I normally don’t ask for anything from tumblr, but My mom had a stroke and broke her leg in the shower. and the rehab center kicked her out and changed us for the stay when they realized our insurance would only cover 20 days. Worst part is they didn’t let us know until after it was too late.
So we are just asking for a bit of help to pay off the rehab center. We aren’t asking for a lot, just to cover the few extra days she had to spend there when we were getting everything set up for her being home.
In 2012, when she was 13, Georgia Schafer suffered from a Spinal Infarction, a stroke in the spinal chord.
She has been involved in ATA, the American Taekwondo Association, for six years, and this year has qualified for World Championships in Little Rock, Arkansas in the special abilities category. This being said, she has the opportunity as a fifteen year old girl to become a world champion, and therefore the first with that ranking out of our academy.
Unfortunately, due to limited funding, Georgia and her family cannot afford to travel from Western Pennsylvania, where we live, to Little Rock where the tournament is held.
We are hoping with some help, we will be able to raise the money needed. We also plan to fundraise at various churches and business in our area, but any donation you make would go a long way.
Even if you cannot donate, reblogging to spread awareness would be greatly appreciated!
We’ve all heard that an aspirin a day can keep heart disease at bay. But lots of Americans seem to be taking it as a preventive measure, when many probably shouldn’t.
In a recent national survey, more than half the adults who were middle age or older reported taking an aspirin regularly to prevent a heart attack or stroke. The Food and Drug Administration only recommends the drug for people who’ve already experienced such an event, or who are at extremely high risk.
However, many of the people taking aspirin daily have never had a heart attack or stroke.
Having a stroke ages a person’s brain function by almost eight years,
new research finds – robbing them of memory and thinking speed as
measured on cognitive tests.
In both black and white patients, having had a stroke meant that
their score on a 27-item test of memory and thinking speed had dropped
as much as it would have if they had aged 7.9 years overnight.
For the study, data from more than 4,900 black and white seniors over
the age of 65 was analyzed by a team from the University of Michigan
U-M Medical School and School of Public Health and the VA Center for
Clinical Management Research. The results will be published in the July issue of Stroke and are available online.
Researchers married two sources of information for their analysis:
detailed surveys and tests of memory and thinking speed over multiple
years from participants in a large, national study of older Americans,
and Medicare data from the same individuals.
They zeroed in on the 7.5 percent of black study participants, and
the 6.7 percent of white participants, who had no recent history of
stroke, dementia or other cognitive issues, but who suffered a
documented stroke within 12 years of their first survey and cognitive
test in 1998.
By measuring participants’ changes in cognitive test scores over time
from 1998 to 2012, the researchers could see that both blacks and
whites did significantly worse on the test after their stroke than they
Although the size of the effect was the same among blacks and whites,
past research has shown that the rates of cognitive problems in older
blacks are generally twice that of non-Hispanic whites. So the new
results mean that stroke doesn’t account for the mysterious differences
in memory and cognition that grow along racial lines as people age.
The researchers say the findings underscore the importance of stroke prevention.
“As we search for the key drivers of the known disparities in
cognitive decline between blacks and whites, we focus here on the role
of ‘health shocks’ such as stroke,” says lead author and U-M Medical
School assistant professor Deborah Levine, M.D., MPH. “Although we found
that stroke does not explain the difference, these results show the
amount of cognitive aging that stroke brings on, and therefore the
importance of stroke prevention to reduce the risk of cognitive
Other research on disparities in cognitive decline has focused on
racial differences in socioeconomic status, education, and vascular risk
factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking that can all
contribute to stroke risk. These factors may explain some but not all of
the racial differences in cognitive decline.
Levine and her colleagues note that certain factors – such as how
many years a person has vascular risk factors, and the quality of his or
her education, as well as genetic and biological factors – might play a
role in racial differences in long-term cognitive performance.
But one thing is clear: strokes have serious consequences for brain
function. On average, they rob the brain of eight years of cognitive
health. Therefore, people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds can
benefit from taking steps to reduce their risk of a stroke. That
includes controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, stopping or
avoiding smoking, controlling blood sugar in diabetes, and being active
even in older age.
The Blind Woman Who Sees Rain, But Not Her Daughter’s Smile
Imagine a world that is completely black. You can’t see a thing — unless something happens to move. You can see the rain falling from the sky, the steam coming from your coffee cup, a car passing by on the street.This was the world that Milena Channing claimed to see, back in 2000, shortly after she was blinded by a stroke at 29 years old. But when she told her doctors about these strange apparitions, they looked at her brain scans (the stroke had destroyed basically her entire primary visual cortex, the receiving station of visual information to the brain), and told her she must be hallucinating.
“You’re blind and that’s it,” Channing remembers them saying to her.
Frustrated and convinced these visions were real, Channing made her way from doctor to doctor until she finally found one who believed her: Dr. Gordon Dutton, an ophthalmologist in Glasgow. He told her he’d once read about such a case — a soldier in World War I who, after a bullet injury to the head, could only see things in motion.
