Saturday, June 28, 2008

More bang for your buck

More money will be raised by the Mòolelo Performing Arts Company this summer due to Board of Trustees member Elaine Hiel's promise to match every dollar individuals donate between June 14 and Sept. 21, 2008.

Pledging as much as a $5,000 contribution, Hiel created the fundraising challenge to promote awareness for aphasia, a disability suffered by her deceased husband, Joel Hiel.

Aphasia, which is the loss of the ability to produce or comprehend language, is also the affliction that tortures the central character of “Night Sky,” a play the company is producing in homage to the late Hiel.

Exploring a communication struggle universal to all humans, the play compares black holes in the galaxies to the mind of an astronomy professor who is unable to express his innermost thoughts due to a brain injury.

Donations, which will be matched dollar for dollar, can be made to Mòolelo by calling 619-342-7395 or contributed online at

Stroke victims 'need speech help'

People in Northern Ireland who lose their ability to speak after suffering a stroke are not getting the help they need, according to a new survey.

It found many stroke survivors feel they do not receive enough speech and language therapy.

Speechmatters, part of the Stroke Association, will launch its Lost Without Words campaign at Stormont on Wednesday.

The association's Laura Gregson said aphasia could be "devastating".

"It not only affects stroke survivors' speech, it also affects their life in terms of work, socialising and family life.

"Many people with aphasia feel isolated, they feel depressed and they feel their life has been taken away."

WSF report: Oliver Sacks, Abyssinian choir on music


Photo of Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, acknowledging Jim Gates and Stephon Alexander at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, as part of the World Science Festival, NYC. From entropybound's flickr set (and check out his blog).

TED's Marla Mitchnick reports from the Saturday night blockbuster "Music and the Brain," held at the Abyssinian Baptist Church and hosted by the Rev. Calvin Butts III:

Many hundreds of people came out, on a rainy Saturday evening in Harlem, to hear the great Dr. Oliver Sacks speak on "Music and the Brain." We waited in a line that snaked all the way down 138th Street from the church, around the corner, and way down Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.

Though the event listing mentioned the location as The First Abyssinian Baptist Church, a historic Harlem landmark built in 1808, which is well known for its choir and its pastor, Calvin O. Butts III, and we all knew that gospel music was to be paired with Dr. Sacks' talk, no one was quite prepared for the multilayered experience that lay ahead.

A ferociously energetic church lady in a polka-dot dress was hawking CDs along the line, in a voice that demanded one's attention, and with an intensity that made me quake in my boots. To refuse her wares would take some courage! Thank god the line began to move.

Leaving the stairwell to enter the balcony, the space of the enormous church opened up in all its glory. Silvery pipe-organ pipes rose up everywhere -- in the balcony, at the back, the sides, up behind the altar area. I've never seen so many. But the church organ had some company: a concert grand piano, a full drum kit, a three-drum African skin-drum kit, and a freestanding jazz organ.

Sitting in the front row of the balcony, we were amongst a happy crowd of folks -- who seemed well enough behaved to my eye, but apparently not in the judgment of the large, bald, Abyssinian Baptist employee, wearing an OFFC T-shirt, who was overseeing our section, and who apparently felt we all fell quite short of the mark. Upon closer inspection, the large red letters OFFC on the front of his shirt were accompanied by some smaller yellow letters below, explaining the acronym: "On Fire For Christ!" The fire must have been pretty hot, to judge by the way this fellow made sure that no one put their feet upon the balcony rail, and generally acted like a cross between a stern master at a boys' school, and a security specialist on a far-off planet -- one where no one's even heard of laughter -- who took his job in deadly earnest.

Targets are crowding out compassion in the NHS, claims report

Medicine has become more efficient but less humane, a major report into the NHS warns

By Nina Lakhani
Sunday, 1 June 2008

A lack of compassion is putting patients at risk in the NHS, a new report will claim today. Failure to provide humane care has become endemic in the health services because beleaguered staff have too little time to pay adequate attention to fundamental human needs, the NHS Confederation report warns.

Nurses and doctors cannot spend as much time as they should with patients, and are sidelining essential care elements such as diet, pain control and hygiene because NHS targets are driven by the need to satisfy budgets rather than by care and quality.

