News & Attitude For YOU: Research - 2007
Study Shows Risk of Blood Thinners
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati Medical Centers tracked an increase in the number of cases of bleeding in the brain caused by warfarin (brand name Coumadin), a drug used to thin the blood to prevent clots that might lead to stroke. Warfarin is often prescribed to people who have certain heart conditions or have suffered a stroke due to a blood clot.
The researchers studied data from the 1990s and found that the rate of bleeding in the brain (also a cause of stroke) due to the use of warfarin was five times greater than prior periods, and ten times greater in people over age 80. One of the researchers suggested that careful, continual monitoring through lab tests can watch for levels that raise the risk of bleeding.
For more, read the journal abstract in the January 9 issue of Neurology, click here.
Reducing Stroke Risk in Women
The American Heart Association-American Stroke Association has revised its guidelines for lowering the risk of cardio-vascular disease -- heart disease and stroke -- in women.
The guidelines take a "lifetime" view of cardiovascular disease, with information for healthy women, as well as those having a higher risk for heart attack and stroke. For example, a daily low-dose aspirin is recommended for healthy women over 65. For details, click here.
Best Imaging Test for Stroke Emergency
A recent NIH study showed that MRI imaging tests were more precise in identifying certain types of strokes soon after the stroke occurs and possibly before brain damage takes hold than CT scan tests. This may help emergency room teams determine if the stroke patient is a candidate to immediately receive drugs that break apart the blood clots that cause 80 percent of strokes (known as ischemic strokes).
Results of the study, conducted at the NIH Suburban Hospital Stroke Center in Bethesda, Maryland were published in the international journal, "The Lancet." Read the abstract here.
A write-up of the study was posted on the NIH website, click here.
The quality of brain imaging tests have increased tremendously in the past 20 years since Paul's stroke, when the inability to locate his aneurysm resulted in having to wait a week to repeat the test, and the devastating second rupture that occurred the night before his delayed surgery.Paul testified to the need for continued research and funding for brain imaging tests during a special program at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. For photos and details, click here.
Robots Connect Stroke Specialists Across the State
Stroke teams in Michigan can call on expertise hundreds of miles away with the help of bed-side robots that can provide 2-way interactive evaluations for patients who have just suffered a stroke. The robot's "head" is a computer monitor (TV screen) that projects a live video of the consulting expert from his or her remote location to the patient and local doctors and nurses, allowing back-and-forth discussions, as if the expert was in the room.
The robot transmits via the Internet data from medical notes, CT scans and other diagnostic tests performed on the patient, and can zoom-in live during the consultation, sending detailed images of the patient's pupils and mouth, and other important clues in a neurological exam.
Details on the robot are available on the Michigan Stroke Network, click here.
New Guidelines for Treating Bleeding Strokes
New treatments are showing important clinical benefits for the most serious types of strokes, those caused by hemorrhages or bleeding in the brain. These include using hemophilia drugs to stop bleeding, new surgical techniques,and other aggressive treatment in the first hours.
As a result, the American Heart/American Stroke Association recently published new guidelines for intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) in its journal "Stroke." Only 10% of strokes result from ICH, but cause much higher rates of death and serious disability than the most frequent type of stroke caused by clots.
With all the news about the tPA clot-busting drugs, it is nice to see some advances in treating ICH strokes
Details on the guidelines are available on the American Heart/American Stroke Association's Website, click here.
Risk of Stroke Reduced by Vitamin
The B-vitamin Folic Acid reduces the risk of stroke, especially for people who took the supplement for more than three years. Folic acid lowers the level of homocysteine in the blood, an element that is linked to stroke and heart disease.
Researchers at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago conducted an analysis of previously published studies on folic acid and stroke risk and published their results in the June 2 issue of The Lancet medical journal.
Risk of Stroke Linked to Diabetes
New research links both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes to an increased risk of ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes.
Researchers in Massachusetts reviewed the health records of women in the Nurses Health Study, and found significant relationships between diabetes and stroke, with the most common form, Type 2 diabetes, associated with 2 times the risk of stroke. Some risk was lowered in those women with diabetes who were actively controlling high blood pressure. For more details, visit the online Journal "Diabetes Care", click here.
New Way to Relearn Walking
New research shows that leg movements for walking seem to be controlled by separate nerve/muscle networks for each leg, and for different types of leg movement, such as walking forward and walking backward. This is different from the currently accepted theories of a single control circuit in the brain.
The study was conducted by researchers at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, using a split-belt treadmill applying different speeds to the right and left legs. The ability to train each leg separately opens new avenues for therapy to improve walking after stroke and other neurological conditions.
The study was published in the August issue of Nature Neuroscience. For more, visit the Institute's website, click here.
Migraines & Stroke Connections in Women
A new study shows that women experiencing migraine headaches with visual symptoms (known as "auras") seem to be at a higher risk of ischemic stroke. Women between the ages of 15 to 49 who were newly experiencing migraines were
found to have a 7 times greater chance of having a stroke than women who did not have migraine headaches. Migraine sufferers who smoked and used oral contraceptives were at the highest risk.
Migraine sufferers should be monitored for stroke risks including high blood pressure, quit smoking and take other measures to lower their risk of stroke, according to the report.
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland's School of Medicine in Baltimore and was published in the August issue of the Journal "Stroke." For more,visit the AHA Journal's website, click here
High Death Rate in Stroke Patients Who Stop Drugs
People who stopped taking statin drugs (i.e., brand names: Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor) after their stroke doubled the risk of death within a year of their stroke, according to research published in the October issue of the medical journal "Stroke."
The patients studied had ischemic strokes--caused by clots--the most common form of stroke. Researchers concluded that patients should be carefully monitored on taking all of their medications.
Read the Stroke journal abstract, click here.
Medical Proof of Benefits in Task Training
Stroke survivors who participated in therapy through repeatedly practicing everyday tasks, such as buttoning clothes, reaching for items, moving from a sitting to a standing position or walking up steps for 1 hour, 3 to 5 times a week, for 6 to 8 weeks showed improvements in their recovery compared to those who did no repetitive training.
These results were published by the Cochrane Library, an internationally-recognized health research organization, following an analysis of 14 studies covering over 650 stroke patients.
Read the Cochrane abstract , click here.
Rehabilitation: Stroke in Children
Finding the cause of strokes in infants and children and possible ways to reduce the risk of stroke are some of the goals of the Canadian Pediatric Ischemic Stroke Registry. One study of data from the registry focused on the link between ischemic stroke and iron-deficiency anemia in otherwise healthy children
The study, conducted by the University of Toronto, and published in the November 2007 issue of the journal "Pediatrics," found that previously healthy children with stroke were 10 times more likely to have iron-deficiency anemia than healthy children without stroke, and that children with iron-deficiency anemia accounted for more than half of all stroke cases in children who did not have another underlying medical illness.
Read the Stroke Trials report on the study, click here.
Learn about stroke in children, click here.