Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscar Kirk Douglas Survivor Stroke

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Carl McIntyre and Aphasia

Aphasia - Best Short Film Audience Award

Scientists still trying to learn how the brain repairs itself

NEW YORK — — Compared to a sleek new laptop, that three-pound mass of fatty tissue called the brain may not look like much. But when it's injured, it adapts and rewires its circuits in new ways.

That's the kind of flexibility that doctors and rehabilitation specialists hope to encourage in Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona congresswoman who was shot in the head Jan. 8 in Tucson.

Details about her recovery have been thin. But members of her staff say she recently began speaking for the first time since the attack. Brain injury patients who regain speech typically begin to do that about four to six weeks after the injury, experts say.

Still, recovery for the 40-year-old Giffords will be a long journey, as it is for anyone with a significant brain injury. Patients can make remarkable progress. But experts caution that they shouldn't expect to be exactly the same.

It's too early to say whether Giffords might be able to return to her job in Congress. Most people with such injuries have some impairment for the rest of their lives.

Scientists are still unraveling just how the brain works to recover from traumatic injury and how to help it repair as much as possible.

They're dealing with an organ about the consistency of cold porridge. It contains maybe 100 billion densely packed nerve cells, each of which is connected to 1,000 or so other nerve cells, called neurons. Those connections form circuits that are the foundation of the brain's activity.

Brain injuries can disrupt that in several ways. A car accident can smash a head, stretching and tearing brain tissue across a wide area. A bullet causes more localized damage, but the impact can also damage neuron connections farther away.

Either way, brain injury produces an "utter quagmire" of disruptions in brain functioning that doctors have only blunt tools to fix, said Dr. Jonathan Fellus, director of the brain injury program at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, N.J.

What all this disruption means to the patient depends on what brain circuits have been affected. People might have trouble reasoning, finding words, remembering things, organizing priorities, recognizing faces, understanding what's said to them, or doing multiple things at once.

So how can the brain get better?

In some cases, brain cells that were impaired but not killed by the initial injury get back on track. Also, the brain's wiring is not fixed. In response to an injury, neurons can alter their patterns of connections.

Monday, February 14, 2011

CBS Reporter Serene Branson Appears to Have Stroke on Live TV

The video was difficult and upsetting to watch. As Serene Branson, a young and healthy-looking CBS Los Angeles reporter, delivered a live report from the red carpet of the Grammy awards Sunday night, her speech suddenly became slurred and incomprehensible. She appeared increasingly worried and aware that something was wrong while she was on the air.
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Mike Nelson,a CBS spokesman, gave the following statement: "Serene Branson was examined by paramedics on scene immediately after her broadcast. Her vital signs were normal. She was not hospitalized. As a precautionary measure, a colleague gave her a ride home and she says that she is feeling fine this morning."

But after watching the clip, several doctors said that Sunday night's events caught on tape should not be taken lightly.Next.....

Friday, February 11, 2011

Stroke risk among Mexican Americans could rise dramatically in coming years

Mexican Americans may be at increasing risk for stroke in the coming decades, finds a new study presented at the American Stroke Assn.'s International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles this week.
By 2050, strokes (from bleeding and blood cots) among Mexican Americans could increase by 350%, from 26,000 cases in 2010 to more than 120,000 in 2050. Researchers used data from the Brain Attack Surveillance in Corpus Christi Project from 2010 to 2008 and information from the U.S. census to predict figures for future years. The BASIC Project is an ongoing Texas study looking at stroke rates among Mexican Americans and non-Latino whites.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that stroke has dropped to fourth place as a leading cause of death, stroke cases among non-Latino whites is predicted to increase from about 300,000 cases in 2010 to more than 500,000 in 2050.
"Efforts to prevent stroke and reduce stroke-related disability in both Mexican-Americans and non-Hispanic whites are critical," said study co-author Lynda D. Lisabeth, of the University of Michigan, in a news release. "Lifestyle changes can reduce one's risk for stroke.... Further study of stroke in Mexican-Americans may clarify new intervention targets. Our group is currently targeting stroke prevention through Catholic churches, which might be a novel setting for successful intervention in Mexican-Americans."