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You are here : 3-RX.com > Home > Stroke



“Silent” heart attack boosts dementia risk

Heart • • Psychiatry / Psychology • • StrokeMay 28 08

Men who are found to have had an unrecognized or “silent” heart attack are at increased risk of developing dementia or small lesions in the brain that can affect cognition, Dutch researchers report.

Dr. Monique M. B. Breteler told Reuters Health that her group had previously found that men, but not women, with a silent heart attack are more likely to have a stroke than men who had a recognized heart attack or those who had not had any heart attack.

To examine whether this might also be the case for dementia and so-called cerebral small vessel disease, Breteler of Erasmus University, Rotterdam, and her colleagues examined data for more than 6300 participants in a population-based study.

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Human touch helps stroke survivors regain mobility

StrokeMay 13 08

Six months after a stroke, survivors who are able to walk but still have moderate-to-severe difficulty in doing so, make better progress in their walking ability through physical therapist-assisted training than training provided by a robotic device, according to report published in the medical journal Stroke.

“We wanted to know whether using a robotic device that guides the limb in a symmetrical walking pattern would facilitate greater improvements in walking speed and symmetry than more traditional walking interventions with a physical therapist,” lead author Dr. T. George Hornby said in an American Heart Association news release.

Hornby and colleagues at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago evaluated 48 stroke patients who had been partially paralyzed on one side of the body for more than 6 months. All of the patients participated in 12 sessions of 30-minute therapy on a treadmill while wearing a harness to support their body weight.

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Alzheimer Disease Risks Are Gender Specific

Depression • • Neurology • • Psychiatry / Psychology • • StrokeMay 01 08

The risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease differ between the sexes, with stroke in men, and depression in women, critical factors, suggests research published ahead of print in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

The French researchers base their findings on almost 7000 people over the age of 65, drawn from the general population in three French cities.

None had dementia, but around four out of 10 were deemed to have mildly impaired mental agility (mild cognitive impairment) at the start of the study.

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Higher wealth linked to lower stroke risk from age 50 to 64

StrokeApr 25 08

Higher wealth is linked with a lower risk of stroke in Americans between the ages of 50 and 64, but does not predict strokes in those over age 65, researchers reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

“We confirmed that lower wealth, education and income are associated with increased stroke up to age 65, and wealth is the strongest predictor of stroke among the factors we looked at,” said Mauricio Avendano, Ph.D., co-author of the study. “After age 65, the association of education, income and wealth with stroke are very weak, and wealth did not clearly predict stroke.”

This is the first study assessing the age patterns of wealth, income and education disparities in stroke incidence in a national sample of older Americans. It’s also the first study reporting that wealth status predicts stroke incidence independently of income and education, said Avendano, a research fellow in public health at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

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Women More Likely to Comply with Stroke Prevention Despite Being More Depressed

Depression • • StrokeApr 17 08

After a stroke, women are more likely to become depressed than men, but despite being depressed, women are more likely than men to take stroke medications, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 60th Anniversary Annual Meeting in Chicago, April 12–19, 2008.

The study involved 491 stroke survivors who were all prescribed drugs prior to hospital discharge aimed at preventing a second stroke by lowering cholesterol, reducing high blood pressure and preventing blood clots. Three months later, researchers evaluated the participants’ level of depression, quality of life, and whether they were still taking the stroke prevention drugs. A total of 385 people, or 78 percent, were still taking their medications after three months.

Nineteen percent of women reported feelings of depression, compared to 10 percent of men. Thirty percent of women reported sleep problems, compared to 22 percent of men. But the men who kept taking their drugs reported a better overall quality of life than women who stuck with their medications.

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“Give Me 5” stroke awareness campaign launched

Neurology • • StrokeMar 26 08

Actress Morgan Fairchild has teamed up with the American Academy of Neurology, the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American Stroke Association to launch a new campaign designed to raise awareness about the early warning signs of stroke and the critical importance of early treatment.

“With stroke, every minute counts,” said Fairchild, who cared for her mother who suffered a series of debilitating strokes until her death in 1999.

Recognizing that you or someone you are with is having a stroke as soon as symptoms appear can “make the difference between life and death,” added Dr. Ralph Sacco, member of the American Academy of Neurology.

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Few options for stroke victims; research continues

Drug News • • StrokeMar 20 08

More than a decade after the launch of clot-buster Activase, the Genentech Inc drug remains the only option for stroke victims despite high-profile research aimed at improving the odds of recovery from the No. 3 cause of death in the United States.

Since most stroke patients are unable to quickly recognize their symptoms, just a small percentage end up being treated with Activase, an intravenous drug approved for use only within three hours of the onset of a stroke.

Drug companies have sought to widen that treatment window and develop medicines that would protect the brain from damage caused by a stroke, but the field is littered with failures.