Technical advances have made medicine more efficient but less humane, the report claims, and warns that government plans to tackle malnourishment and MRSA, as well as to give patients more dignity, are destined to fail unless compassion is restored to the heart of healthcare.

P1 Exclusive Series: Dealing with mentally ill citizens on patrol

Part 1: Signs, symptoms & strategies

By Dr. Laurence Miller

Signs and symptoms of abnormal behavior

In medicine, a sign is an objective observation or finding on a clinical examination. Examples include a limp while walking, high blood pressure on a cuff reading, or disorganized and delusional speech content during conversation. A symptom is a subjective experience that is reported by the patient, such as pain in the knee, throbbing headaches on exertion, or voices in his head telling him to fight off the evil forces threatening him.

A syndrome is a standard cluster of signs and symptoms that occur in a regular pattern, are typically associated with a particular causal factor, and/or occur in a particular subset of the population. Examples include degenerative arthritis of the knee in an ex-athlete, hypertensive headaches in an overweight woman with a high-salt diet, and paranoid schizophrenia in a homeless young man who abuses amphetamines and alcohol. A syndrome becomes a disorder when it interferes with important life functions of the patient, such as shortening life, decreasing the quality of health and well-being, or interfering with job, family, or social functioning.

Although different syndromes have different symptom clusters, there are some general signs of mental disorder that police officers should recognize (Pinizzotto & Deshazar, 1997; Russell & Beigel, 1990; Will & Peters, 2004).

General inappropriateness of behavior may be a sign of mental illness, although it may also be due to intoxication or even just youthful exuberance. Individuals with mental disorders tend to have their cognitive and behavioral gyroscopes set to extremes, characterized by either inflexibility and rigidity, or impulsivity and unpredictability. Emotions may range from elated to depressed, calm to panicked, and there may be an unnatural changeability of mood that is inconsistent with the circumstances. Attention, concentration, and memory may be impaired, either due to an organic brain syndrome or heightened distractibility from the anxiety of an internal dialogue. Severely disturbed subjects may be disoriented for time (“What day is this? Is it morning or afternoon?”), place (“Do you know where you are now? Where do you live?”), or person (“What’s your name? How old are you?”).

Speech may be tangential, flitting from topic to topic without a clear connection between them, or it may be circumstantial, remaining on, or returning to, the same topic, even after the conversation has moved on. Perseveration refers to abnormal persistence or repetition of speech or behavior. Pressured speechabnormally slow, occurs in a rapid-fire, jumbled form, as if the person is rushing to spill out all the words as fast as possible; conversely, speech output may seem as if the subject is weighing and measuring every word.

Aphasia refers to a group of organic language disorders characterized by various disturbances in comprehension and expression. Most commonly seen in elderly persons with strokes or dementia, subjects with receptive aphasia fail to comprehend normal speech, and may appear to be ignoring or defying the officer’s commands. The speech output of subjects with expressive aphasia may seem garbled and confused, and in severe cases may be limited to one- or two-word answers that are off the mark. Aprosodia refers to an abnormally flat and unexpressive tone and cadence of speech, even where the vocabulary and grammar are essentially intact. Some subjects may remain completely mute, either due to organic language disturbance or psychotic fear of saying anything. Remember, too, that perfectly healthy suspects may clam up to avoid incriminating themselves or just to be obstinate.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Apoplectic Aphasia Treated by Collaterals-Pricking and Bleeding Method

Case Example The Patient, male, 68 Years Old, had A Sudden Seizure Of Hemiplegia On The Right Body, deviation Of The Eye And Mouth, aphasia And Salivation After Getting Up In The Morning, and Was Sent To The Hospital Immediately, and Was Diagnosed With Cerebral Infarction After Examination And Was Treated Upon Diagnosis For Over Month. Hemiplegia In The Limbs And Deviation Of The Eye And Mouth Had Been Relieved, but Aphasia Was Still There.

Say What?

At the risk of admitting the extent to which I devour pop culture, the first time I was introduced to the concept of aphasia was during an episode of House. The patient on the episode spoke rambled nonsense and was diagnosed with Wernicke’s Aphasia (speaking illogical sentences) and Agraphia (the inability to write rationally). Being the omnipotent doctor that House is, he was able to replace the illogical words for what the patient meant to say and found a way to communicate. While I am ignorant enough to believe a lot of the show (and the consequent hundreds of thousands of dollars in MRI’s) as plausible, I needed to investigate this peculiar neurological disorder for myself.

