MAY 2019 BLOG​

MAY BLOG As we get nearer to making major moves to accommodate more people who need our help in our Center, we can’t help but cling to a little nostalgia. A charity with a 40-year history of providing free care, a safe environment of caring, a home for those who are abandoned to struggle with their disabilities on their own or without burdening their family is taking a major step in a new direction. We hope to advance the care given to our patients, providing more medical and social service support than ever before.  While our current program has been focused on rehabilitation, our new programs will focus on coping skills and bringing joy to life while bringing the same determination to other ailments we have supported in stroke recovery. The principals we believe it – never give up, never give in…..are watchwords for everyone whatever ailment  or ailments they are battling. And battling we are.. As we learn more and more about the problems involving memory loss and dementia, it will be interesting to discover if the principles we have adhered to will prove to be effective in helping those who are seeing the decline of their cognitive skills not related to Stroke or PD or tumors. In our world, we want to have pill to take to fix the problem, but so far there is not one in sight. The opportunity we have is great since we will be bringing together a group of people, offering a unique environment, a rehabilitation attitude, and will be able to measure outcomes. We will then be able to compare these outcomes to other types of programs that exist in other areas to determine the efficacy of our programs and hopefully, influence the long term care of those with dementia is a positive way. We have been unable to do this with stroke/TBI because we were and are the only organization of its kind in the country and therefore have had no comparison group. All of our comparisons have been to societal norms and therefore the results have been soft. It is exciting to us to venture forward on this new track with the goal in mind to make a difference – a measurable difference. As we get closer to a grand reopening, watch this space for updates. We will provide details of services available, new hours and introduce new staff as we grow and expand. More to come…….​


Neurology Times In a special report the Neurology Times offers some updates on TBI:Although TBI in athletes receives the bulk of the attention, this condition effects other populations as well. Elderly patients in particular, may have unrecognized clinical effects of TBI with symptoms that can be mistaken for other conditions occurring at the same time. For example, dementia and TBI can produce similar physical, cognitive and emotional responses, making it difficult to know if the patient with dementia has developed consequences of head trauma. Added to that, dementia may predispose to the types of trauma that induce TBI in elderly adults.There is an increased predisposition to suicide among TBI survivors. While it is believed that counselling along with medical management of symptoms such as pain and depression, may diminish the risk of suicide patients, family and the health care team need to be on the lookout for what are as yet very ill defined clues of suicidal intensions. Additionally, the risk of suicide can linger for many years. There is research being done to test the efficacy of supplements, particularly vitamins D and E as well as magnesium to see if they might mitigate the inflammation and oxidative damage incurred during and after TBI.These foci lend a sense of legitimacy to what may be vague clinical symptoms and will encourage treatment.  Brain Trust – Canada Supporting the importance of group counselling, the Brain trust Canada provides the opportunity to share and reflect with peers in a way that is safe and accepting. Patients may often experience impaired self-awareness as a result of damage to the pre-frontal cortex or frontal lobe where higher learning takes place in the brain. This damage can limit one’s ability to perceive themselves objectively and understand their abilities and limitations. Sharing with peers seems to help in gaining positive steps forward to increase confidence and stop self-defeating patterns of behavior.


MUSC Health Florence Medical Center May is stroke awareness month. There is a lot of information on prevention, receiving quick treatment and discussion of symptoms. This article expands the better known FAST mnemonic to BE FAST.  The B stands for balance loss and the E stands for eyesight loss. The goal is to help people seek medical attention faster if they are experiencing stroke like symptoms. ​


Next Avenue In an article that looks at the progress made in the last ten years in treatments for Alzheimer’s, it is noted that progress has not been recorded. According to thoughts of many, the lack of funding forced researchers to concentrate all their efforts on what was thought to be the best theory of Alzheimer’s which was that a build-up of beta-amyloid plaques and tangles are the main brain changes in the disease. Efforts to find drugs to combat these plaques has not proven and in fact, companies are pulling back drug development. There is some concentration on lifestyle changes as a means of prevention and a whole host of theories are being looked at for possible testing as funding is increasing. All this while the rate of dementia deaths has more than doubled in the past decade. The ConversationAlzheimer’s disease: have we got the cause all wrong?The dominant theory of the cause of Alzheimer’s has rested on beta-amyloid plaque. The clumping together somehow damages the nerve cells in the brain which leads to memory loss and other symptoms. The approach should be straightforward – stop the clumping and you will halt the disease. Unfortunately, this approach has not worked. While drugs have cleared the plaques, the disease has not been eliminated.In an interesting twist, even while few neuroscientists still subscribe to the view that it’s the beta-amyloid Alzheimer’s disease, at a recent UK conference there was near universal agreement that it is time to separate the concept of Alzheimer’s disease from dementia.  The idea that plaques may exist but that it may not necessarily lead to dementia merely serves to confuse rather than enlighten.Journal of the American Medical AssociationResults of a recent study suggest that a healthy diet dose not reduce the risk of demntia. There was no marked decrease in the onset of dementia between the 30% of participants who struck to a healthy diet of  fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes along with unsaturated fats and the 30% with a poor diet who regularly consumed red-meat and ate sugar-rich foods. This is an observational study and does not prove cause and effect.Open Minds:So what is working?There is focus on prevention  - aerobic and mental exercise as effective treatments. Opportunities for community based services are essential. Care coordination programs to manage comorbidities are critical. Until there are new pharmaceutical interventions available, it will be up to long term care organizations to serve consumers with dementia.    ​


Journal of American College of Cardiology An increasing number of stroke survivors are between the ages of 18 and 65 – a 44% increase in the number of young adults hospitalized with strokes has occurred in the past decade. This may be thanks to stress, smoking, physical inactivity, poor nutrition, obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure. Guidelines for blood pressure monitoring go from normal 120/80 to stage 1 130-139/80-89 to crisis +180/+120. It is very important to monitor our bold pressure and visit your doctor routinely.  It is a simple way to avoid a stroke.​