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Stroke Smart Magazine

May/June 2008

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Emotional Health and Stroke

A study from the United Kingdom has found that those who score low on a test to measure well-being are at a higher risk for stroke. The test is measured on the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale.  Out of a sample of 20,000 patients, 600 suffered a stroke during the study. Those with the poorest scores were found to be more likely for a stroke, or a fatal stroke. More research is needed to understand the link between emotional health and stroke.


Daytime Dozers at Risk

Researchers have found a tie between frequent daytime dozing and an increased risk for stroke. The study, released at the International Stroke Conference in February, concluded that there was a two-to-four times greater risk for stroke when the elderly engage in regular daytime dozing.  According to scientists, daytime dozing can be a sign of sleeping poorly at night because of sleep apnea.


Cat Owners Less Likely to Die of Stroke

Minnesotan researchers have discovered a link between cat owners and a decrease in cardiovascular conditions.  The University of Minnesota study analyzed 4,435 people. Those without felines were found to be 30 to 40 percent more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those with cats. The study was conducted on account of the suggestion that pets can help reduce stress. For this study, dogs were not considered.


Can Your Mammogram Predict Stroke Risk?

Mammograms may be a valuable predictor for stroke in women, researchers now believe. Released at this year’s International Stroke Conference, a University of Missouri Medical School study has found correlations between calcium deposits detected by mammograms and stroke.  The calcium deposits were found in the walls of the arteries that supply the breasts with blood.

When researchers evaluated 204 stroke patients’ mammograms, they found the calcium deposits in 56 percent of them. Women in their forties and fifties were seen to be at the greatest stroke risk.


Automated PLAC Test Cleared for Risk Detection

The new PLAC Test format was cleared for marketing by the FDA.  PLAC is a blood test that is said to be able to detect risk for ischemic stroke and heart disease. Peer-reviewed journals have published a substantial amount of material on the PLAC Test. However, it is being advised that the PLAC Test is not designed to replace traditional risk assessment markers. More evaluation on the PLAC Test is needed.


Brain Damage Occurs Within Three Minutes of Stroke Onset

Canadian researchers have determined that harmful changes occur in the first three minutes after a stroke.  This finding surprised scientists. Damage to the brain’s synaptic connections occurs much quicker than they expected. This study hints at the idea that even short durations of loss of blood flow can affect the brain’s synapses. These losses of blood flow can come from a variety of procedures like bypass surgery or TIAs (transient ischemic attacks), or mini-strokes.

Scientists did confirm, however, that if blood flow is restored through clot-busting drugs such as t-PA, 94 percent of all synaptic connections can recover.  Some clot-busting drugs can only be used if given within a small window of time (for t-PA: within 3 hours).


Act FAST: Call 911 When Having a Stroke

Studies are showing that people are calling their primary physician before calling 911 when having a stroke.  Some even scheduled appointments later in the day when symptoms persisted.  Stroke is a “brain attack”. For every minute that brain cells are deprived of oxygen during stroke, the likelihood of brain damage increases. When encountering stroke symptoms, Act F.A.S.T. and call 911.

F = FACE  Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A = ARM  Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S = SPEECH Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?

T = TIME   If you observe any of these signs, it’s time to call 9-1-1.



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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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