article About Aphasia Published

FAYETTEVILLE -- An article about the effects of aphasia written by two University of Arkansas professors was published recently in the Journal of Medical Speech Language Pathology.

Aphasia affects the ability to understand or use language and typically affects stroke victims who experience some damage to the brain. The article discusses how using language creates identity and how that is redefined by those suffering from aphasia.

Barbara Shadden is professor and director of the Speech and Hearing Clinic in the College of Education and Health Professions. Patricia Koski is an associate professor in the department of sociology and criminal justice and associate dean of the university's Graduate School.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tel-Aviv University details research in aphasia

( -- According to recent research from Tel Aviv, Israel, "Recent studies have indicated that working memory is not a unitary resource and that different types of working memory are used for different types of linguistic processing: syntactic, semantic, and phonological. Phonological working memory was found to support the comprehension of sentences that require re-access to the word-form of a word that appeared earlier in the sentence."

"This study explored the relation between phonological working memory and sentence comprehension by testing the comprehension of garden path sentences in individuals with conduction
Loss or impairment of the power of speech or writing, or of the ability to understand written or spoken language or signs, due to a brain injury or disease',250)" onmouseout="hideddrivetip()">aphasia
who have very limited phonological working memory. Our prediction was that if phonological working memory limitation hampers word-form reactivation, only the comprehension of garden paths that require wordform reactivation will be impaired, whereas garden paths that require only structural reanalysis will be better preserved. & Procedures: Five individuals with conduction aphasia and 15 matched controls participated in working memory tests and a garden path comprehension test. The phonological working memory assessment
An appraisal or evaluation (e.g., assessment of the degree of success of a remediation procedure at a contamination site).',250)" onmouseout="hideddrivetip()">assessment
included a battery of 10 tests, which showed that four of the individuals, who had input conduction aphasia, had very limited phonological working memory, and one individual, with output conduction aphasia, had unimpaired working memory. The comprehension study included 60 garden path sentences of three types: structural garden paths, which require only structural reanalysis, lexical garden paths, which require lexical re-access in addition to structural reanalysis, and optional-complement garden paths, which require re-access to the lexical-syntactic frame of the verb in addition to the structural reanalysis. Outcomes & The main result was that the individuals with input conduction aphasia showed different degrees of impairment in different types of garden path sentences. The lexical garden paths were exceptionally hard for them, with a mere 10% correct, and significantly more difficult than the structural garden paths. The individual with output conduction aphasia whose working memory was intact comprehended the lexical garden paths similarly to the normal controls. These findings indicate that phonological working memory impairment only affects the comprehension of sentences that require phonological, word-form re-access. The type of sentence and the type of processing it requires should be taken into account when trying to predict the effect of working memory limitation on a patient's ability to understand sentences," wrote N. Friedmann and colleagues, Tel-Aviv University.....NEXT.........

When Barking Dogs Don't

A patient was telling me about the 15-year-old Canine American who shares her home. While she was on vacation, the dog had a seizure. Or maybe a stroke. According to the vets, it can be hard (ie, impossible) to tell the difference in a dog.

I can understand.

Scrubs-style fantasy of a doggie neuro exam: "Follow my finger. Can you hear this? Stick your tongue out. Hold your leg up and don't let me push it down.")

But then she added, "I haven't heard her bark since it happened."

Whoa! Aphasia in a dog? Do doggie
brains have a speech center? What about a Broca's area?

More: "It's kind of sad. She just stands outside the door when she wants to come in, but doesn't bark anymore."

Financial Aphasia: What happens when Mortgages, Credit and the Economy lose Meaning

The first time I spoke about the subject of sub-prime mortgages and the potential for this seemingly endless fallout came during a live television show in February of 2006. Granted, the demographic for that medium market audience was not the same as those watching the more affluent Bloomberg network or even the rowdy bunch who tune in to CNBC. Yet it was the very audience that needed to hear what must have seemed at the time like a “sky is falling” report.

As I revisited these thoughts over the next eighteen months, one simple fact always seemed to remain constant: we, not the investor class but the average person, continues to suffer from financial aphasia. Closely related to semantic aphasia, a mental disorder that does not allow the individual to understand the meaning of the words being spoken even as they understand what the words are, the financial form of this malady leaves the listener doing one thing while believing something wholly different. It has been best described as a little like hearing a love song - only without knowing why those words were used or what the singer meant by them.

Financial aphasia, by my definition, offers a look at the mounting storm surge that the housing market has become and the fact that, with so many people speaking about it, affected by it, and promising to reform the system, the words have lost their meaning. We hear them but we no longer understand them.

Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve Chairman wrote a letter recently to Senator Charles Schumer that offered some form of agreement with the outspoken lawmaker's fear. “ I share your concern about the potential impact of scheduled payment resets on homeowners with variable-rate sub-prime mortgages,” he wrote suggesting a little further along that perhaps “developing a broader range of mortgage products” might help those who are in the deepest trouble. Really?

Didn't the problem begin with mortgage products, Mr. Bernanke? The end result of the unceasing ingenuity and creativity of Wall Street to cater to risk seeking investors who saw the mortgage market as the new potential rainmaker is at the heart of this problem. More mortgage products Mr. Bernanke, are not the solution.

Even if the Fed has no direct impact on mortgage rates as many assume they do, shouldn't this traumatic event have been apparent at some point before now on their economic radar? As they sift through reams of data, is it possible that they suffer from financial aphasia?

That letter made Wall Street happy with anticipation. The possibility that Bernanke has refocused his attention on the economy, one in which he pronounced was doing just fine a month or so ago, sent stocks soaring - again. Despite what Wall Street wants and even lobbies so strongly for, and at the risk of repeating myself, an interest rate cut would not be in this economy's best interest.

