Guess What I Forgot…..

NATIONAL STROKE AWARENESS MONTH

May is World Stroke Month, not June. Sorry about that; I had it all cued up and I forgot to post it.

Many health and heart organizations come together every May to raise awareness about the causes and effects of stroke.

One of their biggest campaigns is FAST, teaching the world to know the symptoms of stroke and how to respond quickly to help save a life.

  • Face – By asking the person to smile you can tell immediately if one side of the face droops.
  • Arm – Ask the person to raise both arms. Observe to see if one arm drifts lower than the other.
  • Speech – Slurred speech is a symptom of stroke. Ask the person to repeat a single sentence.
  • Time – Call 911-Fast. Time may be the difference between life and death or even partial and full recovery.

HOW TO OBSERVE

Visit the cdc.gov and stroke.org to find out more. Use #StrokeAwarenessDay to post on social media.

HISTORY

National Stroke Awareness Day was proclaimed in 1989 by President George H. W. Bush. It had been observed for many years before the proclamation. The Centers for Disease Control, the American Heart Association, World Stroke Campaign and many other have all participated in bringing education, research, and treatment on a global basis.

There are over 1,500 national days. Don’t miss a single one. Celebrate Every Day with National Day Calendar!

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.

 

Pong is back?

  • The ‘robot’ method gives new hope to the 110,000 British stroke victims
  • Many patients have difficulty moving arms and shoulders after strokes
  • Robot-assisted rehab helps by ‘reading’ what the patient can and can’t do
  • Gradual approach encourages the muscle and nerve connections to regrow

The method gives new hope to the 110,000 British victims who are left with difficulty moving hands, arms and shoulders due to brain damage after a stroke.

Robot-assisted rehab is a growing field of medical treatment. Usually the ‘robot’ takes the form of a kind of support that is worn in some way by the patient. The robot helps by ‘reading’ what the patient can and can’t do, and learns how and when to give support.

In control: The robot helps by ‘reading’ what the patient can and can’t do, and learns how and when to give support

It looks like Pong!  In control: The robot helps by ‘reading’ what the patient can and can’t do, and learns how and when to give support

This gradual approach can encourage the muscle and nerve connections lost after a stroke to regrow.

Improvements have been seen in patients treated up to five years after their initial stroke.

Patients taking part in trials of the method sit at a table facing a computer screen and place their arm on to a specially designed support. Their arm moves a robot arm connected to the computer which in turn controls a spot or cursor that appears on the screen, enabling them to play games.

In one game, designed to strengthen the wrist, patients play a ‘bat-and-ball’ computer game. If the rehab-robot senses the user is struggling, it steps in and helps to move their arm to complete the task.

In another game, which helps condition shoulder movement, they are asked to manoeuvre the spot to hit points on a clock, moving from a number and back to the centre repeatedly. Patients receive therapy for one hour, three times a week for 12 weeks.

Stroke consultant Dr Helen Rodgers at Northumbria NHS Trust, one of four trial centres, says: ‘It’s fun, and patients get immediate visual feedback that their arm is doing something, which is a huge motivator.

But therapy like this means people regain the ability to dress themselves, eat with a knife and fork, and do ordinary things that stroke can rob people of the ability to do.’

Dr Rodgers, who is leading the trial, says that while stroke services in the UK are improving in terms of rapid treatment of strokes, rehabilitation still lags behind.

And there is generally less attention paid to upper-body mobility, with most stroke rehabilitation focused on helping sufferers to walk again.

Patients taking part in trials of the method sit at a table facing a computer screen and place their arm on to a specially designed support

Between 30 and 66 per cent of stroke victims regain their ability to walk, but only one in five recovers movement in the arms and shoulders.

The arm robot was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US. Researchers there have established that the technology is highly effective at recovering movement in the arm, taking over the work that would normally be performed by physiotherapists.

The robot is being put through its paces at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge, Queen’s Hospital in London and Northumbria NHS Trust, Tyneside.

The trial, involving 700 patients, is split into three equal groups with one group on the robot, a second having intensive therapy from a physio and the third getting standard physiotherapy.

One benefit of using the robot is that it frees up physiotherapists to help more patients. The robot also collects data in its computer of how well the patient has done, allowing accurate charting of progress.

Dr Rodgers believes the robot will boost recovery rates for arms and shoulders to those achieved for walking recovery. A bonus is that it can help people who have had strokes many years ago. She said: ‘We are enrolling people who had strokes as far back as five years.

‘It’s best to start physiotherapy soon after a stroke but we know that movement can be improved even if there has been a delay.’

Tom Means, 61, has already taken part in the robot trial. The electrician from Newcastle had a stroke last year and spent about two months in hospital. Now back at home, he continues to receive physiotherapy twice a week.

Immediately after his stroke, Tom attended North Tyneside General Hospital for sessions with rehab robot as part of the trial.

He said: ‘After the stroke, my left arm was pretty useless – I couldn’t even feel it. Playing the old-fashioned computer games was actually quite fun and did get you moving.

‘After only a few sessions I really felt the difference. I haven’t recovered my arm mobility completely – I never will – but it’s vastly improved.’