Sunday, April 17, 2011

City teen suffers massive stroke while awaiting heart transplant

Jessica Bondar: having seizures since stroke
Jessica Bondar: having seizures since stroke (FACEBOOK)
A Winnipeg teen awaiting a heart transplant in Montreal has taken a turn for the worse.
Jessica Bondar, 19, suffered a massive stroke Thursday morning in the hospital and has been experiencing seizures ever since, according to her mother, Charlotte Roy.
Nurses found Jessica on the floor in her bathroom around 9:15 a.m. and when they helped her up, they noticed her speech was "garbled." Within 15 minutes, she had lost the ability to speak altogether. A day-and-a-half later, she still can't speak.
Roy was called in for consultation with the medical team Thursday morning to discuss various options, depending on which way the swelling goes.
"We're having the kinds of conversations you never want to have, whether they should do anything or just let nature take its course. We said we want them to give her every chance that they can," Roy said. "All we can do is pray and wait. That's the hardest part."
Jessica has been moved into the intensive-care unit with a nurse by her bedside and an operating room on standby.
Roy said Jessica is on medication to shrink her brain so there's room in her skull for swelling. If that doesn't work, they'll consider cutting out a piece of her skull at the back of her head and replace it once the swelling goes down.
Roy said Jessica has had three CT scans so doctors can watch the progression of the stroke, but they won't know if the worst is behind her until late Friday night or early this morning.
Bondar, 19, has battled health issues since April 2009, when she went on life support after suffering heart failure as a complication of the influenza A virus. Since moving to Montreal later that year, she has been in and out of hospital battling a long list of setbacks, including pneumonia, a broken heart pump, blood transfusions and a bleeding kidney.
As if that wasn't enough, two weeks ago, Winnipeg police arrested Jessica's aunt for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from a trust fund set up to pay her medical bills.
"How much can one person take? We have to hope she is tough and that she'll make it through this," Roy said.  more read.....

Director Sidney Lumet dies after stroke at 86

Director Sidney Lumet dies after stroke at 86

Saturday, April 09, 2011
In this file photo, Director Sidney Lumet speaks at the 17th Annual Gotham Awards at Steiner Studios, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2007 in New York.
In this file photo, Director Sidney Lumet speaks at the 17th Annual Gotham Awards at Steiner Studios, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2007 in New York. Lumet died at his home in Manhattan on Saturday, April 9, 2011. His stepdaughter said the cause of lymphoma. He was 86. (AP Photo / Evan Agostini)  more read...

Stroke risks fade when women stop taking estrogen

Strokes and other health problems linked with estrogen pills appear to fade when women quit taking them after menopause, the first long-term follow-up of a landmark study found. It's reassuring news for women who take the hormone in their 50s when menopause usually begins.
The latest study bolsters previous evidence that concerns about breast cancer and heart attacks are largely unfounded for those who take the hormone for a short period of time to relieve hot flashes and other menopause symptoms.
Estrogen-only pills are recommended just for women who have had a hysterectomy, and the study focused only on that group. About 25 percent of women in menopause have had hysterectomies. Other women are prescribed a combination pill of estrogen and progestin because for them, estrogen alone can raise the risk for cancer of the uterus.
The study results don't really change the advice doctors have been giving for several years now: Take hormones to relieve menopause symptoms in the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time.

more read....

Heart and Stroke Foundation wants to help kids get healthy

Heart and Stroke Foundation wants to help kids get healthy

The organization launched the program Friday morning.
The organization launched the program Friday morning.
The organization launched the program Friday morning.
Font-size: Bigger  Smaller  Share Share Print Print

CTV Saskatchewan
Date: Friday Apr. 8, 2011 3:36 PM CST
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan is taking aim at making young people healthy.
On Friday morning, the organization launched its "Heart Healthy Children and Youth" program. The initiative will see special coordinators work within communities to find ways to get people to lead healthier lifestyles.
Lucy Buller, CEO of the foundation, says the goal is to decrease youth obesity in Saskatchewan. "Heart disease and stroke are affecting younger and younger people, and if that continues, ultimately what happens? We're not a healthy population, our healthcare costs increase - you know it's just not a good scenario. We need to turn that around. And we hope to do that through working with communities, starting where they're at."
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan is setting aside $715,000 for the program.  more read...

