Stretchable band aids to monitor stroke?

A stretchable wearable sensor designed to be worn on the throat can help monitor and treat stroke patients.

The sensor adds to the portfolio of stretchable electronics that are precise enough for use in advanced medical care and portable enough to be worn outside the hospital, even during extreme exercise, researchers say.

“Stretchable electronics allow us to see what is going on inside patients’ bodies at a level traditional wearables simply cannot achieve,” says John A. Rogers, engineering professor at Northwestern University. “The key is to make them as integrated as possible with the human body.”

The bandage-like throat sensor measures patients’ swallowing ability and patterns of speech and aid in the diagnosis and treatment of aphasia, a communication disorder associated with stroke.

The tools that speech-language pathologists have traditionally used to monitor patients’ speech function—such as microphones—can’t distinguish between patients’ voices and ambient noise.

“Our sensors solve that problem by measuring vibrations of the vocal cords,” Rogers says. “But they only work when worn directly on the throat, which is a very sensitive area of the skin. We developed novel materials for this sensor that bend and stretch with the body, minimizing discomfort to patients.”

Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, a research hospital in Chicago, uses the throat sensor in conjunction with electronic biosensors—also developed in Rogers’ lab—on the legs, arms, and chest to monitor stroke patients’ recovery progress.

“Talking with friends and family at home is a completely different dimension from what we do in therapy.”

The intermodal system of sensors streams data wirelessly to clinicians’ phones and computers, providing a quantitative, full-body picture of patients’ advanced physical and physiological responses in real time.

“One of the biggest problems we face with stroke patients is that their gains tend to drop off when they leave the hospital,” says Arun Jayaraman, research scientist at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and a wearable technology expert. “With the home monitoring enabled by these sensors, we can intervene at the right time, which could lead to better, faster recoveries for patients.”

Because the sensors are wireless, they eliminate barriers posed by traditional health monitoring devices in clinical settings. Patients can wear them even after they leave the hospital, allowing doctors to understand how their patients are functioning in the real world.

“Talking with friends and family at home is a completely different dimension from what we do in therapy,” says Leora Cherney, research scientist at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and an expert in aphasia treatment.

“Having a detailed understanding of patients’ communication habits outside of the clinic helps us develop better strategies with our patients to improve their speaking skills and speed up their recovery process.”

The platform’s mobility is a “game changer” in rehabilitation outcomes measurement, Jayaraman says.

Data from the sensors will be presented in a dashboard that is easy for both clinicians and patients to understand. It will send alerts when patients are underperforming on a certain metric and allow them to set and track progress toward their goals.

The team presented their research last week at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Austin, Texas.

Source: Northwestern University

Stroke patients can improve their walking ability by doing arm exercises!

By: Mohan Garikiparithi | Health News 

Researchers worked with volunteers who had suffered strokes seven to 17 months prior to the study. They taught them moderate intensity arm cycling exercises, which they did three times a week for 30 minutes over a period of five weeks.

To assess the effect of the exercises, researchers tested the walking abilities, electrical activity, and stretch reflexes in the lower leg and wrist muscles. This was done before the training sessions began, during the study, and after the five weeks.

Walking tests included the following:

  • A six-minute walk where distance covered was measured.
  • A timed 10-meter walk to measure speed.
  • Another test called Timed Up and Go measured the time taken for a seated person to stand up, walk 10 feet, return, and sit again.

Researchers observed that arm exercises helped the volunteers improve their performance in all the walking tests. However, the most improvement (up to 28 percent) was seen in their performance in the Timed Up and Go test. According to researchers, arm cycling training helped to activate the nerve networks that connected their limbs, allowing for better coordination. When the arm nerves were activated and adapted, the spinal cord function improved, which improved the functioning of the legs.

Muscle tests revealed that there were no major changes in the grip strength of participants. However, their muscles were more relaxed after they completed the arm exercises.

The experiment proved that arm exercises could be included in stroke rehabilitation to improve post-stroke leg function.

Other exercises to improve walking after stroke

Experts recommend several stroke recovery exercises that can help to improve gait (the manner of walking). These include foot exercises, leg exercises, and balance and core work.

Foot exercises can help improve the ability of stroke survivors to walk. They’d be better able to strike the ground with their heels, follow through, and use the toes to push the foot off the ground. Sample exercises that can improve these functions include heel raises, assisted toe raises, and ankle dorsiflexion with the help of the unaffected hand. Each of these should be repeated 10 times.

Leg exercises are essential to improve leg movement. They include knee extensions and seated marching, where the patient is advised to raise the affected leg to the chest and place it back while being seated. To make them more challenging, patients can pause for a second or two when the leg is above the floor.

Core training includes toe taps and knee-to-chest exercises that are done in a lying-down position. These exercises help to strengthen and engage the core muscles while walking to improve gait.