Many of the newsworthy suggestions on how approach .....NEXT............

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

CIGNA Group Insurance Celebrates Return to Work Success During National Rehabilitation Awareness Week

  PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- On a routine stop at
the supermarket in November 2006, Leah Freesmeier fell to the ground,
hitting the left side of her head on the cement floor and leaving her with
a severe injury to her brain. The injury left her with language and hearing
impairments, aphasia and right cranial nerve/facial palsy. She doesn't
remember falling, or most of the three weeks she was in the hospital, but
she does remember the rehabilitation she went through that enabled her to
return to her job as a customer support specialist.
"I was lucky to have CIGNA during this ordeal," said Freesmeier. "Not
only was the company great at assisting me with the overwhelming process of
understanding the various administrative aspects I had to take care of, but
my rehabilitation counselor worked very closely with me to ensure I had the
best care possible to enable me to get back to work, which was my ultimate
After intense physical and speech therapy, Freesmeier worked with a
CIGNA vocational rehabilitation counselor and was ready to return to work
six months after her injury. CIGNA's vocational rehabilitation counselors
are educated and skilled in helping individuals with disabilities make
career plans, learn new skills and face their fears. They understand and
anticipate these fears and provide support, education and resources to
overcome them.
Freesmeier's CIGNA vocational rehabilitation counselor began the
process of helping her plan her return to work. This included assessing
factors that could potentially impact the success of her return-to-work
plan and determining how some challenges could be reduced or avoided
altogether. Additionally, the counselor worked with all of Freesmeier's
treating physicians to facilitate easing her back into the workplace. Based
on their recommendations, the counselor worked with the local state
rehabilitation agency to arrange for Freesmeier to be accompanied by an
onsite coach for the first two months back on the job. The onsite coach
helped Freesmeier with things such as ensuring she was taking appropriate
notes and following processes.
"Having the onsite coach during my first few months back on the job was
very beneficial for me," says Freesmeier. "It made my transition back into
my routine a lot easier."
Freesmeier's rehabilitation experience is one of several successes
CIGNA Group Insurance is highlighting next week during a series of employee
and customer gatherings in the company's disability claim offices in
Pittsburgh, Dallas and Glendale, Calif. Through these events, CIGNA will
focus on vocational rehabilitation, celebrated each September as part of
National Rehabilitation Awareness Week, with a mission to educate people
about the benefits and impact of rehabilitation. CIGNA Group Insurance, and
sister company Intracorp, are the national sponsors of this observance,
celebrated from Sept. 16-22, in cooperation with the National
Rehabilitation Awareness Foundation (NRAF) of Scranton, PA.
CIGNA will be awarding employers, including Toyota, McKesson
Corporation and Henry Ford Health System, with a Return-to-Work Award for
their success in implementing return-to-work programs for their employees.
In addition, claimants, such as Freesmeier, will be visiting the offices to
share their successful return-to-work stories with CIGNA employees.
"CIGNA works to assist our employer customers, and their disabled
employees, in the shared goal of returning to productive work," said Mark
Marsters, senior vice president, CIGNA Group Insurance. "Many employers are
committed to ensuring return-to-work programs are in place. These efforts
not only contribute to productivity, but they also enable employees to
regain independent living."
"I never imagined something like this would ever happen to me," says
Freesmeier. "I am fortunate to be alive and I am grateful to have been able
to return to work after my rehabilitation."
For more information on National Rehabilitation Awareness Week, visit
the NRAF website at
For more information about CIGNA Group Insurance's disability programs
and services, visit
About CIGNA Group Insurance
"CIGNA," the "Tree of Life" logo and "CIGNA Group Insurance" are
registered service marks of CIGNA Intellectual Property, Inc., licensed for
use by CIGNA Corporation and its operating subsidiaries. Products and
services are provided by such operating subsidiaries and not by CIGNA
Corporation. Such operating subsidiaries include Life Insurance Company of
North America and CIGNA Life Insurance Company of New York. CIGNA Group
Insurance is one of the top five providers in disability management and
insurance with solutions that focus on helping employees return to a
productive work life as quickly and safely as possible.
CIGNA Group Insurance is also one of the top five providers of group
term life and group universal life, and the second leading provider of
group accident insurance, including voluntary accident and business travel
accident insurance.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

After stroke, life is one step at a time

Fast action when it occurs might help limit lasting effects.

Last update: August 31, 2007 – 5:58 PM

Halloween was only a few days away, and it was the last game of the World Series. David Whitehead and his wife, Pam Bailey, had just gone to bed when Whitehead woke up to find his wife trying to crawl to the bathroom.

"She was real confused, real lethargic. Her mouth was drooped, and she had a totally confused look on her face, and her arm was like this," Whitehead said, hanging his arm lifelessly by his side.

Whitehead rushed her to a hospital near their home in Mobile, Ala. "Of course, I knew before we got her to the hospital that she had a stroke, and when I got her there, they acted like, well no she didn't," Whitehead said.

He had described his wife to the ER staff: healthy, vibrant and only 44. Not the normal profile of a stroke victim.

Then they went to help her out of the car. "The nurse -- excuse my language -- said, 'Oh sh--,' and threw her in a wheelchair," Whitehead said.

One of the most dangerous misconceptions about stroke is that it's something that only older people have to worry about, said Dr. William Hewitt, a neurologist with the Diagnostic and Medical Clinic in Mobile.

"Stroke gets more common as you get older, but we do see young people with strokes," Hewitt said.

At the hospital, Whitehead didn't see his wife for almost two hours, and when the doctors finally got back to him, Whitehead learned that his intuition was correct: Bailey had suffered a massive stroke.

