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.