Translational Research in Aphasia: From Neuroscience to Neurorehabilitation

Purpose: In this article, the authors encapsulate discussions of the Language Work Group that took place as part of the Workshop in Plasticity/NeuroRehabilitation Research at the University of Florida in April 2005.

Method: In this narrative review, they define neuroplasticity and review studies that demonstrate neural changes associated with aphasia recovery and treatment. The authors then summarize basic science evidence from animals, human cognition, and computational neuroscience that is relevant to aphasia treatment research. They then turn to the aphasia treatment literature in which evidence exists to support several of the neuroscience principles.

Hypertensive Patients Not Following Diets, Corneal Transplantation & Risk of Infection, Link Found Between Speech and Learning Disabilities

(February 11, 2008 - Insidermedicine) From Mississippi - Despite evidence of the importance of dietary modification for the management of high blood pressure, patients with the condition are not complying. Over a decade ago, research showed that a diet high in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products could significantly lower blood pressure. But researchers analyzing data from over 4000 hypertensive patients showed that only 19% regularly follow this diet - down 7% from a decade ago.

From Houston - The source of corneal donation may influence the risk of a post-operative infection in cases of corneal transplantation. In a study of nearly 500,000 corneas distributed by the Eye Bank Association of America, serious eye infections occurred in 3 cases per 10,000. When donor tissue came from hospitalized patients the risk of infection was 3 times higher and if the patient suffered from cancer the risk was twice as high.

And finally, from Chicago - Patients with a progressive neurodegenerative condition that affects speech report a significantly higher likelihood of having previously had a learning disability. In a study of nearly 700 patients, half of whom had Alzheimer's disease, dementia or primary progressive aphasia, those with progressive aphasia were 10 times more likely to report having had a learning disability when compared to controls - particularly dyslexia.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Arts and Aphasia

We are planning a "Celebration of Aphasia" at a locally based venue in 2008 and are looking for talented people from all over the UK to perform -

Columnist earns moment in spotlight


Columnist earns moment in spotlight

TMP Photo by Kelly Hite. Kathy Hoover relaxes in the sun room of the home she grew up in. Since her stroke, she spends time reading and keeping up with current events in the colorful room.
Newspaper columnist Kathy Hoover wrote about and took photographs of the beautiful people at the fund-raising balls and galas for almost 20 years in Rutherford County.

Now Hoover delivers a more important message — “keep a better handle on your health” by a heart-healthy lifestyle and routine physicals with doctors.

Hoover, 52, of Murfreesboro, took her health for granted until a stroke drastically changed her lifestyle two years ago. She suffers from aphasia, a brain injury that affects speech, language and communications. She lost sight in one eye, so she can’t drive and she lost some use of her hands, so it’s difficult to write.....

Smart Combat Helmet Is Goal Of Researchers

University of Illinois researchers are pooling their knowledge of health sciences and engineering on a project that ultimately could benefit combat soldiers who’ve received serious – but often immediately undetectable – blast-related brain injuries.

The project will focus on the use of the latest communications technology to transfer real-time blast-injury data to first responders. Leading the investigation is Kenneth Watkin, a professor of speech and hearing science in the College of Applied Health Sciences who also holds appointments in the U. of I.’s Beckman Institute and Information Trust Institute, and Ravi Iyer, the director of the College of Engineering’s Coordinated Science Laboratory and ITI chief scientist. Co-investigators are ITI associates and professors of electrical and computer engineering Zbigniew Kalbarczyk, Janek Patel, William H. Sanders and Mark Spong.....

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Northstar Neuroscience shares sink 85%; Jefferies downgrades to underperform

NEW YORK, Jan 23, 2008 (Thomson Financial via COMTEX) -- NSTR | news | PowerRating | PR Charts -- Shares of Northstar Neuroscience Inc. sank to an all-time low Tuesday after the company said its Everest trial evaluating cortical stimulation to improve hand and arm function in stroke survivors failed to meet its primary efficacy endpoint.Next....

With Love from the Libraries - Winners Announced!

How does Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet compare to Speech and Language Pathology or even Psychology? A couple of UI graduate students were able to make the case for the With Love from the Libraries contest.