There are several types of stroke, but all occur when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. When either happens, brain cells begin to die, and the physical and mental abilities controlled by those areas are damaged or lost.

Bailey's outlook wasn't good.

The effects of stroke are many and varied, depending on the severity and location of the blockage. They can include aphasia -- speech and language problems -- along with problems with memory, partial or full paralysis and problems with spatial and perceptual abilities, among a host of other lasting and life-changing effects.

While Bailey has recovered remarkably well, the aphasia remains.

"The paralysis went away within a week or two," Whitehead said. "Within a week she had her strength back, and within a month, she was walking pretty close to normal again. But it's been nine months, and her speech is still ..." Whitehead trailed off.

"But they told us she would never talk again."

Today, Bailey is talking again, but words come out a bit jumbled, and pronouns are often switched -- "he" for "she,"him" for "her." She also uses the word "him" for several other words, especially when she means to say "stroke."

But after sitting and talking with her for a while, her speech patterns emerge, and it's easy to understand what she's saying. Humor and emotion aren't lost. She knows what she means to say, but the wiring from her brain to her mouth just won't let her do it.

"Every day's different," Whitehead said.

Bailey nodded emphatically.

"Because I feel like I could do, but I can't, and I get mad," Bailey said.

The couple attend an aphasia support group at Mobile Infirmary's PRO Health Fitness and Rehabilitation Center.

The group is designed for individuals who have aphasia -- as well as their family members, friends and caregivers -- and provides education about the disorder, encourages socialization among members and provides an opportunity to practice speech and language skills.

"At the beginning, Pam was unable to say her name, even just the simple name of Pam," said Jennifer Pettis, a speech language therapist who organized the support group and works with Bailey.

With intense speech therapy, combined with practice at home with Whitehead and special speech therapy software, Bailey's improvement has been dramatic.

Frustration is one of the major hurdles in patients with aphasia, Pettis said.

"They want you to treat them like a regular adult, like a normal person," she said. "More than likely, they can understand everything you're saying, and they don't want to be talked to like a child."

Continue to next page Next page

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Identify language problems early on

Sarah Steedman, Louise Porteous

Language delay is one of the most common developmental problems seen in general paediatrics. Speech-language difficulties can have a considerable impact on a child’s development and learning. Language is the medium of education, it is how we learn about the world, interact with others, and express our thoughts and feelings.

Early identification of speech-language delay is important, because 90 per cent of brain growth takes place in the first three years of life, with the critical period for language development beginning prior to birth and waning in the fourth year of life. Therefore, the earlier problems are identified and managed, the better the outcomes.

Exact figures for language and speech disorders vary according to the definition and population used. However, there is a generally accepted range of between 3 and 10 per cent in preschool children. A smaller proportion has more severe and persistent problems.

Who is at risk?
The exact cause of speech-language difficulties is still unknown. However, being a boy is a significant risk factor! Overall, as with other developmental difficulties, boys are around three times more likely to have speech-language difficulties than girls.

A family history of speech-language difficulties is significant. The incidence in families with a history of specific language impairment is estimated at 20 to 40 per cent compared with around 4 per cent in the general population. There can also be reading or spelling difficulties in other family members.

Other risk factors include genetic disorders, eg, Down syndrome and sex chromosome disorders. Biological risks include in utero exposure to alcohol, ie, foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and damage to motor pathways, eg, cerebral palsy. Children born prematurely have a higher incidence of speech-language problems, and cognitive skills will also affect a child’s ability to understand and use language.

There is still some uncertainty about the exact impact of chronic otitis media on speech-language development. Some studies suggest there is no compelling evidence for otitis media being associated with significant deficits in language development. Others believe, while otitis media is rarely the primary or sole cause of significant language impairment, it may be a substantial contributory factor.

Environmental and social factors can also have a significant effect. Children from economically deprived backgrounds are at significant risk of language delay. It is more common in families where there are several children, multiple births and higher levels of family stress, including parental mental health problems and in situations of neglect.


I Hear Trumpets... Trumpets in the Sky

August 30, 2007

imageThe shift for the mega-popular strip For Better or For Worse from real-time soap opera into a hybrid strip of frozen-in-time framing sequences around older runs of the feature will come sooner rather than later. Really sooner. Universal Press Syndicate has announced that the new format begins Monday, September 3.

That the strip's current format would end soon had been a rumor for a couple of years and an announced reality since last Winter. A September date for the shift had been bandied about for quite some time. Still, nothing had been 100 percent confirmed until this week. In fact, Johnston's recent talk about giving the controversial Anthony/Liz romance plot more space had led some folks -- myself included -- to believe that the strip would continue for at least a few weeks longer. Oddly, Johnston has continued to assert that the Anthony/Liz relationship needs more time to develop. Whether this makes it something she wants to do within the hybrid format, or if we're supposed to believe the cartoonist simply hasn't wrapped her mind around the forthcoming change or if it's supposed to indicate that tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday will cover an astonishing amount of ground, I couldn't pretend to know.

The first flashback will use Michael and his kids as a framing device and cover the romance between leads John and Elly.

Editor & Publisher has a lengthy article about the various issues around the shift and on Lynn Johnston in general, folding an older and informative piece about the switchover into its body.

Update: This will teach me to read all of my daily sources for links before posting and going back to bed. Brad McKay writes in to inform me that Alan Gardner at Daily Cartoonist has already solved the Anthony/Liz fate problem:

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

In a foreign land - life with aphasia

If you meet Christy Campbell when she's well-rested, it's not apparent that there's anything wrong with her. But if she's tired - and she tires easily - her speech starts to fall apart.

Two years ago, when she was only 31, Christy had a stroke that affected the left side of her brain. Initially, she was completely paralysed on her right side and couldn't speak or swallow.