Antidepressants could help with stroke recovery

WASHINGTON: Patients treated with a short course of antidepressants after a stroke have significantly greater improvement in physical recovery than patients treated with a placebo, a University of Iowa study has found.It is the first to demonstrate that this physical recovery continues to improve for at least nine months after the antidepressant medication is stopped."The idea that antidepressants might benefit early recovery from stroke has been around for a couple of years," said Robert Robinson, UI professor and senior study author."But one major question left unanswered by previous studies was 'does the effect last after the medication stops?'"What our study demonstrates is that not only does the beneficial effect last, but the improvement in physical recovery continues to increase even after the patients stop taking the medication," added Robinson.The study found that both depressed and non-depressed stroke patients who received antidepressant medication had greater physical recovery after stroke than patients who received placebo.In addition, the effect compared to placebo was observed even after controlling for patients' age, total hours of rehabilitation therapy and initial severity of stroke.In the study, 83 patients who had recently had a stroke were randomly assigned to receive antidepressants (54 patients) or placebo (29 patients) for three months.The patients' physical, cognitive and psychiatric symptoms were assessed every three months for one year. Thirty-six of the patients who received antidepressants and 25 of the patients on placebo completed the one-year study.Using a global measure of overall physical and motor disability, the researchers showed that antidepressants significantly reduced physical disability over the one-year period compared to placebo.The study is detailed in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry Feb. 24.  more read....

Hinds player's death causes cancellation of MGCCC baseball doubleheader

PERKINSTON, Mississippi -- Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College's baseball home doubleheader against Hinds scheduled for Saturday was canceled due to the recent death of Hinds player Chase Wroten. The games will not be made up unless they affect the MACJC South Division race.
Wroten, 19, suffered a stroke and collapsed on the mound during the seventh inning of a game against East Central Community College on Wednesday. He underwent emergency brain surgery that night at University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, but died Friday afternoon.
Gulf Coast (16-16, 9-5) is back in action in a 2 p.m. Tuesday doubleheader at Copiah-Lincoln. The Bulldogs are 2 ½ games behind first-place Jones County in the South Division, with eight games remaining in the regular season. more read...

Fashion, fragrance designer Bijan dies at 67

Sunday, April 17, 2011
Celebrity fashion designer Bijan Pakzad is shown in this photo from his website. Pakzad died Saturday, April 16, 2011 after he suffered a stroke on Thursday.
Celebrity fashion designer Bijan Pakzad is shown in this photo from his website. Pakzad died Saturday, April 16, 2011 after he suffered a stroke on Thursday. (
Fashion, fragrance and jewelry designer Bijan Pakzad has died after suffering a stroke. He was 67.

He passed away at Cedars Sinai Medical Center Saturday. The Iranian native, who went simply by the name, Bijan, designed clothes for movie stars, presidents and kings.
He once described his boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills as the "most expensive store in the world."

more read...

Walking dogs for heart and stroke

Sunday's inaugural Dog Walk for Heart raised money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Walking dogs for heart and stroke

By Denis Langlois

Updated 7 days ago
Steady rain and a cool breeze couldn't stop about 20 people and their canine companions from strolling around the Owen Sound Harbour Sunday morning to raise money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
The inaugural Dog Walk for Heart, sponsored by Reigning Cats & Dogs, raised several hundred dollars. A final tally was not available at press time.
"All the money goes to research for humans for heart and stroke and to raise awareness of heart issues in pets as well," said event organizer Victoria Will, owner of Reigning Cats & Dogs on 2nd Ave. E.
Will's dog Chester suffers from a heart condition and she said her goal is to educate dog owners on the health issue.
The walk began at the west-side boat launch and ended at the new dog park on the city's east side.  more read...

Video Games Speed Up Stroke Patient Recovery

video game stroke recoveryMedical experts and researchers are now looking into video games as an effective way to counter the effects of stroke.
The claim is made by researchers from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada. The research while related video game play to recovery of stroke patients focused on 12 different video games. They have found out among other things that video games can aid in regaining upper arm strength of stroke patients, thereby improving general mobility.
Video games help improve cognitive and motor skills in stroke victims thereby increase the speed of their recovery according to the research. The challenges, quests and tasks that these video games bring forth require the players (the stroke victims) in this case to undertake simple tasks that exercises their cognition.
The whole research can be read in Journal of the American Heart Association.

more read....

Video games could help stroke patients recover

Video games could help stroke patients recover

Video games have changed; so could their uses.
Video games aren't for the couch bound anymore. As they change, so could their uses. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
Video games that get players moving, at least in some small fashion, can not only have positive health effects -- they might even have a place in stroke rehabilitation centers, helping some patients regain upper body strength and coordination after suffering a stroke.

