Archive for February, 2018

[WEB SITE] Wearable tech aids stroke patients – BBC News

Scientists in the US are developing wearable sensors to speed up the recovery of stroke patients.

The sensors are able to send information to doctors continuously.

The team developing the system says it could allow therapists to more closely monitor the effectiveness of their care.

Details of the study were released at the recent annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Texas.

Lizzy McAninch had a stroke two years ago. She could not move or speak or swallow for several weeks.

Lizzy is testing out wearable sensors that might speed her recovery.

They look like small white sticking plasters, but they send information wirelessly to her medical team.

She is a doctor herself and can see how they could help her.

Sensor

SHIRLEY RYAN ABILITYLAB They look like small sticking plasters

“This technology to put sensors on the body to assess which muscle groups work or not can really pinpoint the areas affected by the stroke and can target therapies to specifically improve those issues,” she told BBC News.

The sensors continue to send back readings even after she has finished her exercises. This means that her therapist Kristen Hohl, from the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago, can monitor her progress at home.

“As a therapist, I think about what my patients are doing at home. Are they able to carry through the recommendations I’m giving them as a therapist to do more? Do we see that they are walking more or do we see them engaging in conversations?

“Those are the types of things that I can get feedback from the sensors where currently I have to rely on what they tell me they have done.”

Tablet

 SHIRLEY RYAN ABILITYLAB  The team is gathering large amounts of data

The challenge for the scientists was to pack a lot of electronics on to a small flexible material and still make it comfortable for the patient to wear for a long time.

“It is almost mechanically imperceptible to the patient who is wearing the device,” according to John Rogers, of Northwestern University in Chicago, who developed the sensors.

“And you can embed all sorts of advanced sensor functionality, microprocessor computing capability, power supplies and WiFi into this very unusual platform, and that is the uniqueness of what we do.”

By the end of this year, the research team will have more information than ever before on stroke recovery. The scientists believe that their study could transform the way patients are treated in the future.

Lizzy and scientist

SHIRLEY RYAN ABILITYLAB

 

via Wearable tech aids stroke patients – BBC News

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[WEB SITE] Epilepsy: Statistics, Facts and You

epilepsy introepilepsy intro

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder caused by unusual nerve cell activity in the brain. Each year, about 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with the central nervous system disorder that causes seizures. Over a lifetime, one in 26 people will be diagnosed with it.

Seizures can cause a range of symptoms, from momentarily staring blankly to loss of awareness and uncontrollable twitching. Some seizures can be milder than others, but even minor seizures can be dangerous if they occur during activities like swimming or driving.

Frequency of Types


epilepsy typesepilepsy types

Seizures can be divided into two main types: Focal (partial) seizures and generalized seizures.

Focal seizures can be further divided into two types: simple focal seizures and dyscognitive focal seizures. Simple focal seizures, also called simple partial seizures, affect only one area of the brain. Memory and cognitive abilities remain unimpaired, but a partial seizure might lead to temporary paralysis, visual changes, or difficulty with simple movements. Less than 15 percent of people with epilepsy have simple focal seizures.

A dyscognitive focal seizure only affects a specific part of the brain. Unlike focal seizures, a dyscognitive focal seizure can cause mental confusion, loss of memory, and loss of awareness during the seizure. People having a complex focal seizure may appear unaware or dazed. More than a third of patients with epilepsy have dyscognitive partial seizures.

The second main type of seizure is generalized seizures. Generalized seizures divide into several subtypes. These include:

  • tonic seizure
  • clonic seizure
  • myoclonic
  • absence seizure
  • atonic seizure
  • tonic-clonic seizure

More than 30 percent of people with epilepsy experience generalized seizures.

Types

The area of the brain that is affected by a seizure will determine the symptoms and sensations the seizure causes.

Focal Seizures

This type of seizure affects only a portion of the brain. For that reason, it’s also sometimes called a partial seizure. Focal seizures have two main categories: simple focal seizures and dyscognitive focal seizures.

Simple focal seizures typically cause few symptoms. The symptoms that this type of seizure causes can be easily mistaken for another condition and overlooked. People may experience slightly shifted emotions or moods, involuntary jerking and twitching in body parts, and unusual sensory experiences, such as seeing flashing lights. Simple focal seizures do not cause memory loss.

Dyscognitive focal seizures cause a loss of consciousness or awareness. People who experience this type of seizure will not be aware of what occurred during the seizure. This type of seizure often causes unusual, repetitive movement. These movements might include hand rubbing, swallowing, walking in circles, or chewing.

Generalized Seizures

All types of generalized seizures affect both sides of the brain. Generalized seizures can be divided into six groups:

Absence seizures. This type of seizure leaves a person briefly unaware of their surroundings and actions. Most people who experience an absence seizure stare blankly until the seizure is over. Some will produce a subtle, repetitive body movement. Absence seizures are also called “petit mal” seizures.

