Monday, January 16, 2012

Bill Lohmann: Seeking the right words about aphasia

Elaine Ackman has spent much of her life speaking — in voice and deeds — on behalf of others.
Now she struggles to find the right words.
Ackman, 80, of Henrico County, suffers from aphasia, a communication disorder that affects the expression and comprehension of language — the same condition that afflicts Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, whose aphasia was brought on by a brain injury caused by a gunshot wound to the head.
In Ackman's case, the culprit was a stroke, the most common cause of aphasia, according to the National Aphasia Association. As far as speaking, she has had to relearn almost everything.
"I couldn't remember anything," Ackman said Tuesday, sitting at her kitchen table Tuesday morning, as she tried to recall that day almost five years ago when the words went away.
The road back has been long. Through intensive therapy and the great support of family and friends, Ackman has regained much of her ability to communicate, but not all. To look at her, you would have no clue she has any problem at all, no idea of the frustration she feels when she tries to express herself and simply can't.
"She gets stuck on a lot of words, and she doesn't have a lot of confidence when it comes to talking to people," said Lynn Burris, one of Ackman's four children. She sometimes finds it easier to just say nothing.
Which is why Burris thought it would be helpful for her mother to connect with other aphasia patients. She believes meeting others facing the same challenges would make her mom less self-conscious and could go a long way to helping her grow more comfortable talking to others....Next

Friday, January 13, 2012

Traffic police arrested a woman for drink driving when she was actually dying from a stroke,

Traffic police arrested a woman for drink driving when she was actually dying from a stroke, an inquest heard today.
Julie Hawkins, 55, crashed her car and was tended by another motorist who noticed the side of her face was drooping.
But when police arrived on the scene they arrested her on suspicion of drink driving - even though another driver told them Mrs Hawkins was displaying the classic symptoms of a 'catastrophic' stroke.
Tragedy: Julie Hawkins, 55, suffered a 'catastrophic' stroke while she was behind the wheel, but was arrested by police for drink driving, an inquest heard
Tragedy: Julie Hawkins, 55, suffered a 'catastrophic' stroke while she was behind the wheel, but was arrested by police for drink driving, an inquest heard
The officers breathalysed the mother-of-three because her speech was slurred and she could only give them one-word answers.
The inquest heard mother-of-three Mrs Hawkins collapsed as she was taken from her car in Pontyclun, Wales, on October 14 and died of a stroke less than five hours later.
A post mortem examination showed Mrs Hawkins, from nearby Pontypridd, had no alcohol in her blood or urine at the time of the accident, as she drove home for a 50th birthday party.
Driver Jonathan Sharpe told the inquest how he went to help after seeing Mrs Hawkins’ Peugeot 107 swerve into an oncoming car.
He said: 'I opened the car door and at first I thought maybe she had too much to drink.
'But then I saw her face was drooping, I think on the left-hand side.
'They were the classic symptoms of a stroke. I would liken it to the advert on TV.'
Arrest: Mrs Hawkins crashed her car in Pontyclun, pictured, and when paramedics tended to her they found her lips had turned purple
Arrest: Mrs Hawkins crashed her car in Pontyclun, pictured, and when paramedics tended to her they found her lips had turned purple
Mr Sharpe said as soon as police arrived he told them about Mrs Hawkins' symptoms but they went ahead and arrested on suspicion of drink-driving.
After Mrs Hawkins collapsed and an ambulance arrived paramedics noticed her lips were purple.
Pc Rhodri Wilson told the inquest Mrs Hawkins gave only single word answers to his questions and he arrested her on suspicion of drink driving.
He said her speech was slurred and she replied 'no' when he asked if she had been drinking.
A spokeswoman from South Wales Police said: 'The officers acted in good faith based on the information presented to them in difficult circumstances.'
The Cardiff inquest heard Mrs Hawkins was taking painkillers for headaches in the weeks before the crash.
She died at 3.30am on October 15 at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, after a scan revealed a stroke.
Mrs Hawkins is survived by sons Kristian and Nicholas and daughter Laura, all in their twenties.
Pathologist Dr Allen Gibbs told the hearing: 'In my opinion she lost control of the car when she began to have a stroke which later became catastrophic.'
The jury returned a narrative verdict that Mrs Hawkins, of Llanharan, near Pontypridd, South Wales, died of a stroke.
Here's what other readers have said. Why not add your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.
The comments below have been moderated in advance.
innocent until proven guilty? i think the police went the extra mile to try and get a conviction and to hell with the poor womans health, crazy crazy world we live in now where the innocent are treat as the criminals!
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First and foremost, a Police Officers duty is to the Safety and Wellbeing of the public. They should of ruled out Stroke before an arrest was made. It's time they open their eye's, the world isn't black and white! A Little common sense on the Force would go a long way!
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Did someone comment that the police treat everybody as criminals? Rubbish they only treat the good guys like criminals as they appear to be afraid of going anywhere near the thugs and crooks. R.I.P. Mrs Hawkins Sincere sympathies to her family and friends.
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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Scott Douglas, driving force behind UM Entertainment Management program, fighting back after stroke