"The doctors showed her parents and me her CT scan," says Christy's partner, Sean Standing. "There is this big, black hole in her brain."

Up until then, Christy had been vibrant, healthy and physically active. There was no family history of strokes or high blood pressure. The day before the stroke, Christy was at a conference in downtown Vancouver related to her job in Environment Canada's environmental assessment program. There she suffered a trans-ischemic attack, or TIA, a mini-stroke. For about 30 minutes, her right side was paralysed and she was unable to speak. But both functions came back and Christy took a taxi to her doctor's office and later went to Lions Gate Hospital for a CT scan that was normal.

The next morning, when Sean tried to wake her up, Christy's mouth was drooping. She couldn't sit up or talk. Christy ended up at Vancouver General Hospital and began to regain the use of her right side. But her speech was slow to return. A few weeks later, when she was transferred to G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre for six weeks of intensive physical and speech therapy, Christy could say only one word - Yes.

By the time Christy moved back to their North Vancouver condo, she could walk short distances. But she could only say about 10 words. She still couldn't say No. She couldn't say her name. She couldn't say 'help.'

She had to wait a few weeks before there was a space in the outpatient, speech-therapy program at Lions Gate Hospital. All the time, an invisible clock was ticking. Traditional wisdom is that stroke victims only improve for the first six months; whatever functions they regain within that period is all they're ever going to get. Christy and many others have proven it wrong. But that's what medical professionals tell people after strokes.

"You're left with this tick, tick, tick, tick for six months," says Sean. "You think every day, 'If I'm not helping her get better, I'm wasting seconds and it's taking away from her future.'"

Says Christy, "I kept saying to Sean, stop pushing me!"

At the hospital and at G.F. Strong, there was a seemingly daily dose of 'You should also be doing this . . . .' In the outpatient program, where she got a half-hour of speech therapy three times a week, Christy's speech continued to improve.


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Wired music: from PLOrk to ChucK and beyond

Wired music: from PLOrk to ChucK and beyond


As part of an hourlong feature on wired art, New Jersey Public Television’s State of the Arts will be broadcasting a piece tonight produced by Eric Schultz on the Princeton Laptop Orchestra, otherwise known as PLOrk.

The piece was actually recorded last year, shortly after PLOrk gave its world premiere performance, to much acclaim. So what have PLOrk cofounders Perry Cook and Dan Trueman been up to in the meantime?

Cook is making music with a lithophone originally created with sculptor Jonathan Shor for Quark Park. Drawing upon his digital music expertise, he also is researching an inexpensive way to screen patients for the risk of having a stroke and developing technologies to help those who suffer from aphasia.

Trueman has spent the last year as a Guggenheim fellow in part working on his Cyclotron, which he describes as a “tool for tweaking time” and “a visual interface for experimenting with rhythmic cycles.” Trueman invented his Cyclotron more than a decade ago. But during his sabbatical he decided to figure how to hook it up to ChucK, a new music programming language written by Ge Wang, who just finished his Ph.D. under Cook’s supervision and in the fall will join the Stanford Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics as an assistant professor.

Last year Wang got high praise for ChucK from Linden Lab chief technology officer Cory Ondrejka (aka Cory Linden), who wrote in his blog that that he was blown away by ChucK when he came to Princeton to talk at the invitation of Ed Felten about Linden Lab’s 3-D virtual world Second Life.

By the way, the Educational Technologies Center at Princeton is building a campus on Second Life. Blogger Aleister Kronos — who recently got a sneak preview and tour from Princeton’s charming virtual tourguide, Persis Trilling — describes it on 3pointD, where you can take a peak at Nassau Hall’s virtual doppelganger. Just below is the Second Life version of Princeton’s Chancellor Green, where PLOrk gave a fabulous in-the-round performance last May. Surely PLOrk will be headlining on Princeton’s Second Life campus sometime soon.

:: :: ::

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Each Year Over 200,000 Americans Suddenly Lose Their Ability to Speak, Read, Write & Communicate

NEW YORK, June 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Over 1 million Americans struggle with the devastation of aphasia, a sudden-onset, communication disorder that impairs the ability to read, write, speak or understand speech. There are over 200,000 new cases each year, and the numbers are expected to rise dramatically as America's population ages and Iraq War veterans return home with head injuries.

"Aphasia is more common than cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or spinal cord injuries, yet most have never heard of it," says Ellayne S. Ganzfried, executive director of the National Aphasia Association (NAA). "Our mission is to educate the public about aphasia and help people with aphasia get back into society."

"Imagine suddenly one day you may not be able to speak your name, write a note or understand what you hear on the radio. Your intellect is intact, but you cannot express yourself or understand others. That's what it's like to have aphasia," says Ganzfried. The causes are stroke (25-40% of stroke survivors acquire aphasia), head injury, brain tumor or neurological conditions. Common among older people, aphasia can occur in people of all ages, nationalities, socio-economic backgrounds and equally among men and women.

Barbara Martin, NAA President, understands aphasia first-hand. At the age of 45, she suffered a stroke that left her extremely impaired both physically and communicatively.

"I was unable to move my right side, sit up or say a word, but I could still think. It was devastating, especially to be robbed of my language skills," says the former high-school English and drama teacher. After months of intensive physical rehabilitation and two years of intensive speech- language therapy five times a week, Martin was able to regain her life and return to teaching part-time.

"There is no cure for aphasia, but speech-language therapy helps us cope. Most importantly, it was the love and support of my family and friends that motivated me to persevere," says Martin. "Too often, people with aphasia are treated as outsiders or ignored at a time when being included in life is critical to our recovery."

