Woman Has Stroke As The Result Of A Hickey And Is Partially Paralyzed

It always is said that facts are stranger than fiction and this medical case seems to prove it once again. The case involves a woman who goes to the hospital and is partially paralyzed. The doctors take great care in examining the woman to try to determine the cause of her paralysis. After numerous neurological testing is completed, the examining physician notices a hickey on the womans neck over the carotid artery.

The doctor concludes the following diagnosis:

“Because it was a love bite there would be a lot of suction,” one of the doctors who treated her, Teddy Wu, told the Christchurch Press.

“Because of the physical trauma it had made a bit of bruising inside the vessel. There was a clot in the artery underneath where the hickey was.”

Wu said the clot dislodged and traveled to the woman’s heart, where it caused a minor stroke that led to the loss of movement.

The doctors were able to stop the paralysis by using anti-coagulant drugs.

When I first read this stroy, I found the account of what had happened humour, as I am sure most of you do as well. But it also made me wonder what type of laws they have in New Zealand concerning patient privacy?

I guess one could also conclude that her boyfirend almost gave her the kiss of death.

Comments welcome.

Source – Fox News


Canadian Video Game Takes Stroke Rehab To The Next Level

There should be an image here!An innovative use of virtual reality is emerging as a major technique in brain recovery for stroke patients, Dr. Mindy Levin told the Canadian Stroke Congress yesterday.

“Our brains have an extraordinary plasticity which can limit the damage caused by some types of stroke,” says Dr. Mindy Levin, professor in the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy at McGill University. “Together with Dr. Heidi Sviestrup from the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa, our rehab program taps into the power of plasticity to gain the best recovery of movement of the arm by increasing a patients’ motivation to continue with the long repetitive training tasks needed to restructure their brains.”

Her team’s interactive virtual reality training program boosts patients’ confidence and increases the success of arm and hand rehabilitation by having them practice movements as part of a video game.

This enriched environment stimulates the brain to make the fullest use of its ability to re-organize and restructure itself after a stroke.

“Relearning and improving movements affected by brain injuries is an intense process that requires hard work and motivation,” says Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson Dr. Michael Hill. “Research into how to best engage and motivate patients is vital for stroke recovery.”

Sixty patients in Montreal and Ottawa are participating in the clinical trial funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation to establish the optimum conditions for stroke recovery.

There are many different types of virtual reality systems on the market. We are trying to discover which aspects of the virtual reality experience are of the most importance to rehabilitation. Patients in the study fall into one of four groups, explains Dr. Levin. Group 1 is treated with a fully immersive and interactive 3D virtual reality system; Group 2 interacts with a more economical 2D game system; Groups 3 and 4 practice similar games in different physical environments.

“The training program uses kinematics, which measures how well a movement is made,” explains Dr. Levin. “It allows us to understand how recovery is happening.”

Rehab patients play a reaching and catching game where they get a point for catching something with their hand. If they do it well, they get positive feedback from the game system and a higher score in the game. If they cheat, they don’t get the point or any other form of reinforcement, says Dr. Levin.

“These techniques help patients work harder and longer,” she says. “They get out there and really sweat and that’s what you need for recovery.”

So which version produced the maximum amount of motivation?

Dr. Levin says the results are very preliminary but, so far, it looks as if the 3D virtual reality system has a slight edge on the competition. It may be that people feel more ‘present’ or engaged in this environment, much like reality-based interactive video games.

“Novel use of virtual reality has the potential to revolutionize forever the way we think about rehabilitation,” says Canadian Stroke Network spokesperson Dr. Antoine Hakim. “Dr. Levin’s research is showing that by motivating and involving the user, the recovery can be dramatic.”

Dr. Levin’s research was presented at the Canadian Stroke Congress 2010, co-hosted by the Canadian Stroke Network, the Canadian Stroke Consortium, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Jane-Diane Fraser @ Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

[Photo above by fensterbme / CC BY-ND 2.0]

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How Dark Chocolate May Guard Against Brain Injury From Stroke

There should be an image here!Researchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered that a compound in dark chocolate may protect the brain after a stroke by increasing cellular signals already known to shield nerve cells from damage.

Ninety minutes after feeding mice a single modest dose of epicatechin, a compound found naturally in dark chocolate, the scientists induced an ischemic stroke by essentially cutting off blood supply to the animals’ brains. They found that the animals that had preventively ingested the epicatechin suffered significantly less brain damage than the ones that had not been given the compound.

While most treatments against stroke in humans have to be given within a two- to three-hour time window to be effective, epicatechin appeared to limit further neuronal damage when given to mice 3.5 hours after a stroke. Given six hours after a stroke, however, the compound offered no protection to brain cells.