His right shoulder hangs slightly lower than his left. His brow is constantly knitted in a look of combined puzzlement and intense concentration. His eyes are steady as ever, but in place of Scott Douglas' once-piercing gaze is the look of a man uncertain, searching.
"You started off basically paralyzed on the right side," says Judy Douglas to her husband.
"Yes, paralyzed," he nods, speaking slowly. "Leg and arm and feet."
"So you're walking now," she says.
"And building ..."
"... Muscles. The mass for my arm. Doug, the acupuncture ..."
"... Has been helping. And lots of physical therapy."
"Yes. Occupational. Speech. And Doug. And, uh ..."
He picks up a pen, carefully positions a sheet of yellow paper on the table in front of him, then writes a name in neatly printed letters and gazes at it intensely for a mom

Read more:

Telemedicine Robots Give Time-Sensitive Stroke Care

Hospitals are starting to use telemedicine robots to extend the reach of specialists who are not available onsite. These robots are particularly useful in time-sensitive situations, such as when patients suspected of having had strokes arrive at the emergency room.
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, for example, has been using a robot from InTouch Health since 2010 to help care for stroke patients. Jefferson's neurologists are now doing stroke consults via robots in 22 community hospitals (another three will come on board soon).....Next

Tragedy Leads to Hope: Mark Kelly Opens Up at the Anniversary of Giffords' Shooting

MONDAY, Jan. 9, 2012 — Yesterday marked one year since the tragic shooting of 19 people in Tucson, Ariz., that rocked the nation and nearly took the life of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (six others did not survive). While Giffords clung to life after a bullet pierced the left side of her brain that day, the woman we have all come to know as “Gabby” has made remarkable strides in her recovery. Yesterday, she surprised and delighted those gathered in Tucson for a candlelight vigil commemorating the events of Jan. 8, 2011, as she proudly climbed an outdoor stage and led the pledge of allegiance.
After a year of rehab and therapy to learn how to talk and walk again, the congresswoman — still limping but holding her head up high — stood before her constituents, bringing a much-needed sense of healing to the remembrances of the tragic events on that day. She was back in her hometown with her beloved husband, Navy Captain and former astronaut Mark Kelly, by her side, as he has been since that fateful day.
Everyday Health spoke with...Next

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I Shot Asteroids – With My Eyes [VIDEO]

LAS VEGAS — The concept of eye-tracking has been around for more than a century, but it’s only in recent years that we’ve seen it applied to computing. Early implementations let you control, say, your cursor with your eyes, but only if you kept your head perfectly still and only moved your eyes. Tobii Technology breaks out of that boundary by making a 3D model of your eyes that allows for eye tracking and head movement. Mashable took the innovation for a test drive at CES 2012.
To start using Tobii, you sit about a foot-and–a-half from the screen and, at least initially, do have to keep your head still and stare at the screen while it calibrates. The screen shows you a series of objects that you have to look at without moving your head. Two infrared cameras shoot your eyeballs and create 3D models of your eyes than can now track their position and movement. (The whole process takes about 10 seconds.) Those cameras, by the way are art of a Tobii’s add-on eye-movement and control response system that can be used with desktops or laptops.
The technology has been programmed to work with an Asteroids-like game and even the Windows 8 Metro interface. I tried it out with the Asteroids game and found it remarkably effective — even if my asteroid-destroying skills stunk. It got so bad, I started to wish I had eight eyes instead of two..... Next