Here’s why: If this is about motion, only being able to see things in motion, she’d be able to see the stationary world, at least a little, if she herself started moving.
It helped. In the weeks and months after her visit (after employing other techniques like shaking her head), Channing began to see the world more vividly. And when she finally visited a team of neuroscientists in Canada (five years after her stroke), they filled in the picture. It turns out that one area of her brain ’s cortex — an area reserved specifically for processing motion (visual area MT, for middle temporal area) — had been preserved. So even though information wasn’t going through the primary visual cortex, somehow it was still getting out to the part of the brain that can register objects in motion.
Cue the cars. And the rain. And the coffee steam. Channing was truly seeing them.
But here’s the catch. Though this compartmentalized nature of vision may have been Channing’s blessing, it’s also proving to be a quiet curse. Just as there seems to be an area of the brain that processes motion, there is one for faces; and as much as Channing’s vision continues to improve, she still can’t recognize — even perceive — a face.
Channing says that every now and then, that hard boundary of what she can and can’t see frustrates her. “Who does she look like?” Channing wonders, as she gazes straight at her daughter’s face.
For an artist’s rendition of Milena Channing’s world, watch the video above, which also explains a bit more about the modular nature of vision.
Stroke is the leading cause of severe long-term disability in the
United States, and less than 40 percent of patients who experience the
most severe form of stroke regain functional independence if they
receive the standard drug intervention alone. Now a study by an
international group of stroke physician-researchers has found that
removal of the clot causing a severe stroke, in combination with the
standard medication, improves the restoration of blood flow to the brain
and may result in better long term outcomes.
The findings of the Swift Prime trial (Solitaire With the Intention
For Thrombectomy as PRIMary Endovascular treatment) were reported April
17 in the online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine and are scheduled to be published in the journal’s June 11 print edition.
“These findings are a game-changer for how we should treat certain types of stroke,” says Demetrius Lopes, MD, surgical director of the comprehensive stroke center at Rush
and a co-author of the study. “These outcomes are the difference
between patients being able to care for themselves after stroke and
Rush was one of the 39 centers in the U.S. and Europe that participated in the Swift Prime trial.
Out, damned clot!
More than 795,000 people have a stroke
each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. About 87 percent of these incidents are ischemic strokes,
which result from clots in vessels supplying blood to the brain.
The standard treatment for ischemic stroke within the first three to
four and a half hours of symptoms is intravenous tissue plasminogen
activator (IV tPA), a medication which dissolves the clot. However in
the approximately 20 percent of cases in which one of the major arteries
is blocked, resulting in a severe stroke, IV tPA alone may not be
sufficient to dissolve the clot. If a patient experiencing a severe
stroke is brought to a qualified hospital in time, doctors also may be
able to perform a minimally invasive procedure called thrombectomy to
remove the clot.
During thrombectomy, a neurovascular surgeon threads a catheter
through an incision in the patient’s groin, snaking it through the blood
vessels and into the brain. The doctor then uses a device attached to
the catheter to grab and dislodge the clot and pull it all the way out
through the incision, a bit like an angler reeling in a fish.
One more out of every four
The Swift Prime study randomly divided patients with severe ischemic
strokes into two groups, one receiving IV tPA alone, and the other
receiving combination therapy of IV tPA and thrombectomy within six
hours of the onset of stroke symptoms. (IV tPA currently is the only
treatment for ischemic stroke approved by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration, but the use of thrombectomy is allowed in clinical
trials.) In all, 196 patients — 98 in each group — at 39 centers in the
U.S. and Canada participated in the study between December 2012 and
The researchers assessed each patient’s level of disability after 90
days using a standardized measurement. The study found that the patients
who received IV tPA plus thrombectomy exhibited reduced disability
across the entire range of the measurement, with a functional
independence rate of 60 percent compared to 35.5 percent for those
patients who received only IV tPA.
“For every 2.6 patients treated, one additional patient had an
improved disability outcome; for every four patients treated, one
additional patient was independent at 90 day follow-up,” the New England Journal of Medicine article declares.
The study also found that patients who received thrombectomy had
better cerebral blood flow rates: At 27 hours after treatment, 82.8
percent of those patients had blood flow that was 90 percent of normal
or better, versus 40.4 percent of patients who only received IV tPA. The
study’s findings depart from three previous trials that did not find
thrombectomy provided greater benefits than IV tPA alone. “The Swift
Prime trial used better technology, better imaging and quicker
intervention, and we obtained a different result,” Lopes says.
In fact, Swift Prime was one of four recent worldwide studies that
evaluated newer thombectomy devices and techniques. The result of the
first study, reported in the New England Journal in December, found such
strong evidence of the benefit of thrombectomy that the other trials
“Ethically, we can’t deny patients a treatment when we have such
strong evidence it’s better for them,” Lopes says. At Rush and other
study locations, thrombectomy now is a standard treatment within the
first few hours for patients with severe strokes.
‘Time equals brain’
However, time remains crucial in stroke treatment. For every minute
that a stroke is untreated, a patient loses 1.9 million brain cells and
14 billion connections between brain cells – a phenomenon underlying the
stroke awareness adage “time equals brain.”