That seems to be the consensus from an analysis by Canadian researchers of 12 studies involving 195 stroke patients who tried their hands at virtual-reality games as part of rehabilitation. And the games might even offer an edge. In the five studies that compared video gaming to more traditional therapies, the video-gaming patients were more likely to improve their arm strength than were those who relied on traditional therapies.

A variety of virtual-reality gaming systems now exist, used by children and adults to practice their skills at virtual bowling, boxing and the like. The studies in the latest analysis used both household consoles and gaming consoles customized for rehabilitation, tracking players' movements while they wore gloves or held a remote.

The results, released Thursday, are published in the May issue of Stroke

Strokes happen when a blood vessel to the brain is blocked or bursts.

If blood is stopped for more than a few seconds, brain cells are starved of oxygen and die. When brain cells die in a part of the brain that controls movement, the stroke victim may have trouble with everyday tasks such as drinking a glass of water or opening a doorknob.

The key to getting mobility back is to strengthen neural connections in the brain -- something that can be done by learning a new skill and practicing it.

Video games -- in which players use a remote to simulate playing a sport or to accomplish some goal -- could be part of that rehabilitation, researchers have speculated.

Small studies have suggested that video games have some advantage over traditional treatment tools, such as learning to play cards, bingo or Jenga, a block-balancing game. A small pilot study by some of the same researchers last year found that stroke patients who played Wii Sports (using a handheld remote to “bowl” or swing a golf club) for a few weeks could perform tasks such as folding a towel about 7 seconds faster than patients who played leisure activities such as cards.

But before you pick up the Wiimote, keep in mind that it’s a little early to prescribe a daily dose of Nintendo to stroke survivors. More research is needed -- with more participants -- before patients or rehab-program directors routinely buy shiny new game consoles for the sake of rehabilitation.

The researchers did conclude that it’s at least safe for stroke patients to play on video games, including those that use virtual reality programs requiring movement. The only side effect, they found in one patient, was nausea. So if the console is already in the house -- no harm, and possible gain.  more ready...

Vegetarians may be at lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke

Vegetarians experience a 36 percent lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome than non-vegetarians, suggests new research from Loma Linda University published in the journal Diabetes Care. Because metabolic syndrome can be a precursor to heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, the findings indicate vegetarians may be at lower risk of developing these conditions.
Metabolic syndrome is defined as exhibiting at least three out of five total risk factors: high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, high glucose levels, elevated triglycerides, and an unhealthy waist circumference. The Loma Linda University study found that while 25 percent of vegetarians had metabolic syndrome, the number significantly rises to 37 percent for semi-vegetarians and 39 percent for non-vegetarians. The results hold up when adjusted for factors such as age, gender, race, physical activity, calories consumed, smoking, and alcohol intake.
"In view of the high rate of metabolic syndrome in the United States and its deleterious health effects, we wanted to examine lifestyle patterns that could be effective in the prevention and possible treatment of this disorder," says lead researcher Nico S. Rizzo, PhD.
"I was not sure if there would be a significant difference between vegetarians and non-vegetarians, and I was surprised by just how much the numbers contrast," he continues. "It indicates that lifestyle factors such as diet can be important in the prevention of metabolic syndrome."
The study examined more than 700 adults randomly sampled from Loma Linda University's Adventist Health Study 2, a long-term study of the lifestyle and health of almost 100,000 Seventh-day Adventist Christians across the United States and Canada.
Thirty-five percent of the subjects in this smaller sub-study were vegetarian. On average, the vegetarians and semi-vegetarians were three years older than non-vegetarians. Despite their slightly older age, vegetarians had lower triglycerides, glucose levels, blood pressure, waist circumference, and body mass index (BMI). Semi-vegetarians also had a significantly lower BMI and waist circumference compared to those who ate meat more regularly.
"This work again shows that diet improves many of the main cardiovascular risk factors that are part of metabolic syndrome," says Gary Fraser, MD, PhD, principal investigator of Adventist Health Study 2. "Trending toward a plant-based diet is a sensible choice."  more ready....

New neuro-robotic arm could aid stroke patients

New neuro-robotic arm could aid stroke patients

Myomo's mPower 1000 neuro-robotic arm brace
All rights reserved
Sponsored Links
Ads by Google

North Shore-LIJ Medical
Group Urgent Care Center is open
No appointment needed

Stroke Foot Drop Study
L300 Research Trial recruiting
at NYC Weill Cornell Medical Center

Post Stroke limb Rehab
Request free info on how Bioness
helps in post-Stroke rehabilitation

Medical Detox Treatment
Do You or Someone You Love Have
a Drug Problem? We Can Help!