Patricia Grieg, a graduate student in Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology compared the communication breakdowns between Romeo and Juliet and their families and the communication difficulties of stroke patients suffering from aphasia. For her entry, Patricia won first prize - two tickets to dinner and a performance of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra at Hancher.


Washington, Feb 12 (ANI): A new study has found that learning disabilities are associated with language problems later in life.

A new study has found that learning disabilities are associated with language problems later in life.

The study, conducted by Emily Rogalski, Ph.D., then at Northwestern University and now at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, and colleagues, found that individuals with a neurodegenerative condition affecting language appear more likely to have had a history of learning disabilities than those with other types of dementia or with no cognitive problems.

The condition, known as primary progressive aphasia, causes individuals to lose language abilities as they age, even though their other brain functions appear unaffected for at least the first two years.

For the study, the research team examined a group of 699 individuals, 108 with primary progressive aphasia, 154 with Alzheimer's disease, 84 with a related disorder known as frontotemporal dementia and 353 controls without dementia.

During their enrolment, participants completed a detailed demographic and medical history interview that included two questions about whether they or immediate family members had a history of learning disabilities.

The team conducted a medical record review for the 23 individuals with primary progressive aphasia who reported either a personal or family history of learning disability.

The researchers found that patients with primary progressive aphasia were more likely to have had learning disabilities or a close family member with learning disabilities than were those with other forms of dementia or without dementia.

The review of patients with both aphasia and learning disabilities showed families with unusually high rates of learning problems, especially dyslexia.

The study suggests that some individuals or families may have an underlying susceptibility to difficulties with the language network.

"This relationship may exist in only a small subgroup of persons with dyslexia without necessarily implying that the entire population with dyslexia or their family members are at higher risk of primary progressive aphasia," the authors said.

The study is published in the February issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. (ANI)

Learning Disabilities May Presage Later Language Problems

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Learning Disabilities May Presage Later Language Problems
02.12.08, 12:00 AM ET

TUESDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- People with a personal or family history of learning disabilities may be more at risk for a rare type of dementia that causes them to lose language abilities as they age, according to a new report.

The condition, known as primary progressive aphasia, causes language abilities to be slowly and progressively impaired, even though the person's other brain functions appear unaffected for at least the first two years, according to background information for the article in the February issue of Archives of Neurology.

Although risk factors for Alzheimer's disease have been well studied, much less is known about risk factors for primary progressive aphasia, the authors wrote.

Researchers, led by Emily Rogalski, then of Northwestern University and now of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, studied 699 people -- about half with no dementia and the other half with either primary progressive aphasia, Alzheimer's disease or a related disorder known as frontotemporal dementia.

Patients with primary progressive aphasia were more likely to have had learning disabilities or a close family member with learning disabilities than were those with other forms of dementia or without dementia. The review of patients with both aphasia and learning disabilities showed families with unusually high rates of learning problems, especially dyslexia.

For example, in three cases, nine of the 10 children of the participants were reported to have had a history of specific learning disability in the area of language, the authors wrote.

"In our clinical practice, we encounter many patients with primary progressive aphasia who report that spelling was never their strong suit or that they could not learn new languages, but who would not have identified themselves as having a learning disability," they continued.

The association suggests that some people or families may have an underlying susceptibility to difficulties with the language network.

"This relationship may exist in only a small subgroup of persons with dyslexia without necessarily implying that the entire population with dyslexia or their family members are at higher risk of primary progressive aphasia," the authors concluded.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Graduate student earns Kensel Giddings Award

Dec. 21, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University graduate student Carolyn Kennedy of Jenison, Mich., has won an award from a special fund established by a Paw Paw, Mich., family to promote better communication options for people with stroke-induced language problems.

Kennedy, a first-year graduate student in speech-language pathology, has been selected to receive the Kensel Giddings Award in Aphasia Education for the 2007-08 academic year. Aphasia is an impairment of the ability to use or comprehend words, usually acquired as a result of a stroke or other brain injury.

Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing

“Head injuries are a substantial risk,” claims the Sports Injury Bulletin. “In one study, for instance, 57% of participants in Tae Kwon Do had experienced some form of head injury. This could range from mild concussion to intracranial bleeds. Case reports of internal carotid artery dissection, stroke, aphasia (loss of speech from brain lesion), hemiplegia and ophthalmic trauma resulting in loss of vision; appear frequently in the literature of the past ten years.”