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Vegan diet may help ease rheumatoid arthritis

Arthritis • • Heart • • StrokeMar 19 08

A gluten-free vegan diet full of nuts, sunflower seeds, fruit and vegetables appears to offer protection against heart attacks and strokes for people with rheumatoid arthritis, Swedish researchers said on Tuesday.

The diet appeared to lower cholesterol and also affect the immune system, easing some symptoms associated with the painful joint condition, they said.

The study suggested diet could play an important role for people with rheumatoid arthritis who are often more prone to heart attacks, strokes and clogged arteries, said the team from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute.

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The obese may fare better after stroke: study

Obesity • • Stroke • • Weight LossMar 17 08

Obese and overweight individuals are less likely to die in the 5 years after suffering a stroke than are their normal-weight peers, a new study shows.

In the study, researchers analyzed data from 21,884 stroke patients in Denmark who had their body mass index (BMI) determined. BMI is an accepted means of determining how fat or thin a person is.

The patients were placed into one of five BMI groups: underweight (BMI < 18.5), normal weight (18.5 to 24.9), overweight (25.0 to 29.9), obese (30.0 to 34.9), and severely obese (35 and greater) and were followed for up to 5 years after their stroke.

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Magnesium associated with lower risk for some strokes in male smokers

StrokeMar 11 08

Male smokers who consume more magnesium appear to have a lower risk for cerebral infarction, a type of stroke that occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked, according to a report in the March 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Recent studies indicate that changes in diet may help prevent stroke, according to background information in the article. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a risk factor for stroke; therefore, dietary measures that reduce blood pressure may in turn affect stroke risk. Consuming more magnesium, calcium and potassium has been associated with lower blood pressure in previous studies, while sodium has been positively associated with hypertension.

Susanna C. Larsson, Ph.D., of the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues analyzed the diets of 26,556 Finnish male smokers age 50 to 69 years who had not previously had strokes. In addition to the types of food they ate, the men reported other characteristics including medical, smoking and physical activity histories. Their height, weight and blood pressure were recorded, and a blood sample was taken.

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Virtual reality and computer technology improve stroke rehabilitation

StrokeMar 10 08

Israeli hospitals have recently started to use virtual reality therapy for stroke patients. One commonly used program has the patient watch his virtual image on a screen. For example, tennis balls are virtually thrown at the patient from all directions and the patients’ actual hand motions are recorded on screen. In the first stage of development of this new program, computer scientists Dr. Larry Manevitz of the University of Haifa, together with Dr. Uri Feintuch, a neuroscientist from Hebrew University and a research fellow at the Haifa’s Caesarea Rothschild Institute for Interdisciplinary Applications of Computer Science, and Eugene Mednikov, a computer science graduate student, fed video sessions of this virtual reality therapy into their newly developed program. With the new program, the computer “learned” to differentiate between different types of brain injuries: cerebrovascular accident (CVA) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). During further testing, the computer was able to accurately diagnose, between 90%-98% of the time, whether the patient was healthy, or had suffered a traumatic brain injury or a stroke.

Diagnosis, says Dr. Manevitz, is the most basic part of treatment – any doctor and many healthcare workers can correctly diagnose severe brain injuries. While this study is an important advance in the field of computer science, it will not directly help society.

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Strong link between smoking and stroke in Chinese men

Stroke • • Tobacco & MarijuanaMar 08 08

One in seven strokes among Chinese men is due to cigarette smoking, researchers in China and the United States said citing a large-scale study that identified the habit as a major risk factor.

Stroke is the second leading cause of death and the top cause of long-term disability worldwide. And in China, the world’s leading producer and consumer of cigarettes, stroke is a major public health problem, they said.

In an article published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, the researchers said prevention and kicking the smoking habit could reduce stroke deaths by almost 5 percent in the country.

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Weight loss common in stroke survivors

Stroke • • Weight LossMar 06 08

Many people lose weight after suffering a stroke, a finding that highlights the need for closer observation of nutritional status in stroke patients, the researchers say.

Loss of weight in stroke patients may be related to a variety of factors, including difficulty swallowing, depression, decreased food intake, and other neurologic deficits that contribute to eating difficulties, Dr. Ann-Cathrin Jonsson and colleagues from Lund University, Sweden, note in a report in the journal Stroke.

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Strokes more common in springtime

StrokeMar 06 08

Strokes occur more often in the spring than any other season, and the heightened risk is seen in men, women, young and old alike, new research suggests.

In a study of Japanese adults who had suffered a stroke between 1988 and 2001, researchers found that the risk of having a stroke in the spring was roughly one-quarter higher than it was in the summer.

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Mental distress may up stroke risk

Depression • • Psychiatry / Psychology • • StrokeMar 04 08

Increased psychological distress, as measured on a standardized scale, is linked to an elevated risk of having a stroke, according to a large study. By contrast, major depression, either recent or lifetime, does not increase the risk.

The results “showed that those people who reported the most psychological distress at baseline had a 40 percent increased risk of ... stroke compared to those who were least psychologically distressed,” Dr. Paul G. Surtees told Reuters Health.

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