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Stroke Smart Magazine

September/October 2008

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Researchers Seek Answers about Childhood Stroke
Experts from Bristol University in England say that strokes in children may be as common as cancers. They believe that in the United Kingdom one to five children per day may have a stroke. Sadly, symptoms are often missed and treatment is often too late. The Study of Outcome of Childhood Stroke will follow children for a year after their stroke. The goals of the study are to find out more about what causes childhood strokes and how a child recovers after having a stroke.

Study Looks at Life after Stroke
A recent study by Northwestern University and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago looked at how a stroke affects survivors and the people who care for them. Early results from the Second Chances study suggest that more than 73 percent of stroke survivors are satisfied or very satisfied with their lives. The people who care for them are less satisfied and show more signs of depression. The study also shows that men and women may have different ideas about life after stroke. Strokes likely impact women more and affect more areas of their lives. Look for full results of the study in late 2008. Go to http://www.secondcancesstudy.com/ for more information.

Positive Outlook May Help Recovery
The idea that positive thinking leads to better health is not new. But until recently, little was known about how such thinking could help stroke survivors recover. In a new study, survivors with positive outlooks functioned better than those with negative outlooks. Three months after leaving the hospital, the optimists required less help with daily activities and had a higher quality of life. Researchers concluded that survivors who accept recovery as a challenge likely will have more success than those who have no hope.

Factors for Stroke Recurrence after TIA or Minor Stroke Identified
Researchers from the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, studied the causes of recurrent stroke after a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or minor stroke. They identified several factors related to stroke recurrence within 90 days, including severe symptomatic arterial disease, weakness, speech problems, previous TIA, severe alcohol intake, and heart failure. This information should be useful in identifying survivors with a higher risk of 90-day recurrence after a minor stroke or TIA.

Brain ‘Waves’ May Cause More Damage
After a stroke, unaffected areas of the brain may still be at risk. This is because depolarization waves arise at the edges of the dead tissue and move through the brain. If these waves are repeated, more cells die. This was first seen in humans in a recent study at the university hospitals of Heidelberg and Cologne and the Max Planck Institute of Neurological Research in Cologne (all in Germany). Researchers are now interested in what can be done to stop these waves to prevent further damage.

Preventing Depression after Stroke
Depression among stroke survivors is not unusual. This depression can slow recovery and increase risk of death. New research from the Duke University Medical Center suggests that antidepressants or problem-solving therapy in the first year after a stroke can help. However, the study questions whether or not patients should be treated preventively, before there are symptoms of depression. The researchers argue that most depression cases are missed by doctors, and patients who are truly depressed may not receive the care they need. The results support the idea of treating stroke survivors with antidepressants or problem-solving therapy after their stroke to prevent depression.

Stink Bomb Gas May Buy Time
Tests on mice and rats have shown that hydrogen sulfide, the gas that gives stink bombs their name, may be able to help stroke survivors. Usually thought of as a poison, this gas has been shown in tests to protect against internal bleeding a benefit that could buy more time for stroke survivors. While the results are promising, researchers have not yet used the gas on humans. More research needs to be done.

Hip Hop Stroke™ Recognized in California
Hip Hop Stroke™, National Stroke Association’s youth education program, was highlighted as a model program for awareness and prevention in the California Department of Health’s Master Plan for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention and Treatment 2007-2015.

Stroke 'Buckle' in South Is Mystery to Researchers
New research from the University of Florida found that residents and visitors in areas near the North and South Carolina and Georgia coasts may have a 10-percent greater chance of dying from a stroke than people in other states. And, residents who leave the area for a short time reduce their chances of stroke death. Researchers are not sure what increases the risk. They have ruled out the usual reasons and think it is likely a mixture of factors related to the region. While more research is needed, researchers do not want to scare people away from the area.


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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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