Flamingo stands (standing on one leg for 30 seconds and repeating with the other leg) and side leg raises (about 45 degrees to each side) help to improve balance.

Leg exercises, core training, and balancing exercises require 20 repetitions (10 for each leg) to be effective.

Stroke recovery is a long process that involves stroke rehabilitation through exercises to improve walking. Toe exercises, leg exercises, core training, and balancing exercises help to strengthen the muscles and improve their movement. These are typical stroke recovery exercises as they help to improve gait. However, due to lack of coordination and damage to nerves, complete recovery in walking ability is not possible unless the nerve connections that help to coordinate the movements function better. The latest research proves that this can be achieved through moderate intensity arm cycling exercises.

 

I messed up; Take 2…

I blew it; I thought I was being funny.  But a large number of you wrote to me personally because you didn’t understand my video..and then my message. To all of you who wrote in: I am sorry!!!

So let me try it AGAIN…

Check out this new video shot this weekend.  Are you ready for something spectacular?

OK, I wasn’t able to drink from a paper cup. But I thought after 2 years, I would.  It occurred to me that I actually have to drink with my right hand…and that isn’t what I was doing.  From this day forward, I will be start drinking with right hand, but I will transfer to my left hand when my right gets worn out.

Do you think this one is better???  Any suggestions?

20-Something Stroke Survivor On Recovery

 

Nina Mitchell was 26 years old when she suffered a massive stroke that robbed her of her speech and mobility. After surgery, months in the hospital and a grueling, yearslong regimen of physical and speech therapy, Mitchell — now 41 — is a successful writer, blogger, wife and mother.

Mitchell (@mindpop) joins Here & Now‘s Robin Young to tell her story.

Interview Highlights

On having a stroke at 26 years old

“There are various kinds of stroke. There’s the older people stroke, which tends to err on people who have high blood pressure and various other things. But then there’s another kind, and that tends to skew younger. It’s called hemorrhagic stroke. People with the more common kind of stroke have a clot in their brain. People with my kind of stroke have a bleed in the brain. So it’s just blood that leaks out into the gray matter itself.”

On having a smaller stroke prior to the massive one

“I had one that was about golf ball-size, which is not tiny, but that was being monitored. And then at this friend’s wedding, I just felt very strange. So I went home and then I called my parents, which was probably a good sign that something was very odd. My parents lived in Los Angeles, and they suggested that I go to a friend’s house for the night, given my history. And all my friends were at this wedding. So the only person who was home was my ex-boyfriend. And the next morning, I was just not making sense.”

“Your mind is so important to you, and it disappeared in my case for a while. And when it came back, it wasn’t the same as it had been.”

Nina Mitchell

On symptoms she noticed prior to the stroke

“I had had problems typing, and I went to see a hand doctor, and she looked at me and said, ‘Oh, you don’t have carpal tunnel. But I’ll refer you to a neurologist, maybe you had a nerve injury.’ A few days later I went to see the neurologist, and he looked at me and said, ‘Go get an MRI immediately,’ because he noticed all kinds of things that I had just not picked up on. He noticed that it was hard for me to balance on my right leg, on my heels. Things like that where, I hadn’t noticed that. I had asked the neurologist, ‘What are we talking about,’ and he said, ‘Well, [multiple sclerosis], a brain tumor or a stroke, and stroke is the best possible option.'”

On talking with her son about how the stroke affected her

“I don’t really talk to him directly about it. But there’s plenty of things that he picks up on, just as a little kid. And I’m sure at times in the future, he’s going to notice. Right now there are little things like, you know, mom has trouble opening those really annoying pouches, like the baby pouches. Daddy does it better and faster if you’re hungry.”

On the phrase “mindpop,” also the name of her blog

“Your mind is so important to you, and it disappeared in my case for a while. And when it came back, it wasn’t the same as it had been. I just think of that as a good catchall for all the things that have changed.”

On experiencing grief over having a stroke at a young age

“Especially early on, when my lot of my friends were on the make: they were off to grad school and starting companies and writing books. That was very hard to watch that happen, because I had to stop and do rehab for years, while my other friends were, you know, discovering planets. But I think I sort of see my life as having ups and downs. I’m definitely in an up period. I have a lovely son, I have a lovely husband, I work. So it’s all very exciting.”

It is official; I did GREAT!

  National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors

I invited Gordon and Jill Viggiano to speak to our group of about 100 financial advisors and insurance agents at our monthly luncheon meeting here in Omaha, Nebraska.

What an impactful story we heard!  We saw and heard, firsthand, how disability can strike anyone, at any time.  In Gordon’s case, this was a massive stroke that nearly killed him on his 51st birthday.  If it wasn’t for his humble income replacement coverage, the Viggiano’s would have been financially ruined.

Gordon and Jill have experienced unbelievable hardship and trials since Gordon’s stroke, but their perseverance, faith and love for one another helped them conquer these great storms.  After hearing from Gordon and Jill, everyone came away inspired and truly blessed.

