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Stroke Research and News

Music aids in stroke recovery
In a recent study, cognitive recovery and mood was better in patients who listened to music for an hour per day after a stroke than in patients who did not listen to anything or in those who listened to audio books. Study patients were in the acute recovery phase of a middle cerebral artery stroke. MedPage Today/Brain 2008

Many research studies have found a link between music lessons, or just listening to music, and enhanced components of human intelligence. Read more about the benefits of music on brain function:

A new surgical technique of induced hypothermia could dramatically cut the number of deaths due to stroke and head trauma
Gary K. Steinberg, M.D., Ph.D., head of neurosurgery at Stanford University medical center, is one of a few neurosurgeons in the United States who induce mild hypothermia before brain surgery. Dr. Steinberg has been testing the procedure for a 12 years and has been successful using his techniques. Although historically this has been somewhat controversial, several recent scientific and medical articles have described the usefulness of induced hypothermia (cooling), which is designed to protect endangered cells, prevent tissue death and preserve organ function following acute events associated with severe oxygen deprivation such as stroke or cardiac arrest. The American Heart Association recently recommended induced mild hypothermia to minimize brain damage after cardiac arrest. Stanford /MSN Health & Fitness May 2007

The first few hours after an ischemic stroke are critical in preserving healthy brain function
Learn to recognize the warning signs of a stroke and act quickly from the American Stroke Association April 2007

Botox Injections Ease Muscle Spasms Due to Stroke
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center has opened a clinic that will use Botox to treat tight muscles that almost a third of stroke patients experience. Wake Forest Univ. Baptist Medical Ctr November 2006

Most people with new stroke symptoms don't realize what is happening or understand the urgency of getting immediate medical care
In a recent study by Mayo Clinic researchers, a majority of highly educated and medically sophisticated patients were largely unaware they were having an acute ischemic stroke and urgently needed immediate medical care. The Mayo researchers wanted to understand why stroke patients were showing up in the emergency room too late to receive treatment that could lessen the consequences of an acute ischemic stroke. The American Stroke Association spent $162-million on a public awareness campaign launched in 2003 to get the word out that speed could lessen the consequences of an ischemic stroke, yet people continue to seek medical care long after the symptoms begin.

Acute ischemic stroke is an emergency and immediate medical attention should be sought at the nearest emergency department. Everyone should know the warning signs of stroke: sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; and sudden, severe headache with no known cause. MedPage Today October 2006

Lack of blood flow to the brain might trigger hallucinations of seeing ghosts
In a recent presentation at the American Neurological Association, researchers discussed case studies of people who had described ghostly experiences. In the case of a 60-year-old man who described frequent and vivid visual hallucinations of ghosts, both in the daytime and at night, an MRI revealed atrophy of the brain and a computer-assisted tomography scan detected decreased blood flow in the various regions of the brain. The researchers speculated that it was possible that the lack of blood flow and the atrophy of these brain areas somehow was triggering these 'ghostly' appearances".

The researchers suggested that if patients relate these vivid 'ghost' stories, a neurological workup including scanning studies are warranted. "We should take these cases seriously and not just dismiss them as unimportant hallucinations if we see no other outward signs that could have caused these visions," the researchers commented. MedPage Today October 2006

Study: Stroke may trigger memory loss
Stroke may impair memory without necessarily causing dementia or other cognitive impairment according to a report from Columbia University researchers. Findings from a study of 1300 people, just over 76 years of age, suggest that stroke increases the risk of cognitive decline. The researchers speculated that stroke may cause memory problems by damaging or destroying certain areas of the brain or by triggering the deposit of materials that form brain plaques associated with Alzheimer's disease. Archives of Neurology April 2006

Symptoms of TIA often warn of impending stroke There is a high risk of stroke after a transient ischemic attack (TIA) yet there is a widespread lack of public awareness that a TIA is a medical emergency. In a recent study from Oxford, England, researchers found nearly half of those experiencing a TIA delayed seeking medical help, even when they recognized the symptoms. Stroke To read about the symptoms of a TIA and stroke click here. March 2006

Read more: Causes, Pathology, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention of Stroke
--Written by N Thompson, ARNP, Last updated February 2008

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