A startup company in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is aiming to improve the lives of stroke patients with a new invention four years in the making: a neuro-robotic arm brace that helps patients improve lost motor function in their arms.
Dubbed the mPower 1000, the product was developed by a 12-person startup called Myomo, Inc. The company aims to debut the device's capabilities at the American Occupational Therapy Association annual conference and expo in Philadelphia, April 14-17.
The device fits like a sleeve on a person's arm, and features "sensors that sit on the skin's surface and detect even a very faint muscle signal," according to the company's latest announcement. The brain sends a signal to the muscle, and the mPower 1000 kicks into action, providing motorized assistance. Over time, the product can help people relearn how to move affected muscles, and therapy can begin at any point post-stroke, even 20 years later, according to the company.
The US Food and Drug Administration cleared the product for home and clinical use, and the company is targeting patients suffering arm mobility impairment from strokes, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and traumatic brain injuries.
The device is deemed portable and "super light" at 1lb 14 oz (.846 kg). Myomo plans to market the mPower 1000 for in-home use, complete with a structured program, smartphone app, and video game mechanics - and the Bluetooth-enabled device connects to a Web portal so physicians can keep tabs on a patient's progress.
The mPower 1000 sells for $5,250, compared to $80,000 for stationary rehabilitation devices commonly found in hospitals. So far, Myomo is drumming up interest with partnerships with hospitals and clinics around Boston, Chicago, and Southern California, as well as Cincinnati and Cleveland.
Pairing stroke patients with virtual reality tools such as motion-tracking video games, robotic gloves and 3D googles to retrain the brain and enhance mobility isn't a new concept, and robotics engineers have been scrambling to develop better, more streamlined methods for years. Another competing product announced earlier this month is the Biomedical Sensor Glove, developed by four US engineering undergraduate students for a startup company called Jintronix Inc. Like the mPower 1000, this glove is designed for at-home usage with minimal supervision from physicians. While still in development, it is cited as costing around $1,000 (€688) to produce, according to a press announcement.
Read more about the mPower 1000:
Watch a demo of the mPower 1000:

Pollution tied to stroke risk only for some people


Pollution tied to stroke risk only for some people

A bird flies near chimneys emitting smoke in the harbour area of Copenhagen January 26, 2011. REUTERS/Yves Herman
NEW YORK | Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:27pm EDT
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Spikes in air pollution may not boost the short-term risk of stroke in most people, but may present a hazard to some who are at high stroke risk, a new study hints.
In a study of 9,200 patients hospitalized for stroke, researchers found no clear connection between people's stroke risk and their exposure to short-term increases in fine-particle air pollution.
There was a link, however, among people with diabetes -- one of the major risk factors for stroke. On a relatively polluted day, versus a relatively "clean" day, people with diabetes were about 11 percent more likely to suffer a stroke.
The findings, published in the journal Epidemiology, do not prove that air pollution triggers strokes in some people.
"The evidence is still mixed on this topic," said Dr. Gregory A. Wellenius of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, one of the researchers on the study.
"Those with stroke risk factors, like diabetes, may be at increased risk (from air pollution), but clearly more studies are needed," Wellenius told Reuters Health.
Fine particulate matter is released into the air when fossil fuels are burned, so car exhaust, wood burning, and industrial sources like power plants all contribute.
The particles are small enough that they can be inhaled deeply into the lungs, and researchers suspect they may trigger heart attacks, strokes or other cardiovascular "events" in vulnerable people by causing inflammation in the blood vessels and irritating the nerves of the lungs.
A number of studies have found a relationship between daily spikes in air pollution, particularly fine-particle pollution, and heart problems.
The American Heart Association now recommends that people with established heart disease and others at risk -- including the elderly and people with diabetes or high blood pressure -- try to limit their exposure to congested roadways and spend less time outside on days when air quality is poorer.
Some studies, but not all, have also found connections between stroke risk and short-term increases in fine-particle pollution.
For their study, Wellenius and his colleagues looked at data on 9,200 Ontario residents who had suffered a stroke and had the date and time of their first stroke symptoms in their medical records.
The researchers compared that information with local pollution levels collected from government air-quality monitors. They looked at pollution measurements during the two days before a patient's stroke, and on other days of that same month.
Overall, the researchers found no strong association between fine-particle pollution and patients' stroke risk.
The result was different, however, when they focused on the one-quarter of patients who had diabetes before having the stroke. For each fine-particle increase of 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air, their stroke risk climbed by almost 11 percent.  more read...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Beyond Boundaries: connecting brain to machine

