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Stroke Smart Magazine

January/February 2008

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‘Silent Strokes’ Common Among the Elderly
"Silent strokes” and other unrecognized brain abnormalities including benign brain tumors and aneurysms are common among older people, new research shows. 

The Netherland study is based on MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging brain scans of 2,000 healthy adults with an average age of 63. MRI scans revealed that seven percent of the participants showed evidence of a previous unrecognized, asymptomatic stroke. The presence of silent strokes more than doubled the patient’s risk for a subsequent major stroke.

Often times silent strokes are just that silent. But at other times, stroke symptoms were present but ignored. Make sure everyone in your family knows the common signs of stroke to get immediate medical attention if any symptoms arise. 

Practicing Everyday Tasks Increases Mobility After Stroke
Repetitive training that simulates everyday leg function can help people walk more easily after stroke, according to a new review of studies. Practicing everyday tasks resulted in modest gains in walking speed, walking distance and patients’ ability to stand up.

“People who had repetitive task training were able to go 50 meters (164 feet) farther in six minutes compared to people who hadn’t,” said lead research author Beverley French of the University of Central Lancashire in England. That distance is equivalent to being able to cross an intersection while the walk sign remains lit or to go from a parking lot into a grocery store.

The research includes findings from more than 650 study participants, ranging from those who had a stroke recently to those who had a stroke many years ago. Both groups of patients experienced similar health gains.

Patients repeatedly practiced everyday tasks, such as walking up steps and standing up from sitting. Therapy typically included one-hour sessions, three to five times a week for six to eight weeks.

“The idea of repeatedly practicing tasks is based on the thought that you can re-pattern the damaged brain,” French said. 


TIA (mini-stroke) Treatment Cuts Risk of Major Stroke in the Future
New studies by British and French researchers show quick treatment for TIA (mini-stroke) can dramatically cut the risk of experiencing a major stroke later.
The research, published in the journals Lancet and Lancet Neurology, found that patients treated within 24 hours for mini-strokes cut the later risk of a major stroke by 80 percent.
The study results reinforce the importance for individuals and families to be able to recognize stroke signs and symptoms, and to seek immediate medical treatment at the onset of any possible stroke symptoms. TIA symptoms may go away after a short amount of time, but it is critical that person still seeks fast medical attention so that measures can be taken to prevent a major stroke.  For more information, visit www.stroke.org/TIA or http://www.voanews.com/english/2007-10-09-voa74.cfm.

Ancient Chinese Stroke Remedy Coming to a Store Near You
A stroke treatment made from 10 Chinese herbal extracts will soon be available for sale in the United States.

The traditional Chinese medicine, called NeuroAiD-10, has been approved for use as a dietary supplement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The supplement is recommended for achieving stronger and healthier motor and cognitive neurological functions, particularly recommended during rehabilitation from stroke.

Neuroaid10 comes in the form of easy-to-swallow capsules that you take three times a day. For more information, visit http://www.neuroaid10.com/.

Stopping Cholesterol Drugs May Increase risk for Recurrent Stroke
Stroke survivors who stop statin therapy (prescription medicine that helps lower high cholesterol) after they have a stroke have high mortality rates over the next 12 months, according to a new report in the medical journal Stroke.

Study results show that in ischemic (blood clot) stroke survivors, discontinuing statin therapy may double the risk of premature death. Patients who discontinued statin therapy were significantly older and more frequently female, compared with those who continued on statin therapy. Patients who continued therapy were also more likely to have diabetes or have had a previous stroke.

"Patients…should never discontinue statin therapy," Dr. Furio Colivicchi from San Filippo Neri Hospital, Rome, stated.

If you are currently taking statins, talk to your doctor before you attempt to alter your dosage or stop taking the statin all together.  To learn more about stroke and cholesterol, visit http://www.stroke.org/.  For more information about this study, visit http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSCOL96993220071009.

Taking Steps for Stroke Awareness
National Stroke Association has partnered with the Spirit of Women and its Red Shoe Initiative, uniting fashion and women’s health. The first auction took place in September 2007 and was hugely successful.

The second celebrity shoe auction is scheduled for February 2008. Five celebrities will autograph a pair of designer red “CARLOS by Carlos Santana” shoes and then you have a chance to bid on these shoes for 10 days via an online auction. National Stroke Association has been chosen as the sole beneficiary, so please visit http://www.stroke.org/ for updates on auction dates and times.

Great Health is Just a Dance Away!
Mark your calendars: February 23, 2008 marks a new national health initiative called Day of Dance. Put on your red shoes and your red dress, and dance the day away! The Spirit of Women coalition created Day of Dance to promote healthy living, and National Stroke Association is proud to incorporate stroke awareness activities into Day of Dance 2008. Please visit http://www.stroke.org/ to find Day of Dance events near you.

Common Drug Improves Stroke Outcomes
A fairly common drug, called Minocycline, has been proven to significantly improve a stroke patient’s outcome.  On the market since 1967, Minocycline has been shown to significantly improve patient outcome when administered six to 12 hours after onset of an acute ischemic stroke (blood clot), according to new research. The drug has been shown to have a protective effect on the brain in animal models of Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and these new study results may prove the same for stroke patients.

While these preliminary findings are encouraging, a much larger study will be needed to confirm the effects of the antibiotic, its safety in stroke patients, learn the optimal doses of Minocycline needed and the time window for its use.



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National Stroke Association’s mission is to reduce the incidence and impact of stroke by developing compelling education and programs focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for all impacted by stroke.

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