October 2017: News from Mount Sinai, New York

A longitudinal study following patients 13 years, presents evidence that a single ischemic stroke continues to be associated with a gradual increase in disability over the long term. Stroke is traditionally seen as a discrete, monophasic event assumed to stabilize following the 3-6 month recovery period after the incident. The research did not indicate that participants who had strokes had any higher slope of increasing disability before the stroke than those who eventually do not have strokes. They further noted that stroke’s long term adverse effects leading to accelerated functional decline may be treatable. 

News from the German Stroke Foundation:

Post Stroke Depression (PSD) is experienced by about one third of all strokers usually three to six months afterwards. Symptoms include listlessness, feelings of guilt, sleep disorders and a generally gloomy mood that persists for at least two weeks. It can be caused to some extent by the effect of the stroke on the brain, but is made worse by the restrictions on the person’s lifestyle that often follow. Hormones may also play a part. It is important to know that this is treatable, usually temporary and there is a good chance of recovery.

News from University of Liverpool:

Examining a group of 915 post stroke patients, 95% of survivors had visual impairments relating to central or peripheral vision, eye movement abnormalities or visual perceptual defects.

24% had reduced clarity of vision (central visual acuity)

16% of those with a visual impairment developed a squint (ocular motility disorders)

68% had impairments in eye movement (ocular motility disorders)

52% suffered from Peripheral visual field loss

15% developed visual inattention which causes those afflicted to ignore everything on one side of their visual world


October 6, 2017: Study attributes stroke decline to prevention education

Interesting article citing a decline in strokes in Iowa of 33%. The Iowa Department of Public Health attributes this decline to more education on prevention; strengthening of stroke triage and care at the stroke centers in the state; changing EMS protocols to immediate transfer to centers with the highest level of care; and, developing and implementing a Stroke registry.

This is interesting in that it shows what comprehensive care and education can do to reduce what is primarily a preventable incident. 


September 28, 2017: This is why more and more young people are having Strokes

Although contraceptive use and smoking have both been cited, this article cites the JAMA Neurology study findings that the prevalence of having three to five stroke risk factors has more than doubled for women under 45. These include hypertension, lipid disorders – high cholesterol – diabetes, tobacco use and obesity. Older adults tend to manage these risk factors and the result I a decline in strokes in older adults. 


August 2017: Does Diet Soda raise the Risk of Stroke?

In the Harvard Heart Letter, they take a look at the reports that have been put out linking Strokes to drinking Diet Soda. Review of the studies indicate no provable cause and effect link to stroke and diet soda. In a 2012 study following 127,000 people for more than 2 decades, there was a slightly higher risk of stroke in those who drank more than one soda a day – diet or regular. However, there was no higher stroke risk from sugary beverages even though many studies have demonstrated regular dinking of sugary beverages can lead to weight gain, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

The Framingham Heart Study releases 2017 reported that people drinking at least one artificially sweetened soda a day compared with less than one a week were twice as likely to have a stroke. Explanations for this finding include survival bias which opines that people who drink sugary beverages may have died earlier from other diseases such as heart disease. Conversely, diet drinks may be linked because of a different issue called reverse causation. Overweight and diabetic patients may be more likely to choose diet drinks. The heightened stroke risk may come from those health problems.


July 7, 2017: Family Rehab proves ineffective

Interesting study in India states that even trained family members prove to be ineffective caretakers of stroke patients at home. The study looked at physiotherapy and occupational therapy at home finding that the degree of recovery or improvement in quality of life issues was not as expected.

This study supports the need for on-going professional help to recover from strokes – difficult to obtain throughout the world.


July 2, 2017: More Millennials are having Strokes

Research from the CDC indicates strokes among those 18-34 years of age have increased 34% in women and 15% in men. There is also a reported statistically significant increase for young adults in Mid-West and Western cities of over 1mm in population. (the so called “Stroke Belt” is the Southeast). In Western Cities between 2003 and 2012 strokes rose by 85% while rising 34% Mid-Western cities in the same time frame.

There appears to be not one explanation for the numbers but it is posited that obesity and inactivity along with diabetes may have greater impact in younger stroke victims. Drug usage likely plays a role as wee. Better imaging and detection does not account for all the difference – if this were the case we would see increases across all age groups when in fact the total numbers nationwide are declining. The urban bias may be influenced by the closure of many rural facilities reducing access to care. The data was also not adjusted for racial disparities – more African Americans have strokes than the general population.


June 29, 2017: The Obesity Paradox

Examining participant’s BMI in the Framington Heart Study, a comparison to those not experiencing a stroke indicated that those above a healthy bodyweight had higher survival rates from those in the normal range for bodyweight. Analysis controlled factors such as smoking, hypertension and diabetes.

This “Obesity Paradox” is reported in both CV disease and Diabetes as well as Stroke and may be the result of reverse causality – an individual’s weight may be reflective of illness or the health deteriorating effect of under nutrition in non-overweight subjects may contribute. Yet another explanation posits that imminent death may have a causal relationship to weight loss.  While obesity remains a critical risk factor for CV and metabolic disease. 

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Neuro Vitality Center

formerly the stroke recovery center