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Stroke Smart Magazine

November/December 2008

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Experts New Therapy May Help Stroke Survivors with Vision Loss
A new computer-based therapy may help stroke survivors with partial vision loss improve  their sight. Neuro-Eye Therapy was developed by scientists at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. It uses a medical device to stimulate vision in blind areas. After six months of daily therapy, patients reported improvement in sight and related benefits such as reading and moving around better. According to the researchers, the device can easily be set up at home and users do not need to know how to use a computer. To find out more about this therapy and how it might help you or someone you know, visit the university’s Sight Science Unit at www.abdn.ac.uk/sightscience/.

Popular Energy Drink May Increase Stroke Risk
Researchers in Australia have found that drinking Red Bull® may increase the risk of stroke and heart attack, even in young adults. The study found that after drinking even one can of the popular energy drink, normal people showed signs of blood vessel damage. The drink is banned in Norway, Uruguay, and Denmark because of health risks. When mixed with stress or high blood pressure, the drink may increase the risk of blood clotting and stroke. Red Bull® representatives said that they will assess the study.

Post-Stroke Clotting Treatment Okay for Patients with High Blood Pressure
According to a new report from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, stroke patients who need therapy to lower their blood pressure do not appear to be at a higher risk for poor outcomes after anti-clotting therapy. In the past, as many as 10 percent of otherwise qualified acute ischemic (clotcaused) stroke patients did not receive anti-clotting drugs. The report suggests that stroke patients needing to aggressively control high blood pressure should not automatically be excluded from the use of  clot-busting drugs. http://www.patienthealthinternational.com/archivenews/23422.aspx

Cholesterol Drugs Lower Risk of Stroke Recurrence in Elderly, Too
New research shows that stroke survivors over 65 are not as likely as younger survivors to be prescribed drugs that lower cholesterol. Yet, older survivors can benefit from these drugs,  which also have been shown to reduce stroke risk. The Wayne State University research shows that taking the drugs decreases the risk of a recurrent stroke by 10 percent in older patients.

Inexpensive Blood Thinner Could Prevent Strokes in Atrial Fibrillation Patients
Researchers from the University of Toronto have found that Coumadin® (warfarin), a blood thinner, could help prevent strokes in people with atrial fibrillation (AF), an abnormal heart beat. Stroke in AF patients is particularly severe, but few of these high-risk patients are getting this treatment, despite recommendations by the American College of Cardiology. It is suggested that wider use of Coumadin® could reduce the risk of deadly and disabling strokes by 20 percent maybe more. While Coumadin® can cause bleeding complications, some experts believe the benefits outweigh the  risks.

Metabolic Syndrome in Stroke Patients May Limit Clot Busting
Metabolic syndrome is a combination of health problems that is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Symptoms of the syndrome can include a increase waistline, high  blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, or high blood sugar. According to a new report from researchers in Barcelona, Spain, patients with metabolic syndrome may show a poor response to thrombolysis (clotbusting treatment) for middle cerebral artery ischemic strokes. Metabolic syndrome did not appear to influence how severe the initial stroke was. But, clots were harder to treat in patients with metabolic syndrome.

Less Invasive Technique Effective in  Treating Narrowing of Carotid Artery
According to two European studies, angioplasty with stenting and endarterectomy are equally effective  at treating carotid artery narrowing. Endarterectomy, a surgery to remove plaque from the artery, has historically been the standard treatment. Angioplasty with stenting, which consists of inflating a small balloon inside the artery to widen it and improve blood flow, and putting in a tube to keep it open, is newer.

In both studies each procedure helped restore blood flow to the carotid artery (the neck artery that carries blood to the brain), and helped prevent ispilateral stroke (a stroke that occurs on the same side as the blocked carotid artery), for up to four years after the procedure. Both studies recommend angioplasty with stenting. It is less invasive than endarterectomy, does not require general anesthesia, and requires a shorter hospital stay. It should be noted that the risk of stroke and death in the 30 days after stenting may be higher than after endarterectomy. But, more careful selection of patients for the stenting treatment may lower this risk.


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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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