“The majority of the positive results of these trials were found in
patients treated within four hours, six hours tops,” observes James Connors, MD, medical director of the Rush comprehensive stroke center.
Of all the participating sites in the Swift Prime trial, Rush was
found to provide the fastest times from patient arrival to insertion of
the catheter and from initiation of the procedure to restoration of
blood flow, both of which are critically important to improving
The Rush stroke team also was recognized for having the best workflow
among a larger group of 203 sites in the U.S., Europe, Canada and
Australia that participated in Swift Prime and two other affiliated
stroke studies. Workflow refers to the coordination of the stroke team –
including emergency medicine personnel, neurologists, neurosurgeons and
neurointensive care specialists – to provide quick treatment.
Time for a change
Lopes and Conners believe the results of these studies demonstrate
the need for a different approach to stroke care. Conners notes that
nationwide, the average usage of IV tPA in U.S. stroke cases is only
about five percent. “It’s far below where we need to be,” he says.
He believes that educating people to recognize signs of stroke and
call 911, and taking steps to make sure they’re taken to the right
facility, would improve usage to 50 percent. “We’re constantly working
with the city’s Emergency Medical Services division and the emergency
department at Rush to get the stroke recognized and treated as soon as
possible,” Conners says.
Lopes points out that Rush currently is one of only a few hospitals
in Chicago that can perform thrombectomy. “Many of the stroke patients
who could benefit from it can’t be brought here in time,” he says. “We
need to make the treatment standard.”
In addition, Lopes feels that paramedics need additional training and
equipment that would enable them to screen stroke patients in the field
and determine which ones would benefit from thrombectomy.
“Rush is doing great from getting our patients from the door of the
hospital to fixing the problem,” he says. “We can do even better as a
city if we can get patients who need thrombectomy even faster to the
hospitals that can provide that care.”
Long-Term Exposure to Air Pollution May Pose Risk to Brain Structure, Cognitive Functions
Air pollution, even at moderate levels, has long been recognized as a
factor in raising the risk of stroke. A new study led by scientists
from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Boston University School
of Medicine suggests that long-term exposure can cause damage to brain
structures and impair cognitive function in middle-aged and older
Writing in the May 2015 issue of Stroke, researchers who
studied more than 900 participants of the Framingham Heart Study found
evidence of smaller brain structure and of covert brain infarcts, a type
of “silent” ischemic stroke resulting from a blockage in the blood
vessels supplying the brain.
The study evaluated how far participants lived from major roadways
and used satellite imagery to assess prolonged exposure to ambient fine
particulate matter, particles with a diameter of 2.5 millionth of a
meter, referred to as PM2.5.
These particles come from a variety of sources, including power
plants, factories, trucks and automobiles and the burning of wood. They
can travel deeply into the lungs and have been associated in other
studies with increased numbers of hospital admissions for cardiovascular
events such as heart attacks and strokes.
“This is one of the first studies to look at the relationship between
ambient air pollution and brain structure,” says Elissa Wilker, ScD, a
researcher in the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at Beth
Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “Our findings suggest that air
pollution is associated with insidious effects on structural brain
aging, even in dementia- and stroke-free individuals.”
Study participants were at least 60 years old and were free of
dementia and stroke. The evaluation included total cerebral brain
volume, a marker of age-associated brain atrophy; hippocampal volume,
which reflect changes in the area of the brain that controls memory;
white matter hyperintensity volume, which can be used as a measure of
pathology and aging; and covert brain infarcts.
The study found that an increase of only 2µg per cubic meter in
PM2.5, a range commonly observed across metropolitan regions in New
England and New York, was associated with being more likely to have
covert brain infarcts and smaller cerebral brain volume, equivalent to
approximately one year of brain aging.
“These results are an important step in helping us learn what is
going on in the brain,” Wilker says. “The mechanisms through which air
pollution may affect brain aging remain unclear, but systemic
inflammation resulting from the deposit of fine particles in the lungs
is likely important.”
“This study shows that for a 2 microgram per cubic meter of air (μg/m3)
increase in PM2.5, a range commonly observed across major US cities, on
average participants who lived in more polluted areas had the brain
volume of someone a year older than participants who lived in less
polluted areas. They also had a 46 percent higher risk of silent strokes
on MRI,” said Sudha Seshadri, MD, a Professor of Neurology at Boston
University School of Medicine and Senior Investigator, the Framingham
“This is concerning since we know that silent strokes increase the
risk of overt strokes and of developing dementia, walking problems and
depression. We now plan to look at more the impact of air pollution over
a longer period, its effect on more sensitive MRI measures, on brain
shrinkage over time, and other risks including of stroke and dementia.”
An ischemic stroke happens when a blood vessel (artery) supplying blood to an area of the brain becomes blocked by a blood clot. About 80 out of 100 strokes are ischemic strokes. A hemorrhagic stroke happens when an artery in the brain leaks or bursts (ruptures). (Source)