According to Ganzfried, aphasia makes work and social interaction especially challenging. An NAA survey found: over 70 percent of people with aphasia were not able to work or needed to find less-demanding jobs. 70 percent felt people avoided contact with them because of their difficulty communicating. 90 percent felt isolated, left out, ignored and lonely.

"It is critical that all of us help people with aphasia reconnect with their communities," says Ganzfried. "All it takes is understanding, patience and a few commonsense strategies to help improve communication."

NAA offers advice for communicating with people with aphasia: 1) Have the person's attention before you speak. 2) Minimize or eliminate background noise (TV, radio, other people). 3) Keep your own voice at a normal level. 4) Keep communication simple, but adult. 5) Give them time to speak, resist the urge to finish sentences or offer words. 6) Communicate with drawings, gestures, writing and facial expressions. 7) Confirm that you are communicating successfully with "yes" and "no" questions. 8) Praise all attempts to speak and downplay any errors. 9) Engage in normal activities whenever possible. 10) Encourage independence, avoid being overprotective.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Man suffering dementia reported missing in Valley Center

VALLEY CENTER -- A man suffering from dementia and aphasia -- or speech and comprehension impairment -- remained missing Wednesday night more than 16 hours after he disappeared from a Valley Center home, authorities said.

Michael Burt Day, a 63-year-old man visiting from Tucson, was last seen at about 5 a.m. Wednesday at a home in the 14000 block of Sturnella Way, sheriff's Sgt. Mark Moreno said. Day was reported missing about four and a half hours later, and sheriff's search and rescue personnel were subsequently called in, he said.

A search was under way as of 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, sheriff's Lt. Sylvester Washington said.

Day is described as a white man with brown hair and brown eyes. He is 5-foot-6 and weighs 180 pounds, and was last seen wearing white shorts, a khaki jacket, a blue baseball hat and white tennis shoes with black stripes.

Day's only means of transportation is on foot or by public transit, Moreno said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's communication center at (858) 565-5200.

Aphasia: A world beyond words

CJN Intern

Jack Geller has been active in the Jewish community for decades, but he couldn’t tell you about it.

He is an honorary life president of Holy Blossom Temple, was the youngest president of Jewish Immigrant Aid Services of Canada and was involved with Canadian Jewish Congress, among other activities.

Geller also had two successful careers – as a lawyer and as chair of the Ontario Securities Commission.

But he can’t speak about any of his accomplishments.

Five years ago, Geller had a stroke during the second Passover seder, and he has lived with aphasia ever since.

Aphasia is a communication disorder caused by injury to the brain, usually as a result of a stroke or head injury. People with aphasia are intellectually competent, but have difficulty with language. Aphasia can affect the ability to speak, understand, read and write, and can thus mask a person’s true intelligence.

An estimated 20 to 25 per cent of stroke sufferers develop aphasia, and at least 100,000 Canadians live with the disorder. Aphasia can be mild, manifesting itself in slow speech and searching for words, or extremely severe, to the point where a person has no speech at all.

Geller’s aphasia is severe. He makes a lot of sounds, but few of them are recognizable words.

“He can’t speak, but he can communicate,” says his wife, Sybil, who calls aphasia an “invisible disorder” that few know about. People with aphasia rely on pictures and other tools to help express themselves.

After the stroke, Jack was comatose for several days and completely paralyzed on his right side. He was told he would never walk.

“He recovered, amazing everybody,” Sybil said. While his speech will never be the same, Jack has seen improvement over the last five years.

“He can put some sentences together but not consistently. Aphasia is inconsistent. Just when you think you’ve got something, it’s gone… You think, ‘Oh wonderful, there’s progress,’ and then it’s gone,” she says.

“You don’t know what the trigger is because it doesn’t depend on being tired or being confused – this is one of the horrors of aphasia.”

She says Jack’s involvement with the Aphasia Institute has been a major factor in his improvement over the last half-decade.

“It absolutely saved our lives; it made sense of everything,” says Sybil, who describes her husband’s stroke and the period after it as a “very low time.”

The Aphasia Institute is a Toronto organization that focuses on training, education and outreach about the disorder. It also offers programs including conversation circles and recreational activities for people with aphasia, through its Pat Arato Aphasia Centre.

Sybil and Jack attended the 12-week introductory program for families. Since then, Jack has been a member of the Toastmasters International Aphasia Gavel Club.

“It’s unique, there isn’t another one in the world for people with aphasia,” Sybil says of the public speaking club.

She still attends the family support group. Both Gellers have sat on various committees at the institute and have been involved in fundraising. They founded the Jack Geller Fund. “We do everything we can to fundraise for it,” Sybil says.

Jack was 72 and had just retired when he had his stroke, but this is not the case for many others.

“Just think of young people, people who have a family and they’re a wage earner,” she says. “What do they do? Think of what it does to a family.”

She says their own family’s support was crucial to the healing process.

“I must emphasize the importance of family and friends in recovery, in quality of life.”

The Gellers’ seven grandsons continue to visit Jack for lunch regularly as if nothing has changed since 2002.

Sybil worked in health-care services all her life, and had an aunt with aphasia, but didn’t know what it was until Jack’s experience.

“I couldn’t pronounce it, I couldn’t even spell it,” says the former president of the Ontario Red Cross, who also sat on the board of the Ontario Cancer and Research Foundation for six years and was involved with the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Sybil cites Wheel Trans as an example of why she refers to aphasia as an invisible disorder. Jack is not physically limited and therefore is not a candidate for the assisted transportation system. But since he can’t read much more than headlines and can get confused, using public transit is usually not possible.

“There’s just a myriad of things he can’t do,” Sybil says.

She says life can “never be normal,” but the Gellers do what they can to live it to its fullest. They have travelled worldwide and attend some theatre productions and concerts.