Sylvain Doré, Ph.D., associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine and pharmacology and molecular sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says his study suggests that epicatechin stimulates two previously well-established pathways known to shield nerve cells in the brain from damage. When the stroke hits, the brain is ready to protect itself because these pathways — Nrf2 and heme oxygenase 1 — are activated. In mice that selectively lacked activity in those pathways, the study found, epicatechin had no significant protective effect and their brain cells died after a stroke.

The study now appears online in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism.

Eventually, Doré says, he hopes his research into these pathways could lead to insights into limiting acute stroke damage and possibly protecting against chronic neurological degenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related cognitive disorders.

The amount of dark chocolate people would need to consume to benefit from its protective effects remains unclear, since Doré has not studied it in clinical trials. People shouldn’t take this research as a free pass to go out and consume large amounts of chocolate, which is high in calories and fat. In fact, people should be reminded to eat a healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Scientists have been intrigued by the potential health benefits of epicatechin by studying the Kuna Indians, a remote population living on islands off the coast of Panama. The islands’ residents had a low incidence of cardiovascular disease. Scientists who studied them found nothing striking in the genes and realized that when they moved away from Kuna, they were no longer protected from heart problems. Researchers soon discovered the reason was likely environmental: The residents of Kuna regularly drank a very bitter cocoa drink, with a consistency like molasses, instead of coffee or soda. The drink was high in the compound epicatechin, which is a flavanol, a flavanoid-related compound.

But Doré says his research suggests the amount needed could end up being quite small because the suspected beneficial mechanism is indirect. “Epicatechin itself may not be shielding brain cells from free radical damage directly, but instead, epicatechin, and its metabolites, may be prompting the cells to defend themselves,” he suggests.

The epicatechin is needed to jump-start the protective pathway that is already present within the cells. “Even a small amount may be sufficient,” Doré says.

Not all dark chocolates are created equally, he cautions. Some have more bioactive epicatechin than others.

“The epicatechin found in dark chocolate is extremely sensitive to changes in heat and light” he says. “In the process of making chocolate, you have to make sure you don’t destroy it. Only few chocolates have the active ingredient. The fact that it says ‘dark chocolate’ is not sufficient.”

Stephanie Desmon @ John Hopkins Medical Institution

[Photo above by Carlos Aldana / CC BY-ND 2.0]

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Vitamin B3 Shows Early Promise In Treatment Of Stroke

There should be an image here!An early study suggests that vitamin B3 or niacin, a common water-soluble vitamin, may help improve neurological function after stroke, according to Henry Ford Hospital researchers.

When rats with ischemic stroke were given niacin, their brains showed growth of new blood vessels, and sprouting of nerve cells which greatly improved neurological outcome.

Now research is underway at Henry Ford to investigate the effects of an extended-release form of niacin on stroke patients. Henry Ford is the only site nationally conducting such a study.

“If this proves to also work well in our human trials, we’ll then have the benefit of a low-cost, easily-tolerable treatment for one of the most neurologically devastating conditions,” Michael Chopp, Ph.D., scientific director of the Henry Ford Neuroscience Institute.

Dr. Chopp will present results from the animal model study at the International Stroke Conference in San Antonio.

According to the National Stroke Association, stroke is the third-leading cause of death in America and a leading cause of disability.

Ischemic strokes occur as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. Ischemic stroke accounts for about 87 percent of all cases. One underlying condition for this type of obstruction is the development of fatty cholesterol deposits lining the vessel walls.

Niacin is known to be the most effective medicine in current clinical use for increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), which helps those fatty deposits.

Dr. Chopp and his colleagues found that in animals niacin helps restore neurological function in the brain following stroke.

In 2009, stroke physicians at Henry Ford Hospital published research which showed that HDL-C is abnormally low at the time stroke patients arrive at the hospital.

Dr. Chopp’s research found that in animals, niacin increased “good” cholesterol (HDL-C), which increased blood vessels in the brain and axonal and dendritic growth leading to a substantial improvement in neurological function.

“Niacin essentially re-wires the brain which has very exciting potential for use in humans,” says Dr. Chopp. “The results of this study may also open doors in other areas of neurological medicine, including brain injury.”

Andrew Russman, D.O., is the principal investigator of the team at Henry Ford Hospital who will evaluate in clinical trials whether niacin improves recovery for human stroke patients.

“If we are able to prove that treating patients with niacin helps to restore neurological function after stroke, we’re opening a whole new avenue of treatment for the leading cause of serious long-term disability in adults,” says Dr. Russman.

Dwight Angell @ Henry Ford Health System

[Photo above by Nikolas Co / CC BY-ND 2.0]

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