Our NAIFA members were both inspired and will have a renewed passion to share the need for income replacement insurance (aka disability insurance) when doing holistic financial planning for their clients.

We had the privilege of having dinner with the Viggiano’s the night prior to our luncheon. After speaking with Gordon at dinner and hearing him at the program, it became very apparent just how much painstaking hard work went into his speech. It’s truly remarkable how far he’s come.

Gordon’s wife Jill is a true hero.  Her perspective is especially helpful because many times we are the ones helping someone else through a life changing event.  Her unyielding faith in you and God is truly inspiring, and your story needs to be told to as many people as possible!

Jill wrote a book “Painful Blessings”, discussing the struggles and the victories that she and Gordon went through, it is outstanding!  Advisors can use this book as they discuss the need for disability insurance, simply by giving it to their client to read as they ponder their decision.  Each person who attended the lunch meeting received a copy of the book.

The presentation is surprising, gripping, educational, motivational and inspirational. I recommend Gordon and Jill for any group that could use a little of any of the above!

Gordon and Jill, thank you and may God bless you always!

Richard A Mangiameli, LUTCF, FSS
President Elect of NAIFA Omaha
RAM Insurance and Financial Services

What…I can’t wear jeans anymore?

No jeans? I am shocked!  Did you hear about the following story?   Denim cutoff? New study says no one over this age should wear jeans

Are you kidding me?  I am 60 years old and I just updated my clothes. If you are counting, I purchased 5 pairs of jeans + a pair I am wearing, a dirty pair in the wash and another pair that didn’t fit on my rack!

NOW, I feel OLD!  Hey, I even bought some shits (oops…I meant to say shirts) to go with my jeans. Can I wear them?

What am I supposed to do…shop in the “old man” section?  Do they even have an “old man” section?  Wait a minute..could this be the next big thing?  What if I created my own “Old Man” clothes?  Would you buy it?  (I have a few old men that are following me.  Could I be onto something?)
Regardless… I took this picture the other day. Am I styling or what?
 

I THINK I did ok; I will find out later this week

I was really excited about going on stage for the first time this year.  We got there early so I could set up…an it is a good thing I did.  There were a few challenges, but I got most of them worked out.  The only thing that was wrong: my mic…it didn’t work!

So I began my talk LOUDLY….but I could stay loud so long.  The 120 people could hear me ok..but their were times it could have been louder.

I must admit, I didn’t do as well as normal:  I got lost a handful of times and I left a few things out.   Even though I have given this same speech over 500 times, I still get lost!  The good news: nobody know what I am going to say…except for Jill…and she DOES let’s me know.  It’s a good thing I like Jill.

They gave me another standing ovation…and I am grateful for that.  Fortunately, I ended strong…but I am still sad that I didn’t give it my best. I guess it shows me I have to work at EVERY speech that I give; speaking doesn’t just naturally happen for me.  I am blessed each time I talk to an audience.

Time to get my haircut!

I got my haircut last Friday.

When I moved to Oregon, I went to a discount barber and I would take who ever was a available. They were usually female workers, being paid minimum wage. They were ok…but never really friendly and I went to a new person every time. Each time, I couldn’t wait for them to be done.  This was a discount barber I could’t want to leave.

When I heard that Sport Clips was opening up, I was thrilled.  I looked at their website and I was exited with what they were offereing. I would still go to whoever was available, but I didn’t care.  They were all nice people and they offered me full service for a responsible price. I was in heaven!

Then last year, I meet Lynn.  She was amazing! Lynn was my a little younger than me and I liked that.  Don’t get me wrong; young girls are nice; but Lynn was there because she liked cutting hair.  And she is pleasant to talk to.

SportClips does a lot for the community, which is also great.

I must say, I do look pretty good!

Did you write down your password? Is it 123456?

How clever is your password? If it is on the list below, your password is just as easily stolen as it is remembered. Protect yourself by making sure you’re not using one of the top 25 most commonly stolen passwords of 2017, as determined by IT security firm SplashData.  Click on SplashData to get the to 100 most easily hacked passwords.  I hope nobody is using golfer…it is the 98th most hacked password!

To create a more secure password, make sure you are not relying only on numbers, and try to avoid simple keyboard patterns. You may also want to avoid easy-to-find information such as birthdays, favorite sports teams and addresses.

Attempt to create a password that is eight or more characters long, and avoid using the same password for multiple access points.  I would tell you some of mine, but you know the consequences!

1 123456
2 password
3 12345678
4 qwerty
5 12345
6 123456789
7 letmein
8 1234567
9 football
10 iloveyou
11 admin
12 welcome
13 monkey
14 login
15 abc123
16 starwars
17 123123
18 dragon
19 passw0rd
20 master
21 hello
22 freedom
23 whatever
24 qazwsx
25 trustno1