But aphasia continues to present challenges, Sybil says.

“When you have a powerful person you’ve lived with, who could take initiative – now he has to have his routine, and anything out of the routine confuses him. For someone who has been in control of not only his life… but contributed tremendously to the community, [it’s difficult to adjust].”

The Aphasia Institute is hosting an afternoon for Aphasia Awareness Day on June 14, 2:30 to 5 p.m., and the Gellers will be attending.

“Anything we can do to bring awareness to the public is important so that there is understanding,” Sybil says.

The institute’s event is geared to health professionals, people with aphasia and anyone who wants to learn more about the disorder. Called A Partnership of Hope, the afternoon features a prominent neurologist, Dr. Sandra Black, as the keynote speaker, as well as demonstrations of aphasia-friendly resources and programs, a speech by a Gavel Club member, a performance by the Aphasia Institute Drum Circle and a workshop for health professionals.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Michelle Christian at 416-226-3636, ext. 20, or by e-mail at

The Diary Of A Mad Spinster

Are you an Indonesian citizen, around thirty something and knew this teen story on a teenage boy named Lupus, created by Hilman? I remembered I looooveeeedd that story very much. Never missed a single story when they were published on a teen magazine at that time.

Anyway, when we reading his story, we were like, oh just like this? We can write this story? Why the heck not? It is only about our daily life in school, at home , everything were just about the life of a teenage boy. Or was it?

In one of the story, I remembered, the writer mentioned about the illness called: APHASIA. At that time, I seriously thought that the writer just made a joke from the Indonesian sentence : APA SI YAH? Or in English sort of like : Wonder what is it? He did explain the illness is about how the brain is not connected with the mouth. Whatever the brain wish to say, the words came out differently. Again, I seriously thought he was just joking. Until about 20 years later I saw this tv series called : HOUSE, and found that APHASIA is really a disease. As I quote from Oxford dictionary, APHASIA is inability to understand or procedure speech as a result of brain damage.

It took me 20 years to found that was true. So, I guess I was suck to become a writer. I did not even try to find out whether APHASIA really an illness. I just accepted my own explanation about the strange word. If I was really have the talent, I would have been trying to find the meaning of that word. But I guess, I have never really been a serious reader, not even close to become a writer.

Research, learning, watching, memorize. All of that are all the qualities I do not have. Imagine that it took me 20 years to find out something. No wonder I am totally suck in this life. And no wonder I end up with nobody to be with. With a job that I totally hate. With a life that I am not really sure want to be this way.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Event to focus on communication disorder called aphasia

June 1, 2007

KALAMAZOO--June has been designated National Aphasia Education Month, and faculty and students in the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology will help members of the public learn more about the disorder at a special event on Thursday, June 7.


Column: Coping with dementia

The latest of the many films dealing with the subject of dementia has come to Boston. Some of us have seen “Away From Her,” drawn from Alice Munro’s short story, “The Bear Came Over the Mountain.”

Canadian actress Sarah Polley made her debut as a director in this portrait of a woman, Fiona (Julie Christie) who is slowly “losing it” and her patient, perplexed husband Grant (Gordon Pinsent). Ty Burr, writing in the Boston Globe on May 18, called the film, “tragic but not depressing, because Polley is curious to know what happens to love when memory is gone.” And of course, we find out.


Joe Kay rides his bike at Stanford, looking for 'normal'

Saturday, June 2, 2007

The incurable dementia that strikes younger people

Posted Thursday, May 24, 2007

Tragedy may be looming, but love set up camp long ago in this Schaumburg home.

The simple pleasure of letting Mary Beth, his wife of 34 years, know how he feels about her is something Steve Riedner cherishes.

“How many more opportunities am I going to have to tell her, ‘I love you’?” Riedner says, hinting at the sad silence in their forecast.

“I’m going to know anyway,” his wife says.

A critical thinker with strong opinions, Riedner has contributed to several of my columns over the years. When moments of confusion and being tongue-tied became more frequent in his mid-50s, Riedner chalked it up as “a sign of getting old.”


Make Like a Tree!

There’s a Monty Python sketch where John Cleese plays a detective with some kind of aphasia. He enters a room and tells the occupants:

I’m afraid I must not ask anyone to leave the room. No, I must ask nobody … no, I must ask everybody to… I must not ask anyone to leave the room. No one must be asked by me to leave the room.

After a few more sentences that get less and less coherent, he finally manages to produce a string that conveys the desired meaning, or at least something sufficiently close:


NCCU, Chinese in joint venture

DURHAM - Communication therapists at N.C. Central University are forging relationships with Chinese universities to provide formal speech training to college students half a world away.

Faculty in NCCU's communication disorders department, in the School of Education, plan to use distance education to offer formal speech therapy to English-speaking Chinese students.

This training would fill a huge void, said Thomas Layton, one of the NCCU speech pathologists involved in the program. China has far too few speech therapists; there are only about 50 in Beijing, a city of 20 million, Layton said. By comparison, there are more than 1,500 in North Carolina, which has about 9 million people. All of China has about 500 speech therapists, he said.

"Our little state has more than in their whole country," Layton said. "There is an unbelievable number of children and adults who need speech therapy."

Layton is working with NCCU professor Jianping Hao, who received two medical degrees in China before coming to the United States and obtaining a Ph.D. in speech science from Kent State University.

Now, just one Chinese University offers an undergraduate speech and language pathology program, and it is not as formal as it needs to be, Layton said, likening much of China's speech education to "on-the-job training." NCCU's program, strictly a graduate venture on campus, will offer a more structured set of courses. Officials hope to offer four or five courses beginning in the spring.