Beyond Boundaries: connecting brain to machine

A Duke University neuroscientist wants to help paralyzed people walk again using a robotic vest that takes commands from the brain.
His name? Miguel Nicolelis, who writes in his new book, Beyond Boundaries, that a “paradigm shift” is underway in science, in which scientists are beginning to think that physical and mental activities aren’t controlled by specialized regions of the brain, but rather groups of “multitasking neurons, distributed across multiple locations.”
But theory becomes practice when Nicolelis dives into brain-machine interfaces. His team has built robotic prostheses that can be controlled via electrical impulses transmitted by neurons in the brain — a major advancement for paralyzed people who don’t have full control of their ability to interact with their environment.
Drive your car just by thinking? Chat with your mother without uttering a word? These are the far-out goals that brain-machine interfaces make a little more possible.
(Perhaps I won’t have to lift a finger to write my next SmartPlanet report.)
Nicolelis appeared on Comedy Central’s Daily Show this week to discuss his research and how it impacts reality. A look: the paralyzed will use thin exoskeletons to move around, Parkinson’s patients will have more options, and manufacturing, communication and space exploration will never be the same.
Host Jon Stewart gets right to it:
We want to make computers that have intelligence. You’re taking the creatures that already have the intelligence and connecting us to machines — cutting out the middle man of creating a machine that would do that.
Here’s the video:
Related on SmartPlanet:

More young people see a surge in strokes

More young people see a surge in strokes

Hospitalizations for ischemic stroke — the most common type — rose 51 percent in boys and men 15 to 34 years old between 1994 and 2007, and 17 percent in girls and women in the same age group, according to a recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Published: Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 8:47 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 8:47 a.m.
SANTA CLAUS, Ind. — Bethany Miller was getting ready to shower at her Indiana home after high school basketball practice in January when her left leg grew weak, then numb. Soon, her entire left side was numb, and she slid to the tile floor.
What is a stroke?
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it starts to die. An ischemic stroke is caused by a clot obstructing the flow of blood, and a hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a blood vessel rupturing and preventing blood flow.
Signs of stroke
— Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
— Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
— Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
— Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
— Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Ways to avoid stroke
— Check blood pressure and keep it under control.
— Check cholesterol and get high cholesterol under control.
— Stop smoking or don’t start.
— Keep diabetes under control.
— Be particularly vigilant if you’ve had a transient ischemic attack, a “warning stroke” that produces symptoms but no lasting damage.
— Eat well, exercise regularly and maintain normal weight.
— Don’t abuse alcohol or use drugs.
Risk factors particular to women younger than 55
— Migraines:Recent research shows that women who suffer from migraines can be up to 10 times more likely to suffer a stroke.
— Birth-control pills:Women who take even a low-estrogen pill may be twice as likely to have a stroke than those who don’t.
— Hormone replacement therapy:Women who take hormone replacement therapy may have a slightly increased stroke risk.
— Autoimmune diseasessuch as diabetes or lupus
— Clotting disorders:Women who’ve had more than one miscarriage may be at higher risk for blood clots, which can increase their chance of a stroke. Other signs of a possible clotting disorder include a previous history of clots in the legs.
Sources: American Stroke Association and Courier-Journal reporting
Rushed to Jasper’s Memorial Hospital, doctors gave the high school freshman a startling diagnosis: She’d suffered a stroke.
“I didn’t think a 15-year-old could have one,” Bethany said.
Bethany is part of a disturbing trend — a sharp increase in stroke hospitalizations among Americans younger than 35, including teens.
Hospitalizations for ischemic stroke — the most common type — rose 51 percent in boys and men 15 to 34 years old between 1994 and 2007, and 17 percent in girls and women in the same age group, according to a recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
During the same period, hospitalizations because of stroke declined in the elderly.
The findings bolster a study by University of Cincinnati researchers presented last year that showed the percentage of 20- to 45-year-olds having strokes rose from 4.5 percent in 1993-94 to 7.3 percent in 2005.
“We were seeing a rash of younger people coming in having strokes,” said Dr. Brett Kissela, author of that study and Cincinnati neurology chairman.
Risk factors
Researchers aren’t sure why the numbers are increasing, but they suspect that factors such as rising obesity and high blood pressure in the young are big contributors, as well as improved medical technology that is leading to more stroke diagnoses.
Doctors also pointed to other causes in the young — undiagnosed heart problems, smoking, drug use and birth-control pills.