Courses will tackle various speech-related sub-disciplines associated with children and adults. Treatment for autism will be one focus, as will aphasia, a speech condition afflicting stroke sufferers.

This fall, NCCU expects to get its first Chinese faculty member as an exchange scholar as well as Chinese professionals who will train NCCU students to use Dr. Speech, a software package developed by them that has universal application. Eventually, Hao and Layton expect to send NCCU students to China to work with scholars, professionals and patients.

Mastering the mounds

By Donna O'Neil/
GateHouse News Service

Baseball is not just a sport to Matt Cook. It’s a passion, a passion that was almost taken away from him less than two months ago.

Yet there he was last Thursday, the Hamilton resident and baseball pitcher, passionate as ever about the game he loves and ready to shine. After a trying month and a half, Matt made it to the show. At age 15, the freshman Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School varsity pitcher, took the mound at the mecca of all baseball parks, Fenway, like a seasoned professional.

ss_icon Mastering the mound

“He threw a strike. He threw a strike,” proclaimed his proud nana, Emily Cook, of Hamilton, as she watched from the warning track as her grandson throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Red Sox versus Detriot Tigers game last Thursday. Nana’s observations were further confirmed when Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo said, “Nice throw,” as Matt walked off the field.

Adorned with a Fenway logo and the words, “Matt Cook, Ceremonial First Pitch, May 17, 2007,” he got to keep the official Major League baseball he threw out.

His adventure to the Fenway mound was a nice reward for a very complex journey.

Throwing out the first pitch was an item at a recent charity auction and the anonymous winning bidder donated it to Children’s Hospital, instructing them to donate it to somebody worthy of the honor. A representative from public affairs at Children’s Hospital called Ann Connors-Cook, Matt’s mother, and said, “There’s no one more worthy of this honor than your son.”

See, since late March, Matt has been an unwitting participant in a life altering experience.

“Matt suffered a blow to the left side of his head from a line drive hit back at him while he was pitching batting practice (for the high school team) on March 30,” said Ann. “Matt suffered expressive aphasia, which is the loss of a previously held ability to speak spoken or written language, due to disease or injury of the brain. He also lost sensation on his entire right side. In the ER that evening at Children’s Hospital, we were told that it would only get worse before it got better because the brain continues to swell for the first 72 hours, causing a great deal of pain. He was sensitive to light and noise so he spent the first several days in a dimly lit, quiet room. He was on strong pain medicines, but as they were wearing off, it was so heartbreaking to see him in excruciating pain. It’s a parent’s nightmare. Day by day, this all got a little better.”

Matt spent a week at Children’s Hospital in Boston following the injury and then was sent to Spaulding Rehab for three and a half weeks where he had physical, occupational and speech therapy.

His neurosurgeon said that he has “made a remarkable recovery” and his mom says that he is speaking now with very little hesitation. He returned to school, Friday, May 11, and is continuing his therapies on an outpatient basis at Shaughnessy-Kaplan Rehab Hospital in Salem.

“Every doctor and therapist has described Matt as a ‘very determined and motivated kid’ and that’s one of the key reasons that his recovery has been so remarkable. He’s worked very hard at it,” said Ann.

His reward was a spot on Fenway’s hallowed grounds, pitching again, and living out his passion.

Grateful for the way Matt has progressed in his recovery, Matt’s parents offered a few words of advice to every parent.

“Appreciate even the annoying things that your children do, spend lots of time with them and tell them every day that you love them because things in your life can change in a heartbeat,” Ann said. “As serious as Matt’s injury was, he was the healthiest child on the Pediatric floor at Spaulding. Matt’s roommate had to have a section of his brain removed due to a disease that was causing seizures, several children had brain cancer, while another teenager was paralyzed after being hit by a car. The average time spent at Spaulding is two to three months – Matt was one of the lucky ones, having to spend only four weeks there.”

Not just a game
The love of the game appears hereditary in the Cook family.

Tom, Matt’s father, was drafted by a major league team out of high school, but chose to pursue a college education prior to entering the big leagues. Unfortunately, he was sidelined with an injury, which rendered him unable to take up baseball as a career.

But Tom and Matt, and what seemed like the entire extended Cook family, as well as a number of Hamilton residents, including a contingent from the Hamilton-Wenham baseball team, watched at Fenway as the self-proclaimed nervous and excited Matt practiced his pitch with a Red Sox ball boy, while Julio Lugo tossed a few to warm up with his teammates nearby.

“Every ball player’s dream is to play professional baseball,” Matt said when asked if he ever dreamt of playing baseball professionally. “I just want to play for as long as I can and hopefully that includes playing in college.”

Although he didn’t get to personally meet any of the players, he did say that the Red Sox players who are in the throes of a winning season are among his favorite in the major league.

His favorite pitcher is Jon Papelbon. “I love the way he can close a game,” Matt said.

When asked who he would want to pitch to if he had a choice of any player past or present, he stated with certainty, “Ted Williams.”

His favorite catcher? Jason Varitek, who didn’t catch the game Matt was at, resting in the first game of a day-night doubleheader. But someday, Matt certainly wouldn’t mind firing a fastball to the Red Sox favorite.

A steely debate

Matt’s injury sparks renewed interest in the use of wooden versus aluminum bats through high school baseball play.

Although his parents, Ann and Tom Cook, are proponents of wooden bat usage, Matt has no opinion.

“The game is too dangerous with the power of these aluminum bats,” said Ann, who also referenced the case of 13-year-old New Jersey youngster Steven Domalewski, who suffered a long-term injury when he was hit by a line drive off an aluminum bat last year.

After eight months of recovery, Domaleski returned home to continue his recovery. Ann Cook said Joe Domalewski, Steven’s father, called to say how sorry he was about Matt’s injury. The elder Domalewski tracks metal bat-related injuries.

Hamilton-Wenham athletic director Don Doucette is also looking at ways to make the game safer. Ann said that helmets are now mandatory for anyone pitching batting practice. Doucette hopes the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association will mandate the change.

In the meantime, it won’t be long until Matt makes a return trip to his favorite ballpark.

Varitek and his wife sponsor a program at Children’s Hospital that donates a number of tickets to games during the season for patients and their families. Matt and his family have been invited back to Fenway by Children’s Hospital as part of the Varitek’s generosity to attend another game this summer. He’ll watch pre-game batting practice and will get to go on the field to speak with Jason himself.

With any luck, Matt will have an opportunity to pitch to his favorite catcher. No doubt it’ll be another strike, just like the pitch he threw last Thursday.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Maimonides Medical Center Celebrates National Stroke Awareness Month

BROOKLYN — May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and the group of stroke experts at Maimonides Medical Center is encouraging Brooklyn residents to learn more about this serious health problem. Stroke is the third leading cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States.

Maimonides will provide free Stroke Risk Screenings on Wednesday, May 30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 950 49th St., Brooklyn. Cholesterol, glucose and blood pressure screenings will be offered that day, as well as educational information.

According to Dr. Steven Rudolph, director of stroke medicine at Maimonides, knowing your numbers on these three risk factors can help you learn if you are at higher risk for stroke – and help you start on a plan to keep these risk factors under control.

There are many possible warning signs and symptoms of stroke. The experts at Maimonides strongly urge Brooklyn residents to call 911 and go to the nearest Stroke Center immediately if they experience any of the following: sudden numbness of face, arm or leg especially on one side of the body; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden confusion; trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble walking; dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.

If any of these symptoms occur, for even a brief period, it’s vital to seek immediate medical attention. Stroke is a “brain attack,” and rapid response greatly improves the chances for survival and a successful recovery. Stroke damage can be minimized and even reversed – it all depends on the speed with which the stroke sufferer can receive proper medical attention.

And remember, it is critically important where a patient receives care. Hospitals with a stroke center are best equipped to provide the most comprehensive care. The Maimonides Stroke Center is ranked among the top 5 percent in the nation by HealthGrades, the leading source of independent health care quality data.

When a stroke patient arrives at the Maimonides Emergency Room, an evaluation is done rapidly to ensure that the safest and most appropriate treatment is provided. The clot-busting drug, t-PA, is extremely beneficial for some patients, but dangerous for others. It must be administered within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Emmy and Tony Award-winning Actress Julie Harris to Headline University of Michigan Aphasia Program Event

         June 2007 celebration honors program's 60-year success

ANN ARBOR, Mich., April 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Julie Harris, one
of the most awarded actresses of the stage and screen, will headline the
University of Michigan Aphasia Program's (UMAP) 60th anniversary
fundraising event, "It's a RAP: 60 Year Celebration of the University of
Michigan Aphasia Program." The event also includes an exclusive screening
of her new movie, "The Way Back Home," in which Ms. Harris portrays a woman
who had a stroke. The event will take place June 1-2, 2007.
(Photo: )
Julie Harris, 81, is a former client of the University of Michigan
Aphasia Program ( She attended the program in May 2006
as part of her recovery from a stroke and resulting aphasia that occurred
in May 2001.
Ms. Harris is regarded as the most respected and honored stage actress
in America and is the most honored performer in Tony history with 10
nominations and five victories (1952, 1956, 1969, 1973 and 1977). She is
the only actress to date to receive 10 nominations and received a Lifetime
Achievement Award in 2002. During her acting career, she won three Emmys
(1962, 1969 and 2000). Television fans of "Knots Landing" remember her
fondly in the role of Lilimae Clemens. She was awarded the American
National Medal of the Arts in 1994 by the National Endowment of the Arts in
Washington D.C. and was a recipient of 2005 Kennedy Center Honors, along
with Robert Redford, Tina Turner, Tony Bennett and Suzanne Farrell. She was
born in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

National Award presented to Adler Aphasia Center

National Award presented to Adler Aphasia Center Board Member - Pampus,NJ,USA
The National Aphasia Association presented Audrey Holland, honoree at the
NAA’s Annual Spring Gala, with the 2007 National Aphasia Advocacy Award
on ...

What Was In My Mind (WWIMM???!!!)

Daddy's having this problem that we're currently trying to resolve with speech therapy, etc.

... "A person may speak only in single words (e.g., names of objects)
or in short, fragmented phrases. Smaller words of speech (e.g., the , of , and
), may be omitted, making the message sound like a telegram. Words may be put in
the wrong order. Incorrect grammar may be used. Sounds and/or words may be
switched..." (read more)

... "Persons with aphasia may tire easily and show extreme emotional fluctuations and inappropriate emotions—laughing when something isn't funny or crying for no apparent reason, particularly early in the recovery process. They may also seem very self-absorbed and show an intense need for an unchanging routine..." (read more)

Romish Receptive Aphasia

There is a recent medical phenomenon that I believe I might be the first to have noticed. It is a neurologic condition that involves the senses, in particular, the auditory pathway of reception. It is rather complex and my research is at this point empiric and preliminary but I post in the hopes that other bloggers have noted it. Perhaps with enough data collected, I may be able to formulate a plan of therapy and perhaps, a safe and effective treatment.

I have tentatively called it Romish Receptive Aphasia. In medical parlance, a receptive aphasia is a neurologic condition caused by a cerebrovascular accident leaving the victim incapable of understanding speech via the auditory pathways. Interestingly enough, a person with receptive aphasia can sometimes perceive written language via the visual tracts without difficulty but has marked difficulty in receiving the correct auditory message through the aural pathway(ea