Atonic seizures. This type of seizure causes loss of muscle control. A person experiencing an atonic seizure may suddenly fall or collapse. That’s why this type of seizure is sometimes called a drop seizure.

Clonic seizures. People who have clonic seizures will routinely experience rhythmic, repeated jerking movements. The neck, face, and arms are commonly affected.

Myoclonic seizures. This type of seizure causes sudden jerking movements or twitches. These movements commonly happen in the arms and legs.

Tonic seizures. When this seizure begins, the muscles in the affected area of the body will tighten and stiffen. The arms, legs, and back are commonly affected. Most people who experience a tonic seizure will fall to the ground because of their muscle rigidity.

Tonic-clonic seizures. Commonly called “grand mal” seizures, this type of seizure causes loss of consciousness, as well as violent shaking and body stiffening. Some people will lose control of their bladder and may bite their tongue during the seizure.

Prevalence


epilepsy-prevalenceepilepsy-prevalence

One percent of Americans will develop epilepsy in their lifetime. About 2.5 to 3 million people in the U.S. have epilepsy. Additionally, about one in 26 people will experience recurring seizures.

Epilepsy can begin at any age. Studies have not identified a prime diagnosis time, but the incidence rate is highest in children and older adults. Luckily, some children with seizures will eventually grow out of them.

Ages Afflicted

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 2.3 million American adults have epilepsy. More than 467,000 children have been diagnosed with the central nervous system disorder.

Additionally, almost 150,000 people in the U.S. develop epilepsy every year.

Ethnicity Specifics

Researchers are still unclear if ethnicity plays a role in who develops epilepsy. Studies suggest, however, that non-Latino whites are more commonly affected by generalized epilepsy than people of African-American descent.

This finding points to the possibility that our ancestry may help determine who develops epilepsy.

Gender Specifics

Overall, no gender is more likely to develop epilepsy than the other. However, it’s possible each gender is more likely to develop certain subtypes of epilepsy. For example, a study found that symptomatic epilepsies are more common in men than women. Cryptogenic seizures (seizures with no known cause) are more frequent in women.

Risk Factors


epilepsy-risk-factorsepilepsy-risk-factors

These risk factors give you a higher chance of developing epilepsy:

Age. Epilepsy can begin at any age, but more people are diagnosed at two distinct phases in life: childhood and after age 60.

Brain infections. Infections, such as meningitis, inflame the brain and spinal cord and can increase your risk for developing epilepsy.

Childhood seizures. Some children develop seizures not related to epilepsy during their childhood years. Very high fevers may cause these seizures. As they grow older, some of these children may develop epilepsy.

Dementia. People experiencing a decline in mental function may also develop epilepsy. This is most common in older adults.

Family history. If a close family member has epilepsy, you are more likely to develop this disorder.

Head injuries. Previous falls, concussions, or injuries to your head may cause epilepsy. Taking precautions during activities such as bicycling, skiing, and riding a motorcycle can help protect your head against injury and possibly prevent a future epilepsy diagnosis.

Vascular diseases. Blood vessel diseases and strokes can cause brain damage. Damage to any area of the brain may trigger seizures and eventually epilepsy. The best way to prevent epilepsy caused by vascular diseases is to care for your heart and blood vessels with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Also, avoid tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption.

Complications

Having epilepsy increases your risk for certain complications. Some of these complications are more common than others.

The most common complications include:

Car accidents. Many states do not issue driver’s licenses to people with a history of seizures until they have been seizure-free for a specified period of time. A seizure can cause loss of awareness and affect your ability to control a car. You could injure yourself or others if you have a seizure while driving.

Drowning. People with epilepsy are 15 to 19 times more likely to drown than the rest of the population. That’s because people with epilepsy may have a seizure while in a swimming pool, lake, bathtub, or other body of water. They may be unable to move or may lose awareness of their situation during the seizure. If you swim and have a history of seizures, make sure a lifeguard on duty is aware of your condition. Never swim alone.

Emotional health difficulties. Unfortunately, the emotional toll of epilepsy may be too great for some people to bear alone. Depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts and actions are possible complications.

Falling. Certain types of seizures affect your motor movements. You may lose control of your muscle function during a seizure and fall to the ground, hit your head on nearby objects, and even break a bone.

Pregnancy-related complications. Women with epilepsy can get pregnant and have healthy pregnancies and babies, but extra precaution is needed. Some anti-seizure medications can cause birth defects, so you and your doctor need to carefully evaluate your medicines before you plan to get pregnant.

Less common complications include:

Status epilepticus. Severe seizures, ones that are prolonged or happen very frequently, can cause status epilepticus. People with this condition are more likely to develop permanent brain damage.

Sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP). Sudden, unexplained death is possible in people with epilepsy, but it is rare. Only two to 18 percent of people with epilepsy die from SUDEP. Doctors do not know what causes SUDEP, but one theory suggests heart and respiratory issues may contribute to the death.

Causes


epilepsy causesepilepsy-causes

In more than half of epilepsy cases, doctors will not be able to identify a cause. These epilepsy cases, called idiopathic epilepsy, make up 60 to 70 percent of epilepsy cases.

The four most common causes of epilepsy are:

Brain infection. Infections such as AIDS, meningitis, and viral encephalitis have been shown to cause epilepsy.

Brain tumor. Tumors in the brain can interrupt normal brain cell activity and cause seizures.

Head trauma. Head injuries can lead to epilepsy. These injuries may include sports injuries, falls, or accidents.

Stroke. Vascular diseases and conditions, such as stroke, interrupt the brain’s ability to function normally. This can cause epilepsy.

Other epilepsy causes include:

Neurodevelopmental disorders. Autism and developmental conditions like it may cause epilepsy.

Genetic factors. Having a close family member with epilepsy increases your risk for developing epilepsy. This suggests an inherited gene may cause epilepsy. It’s also possible specific genes make a person more susceptible to environmental triggers that can lead to epilepsy.

Prenatal factors. During their development, fetuses are particularly sensitive to brain damage. This damage might be the result of physical damage, as well as poor nutrition and reduced oxygen. All of these factors could cause epilepsy or other brain abnormalities in children.

Symptoms

Symptoms of epilepsy depend on the type of seizure you’re experiencing and what parts of the brain are affected.

Some common symptoms of epilepsy include:

  • a staring spell
  • confusion
  • loss of consciousness or recognition
  • uncontrollable movement, often including jerking and pulling
  • repetitive movements
  • convulsing

Tests and Diagnosis

Diagnosing epilepsy requires several types of tests and studies to ensure your symptoms and sensations are the result of epilepsy and not another neurological condition. The tests doctors most commonly use include:

Blood tests. Your doctor will take samples of your blood to test for possible infections or other conditions that might explain your symptoms. The test results might also identify potential causes for epilepsy.

EEG. An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a tool that most successfully diagnoses epilepsy. During an EEG, doctors place electrodes on your scalp. These electrodes sense and record the electrical activity taking place in your brain. Doctors can then examine your brain patterns and find unusual activity, which may signal epilepsy. This test can identify epilepsy even when you’re not having a seizure.

Neurological examination. As with any doctor’s office visit, your doctor will want to complete a full health history. They will want to understand when your symptoms began and what you have experienced. This information can help your doctor determine what tests are needed and what types of treatments may help once a cause is found.

CT scan. A computed tomography (CT) scan takes cross-sectional pictures of your brain. This allows doctors to see into each layer of your brain and find possible causes of seizures, including cysts, tumors, and bleeding.

MRI. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) takes a detailed picture of your brain. Doctors can use the images created by an MRI to study very detailed areas of your brain and possibly find abnormalities that may be contributing to your seizures.

fMRI. A functional MRI (fMRI) lets your doctors see your brain in very close detail. An fMRI allows doctors to see how blood flows through your brain. This may help them understand what areas of the brain are involved during a seizure.

PET scan. A positron emission tomography (PET) scan uses small amounts of low-dose radioactive material to help doctors see your brain’s electrical activity. The material is injected into a vein and a machine can then take pictures of the material once it has made its way to your brain.

Treatment

Seventy percent of people with epilepsy can find ease and relief from their symptoms with the most common forms of treatment. Treatment might be as simple as taking an anti-epileptic medication. Others may require more invasive treatments. The most common treatments for epilepsy include:

Medication. Anti-epileptic medicines are very effective for most people. It’s also possible you will be able to discontinue taking these medicines after a certain period of time.

Surgery. In some cases, imaging tests can detect the area of the brain responsible for the seizure. If this area of the brain is very small and well defined, doctors may perform surgery to remove the portions of the brain that are responsible for the seizures. If your seizures originate in a part of the brain that cannot be removed, your doctor may still be able to perform a procedure that can help prevent the seizures from spreading to other areas of the brain.

Vagus nerve stimulation. Doctors can implant a device under the skin of your chest. This device is connected to the vagus nerve in the neck. The device sends electrical bursts through the nerve and into the brain. These electrical pulses have been shown to reduce seizures by 20 to 40 percent.

When to See a Doctor

A seizure can be very scary, especially if it’s happening for the first time. Once you have been diagnosed with epilepsy, you will learn to manage your seizures in a healthy way. However, a few circumstances may require you to seek immediate medical help. These circumstances include:

  • injuring yourself during a seizure
  • having a seizure that lasts more than 5 minutes
  • failing to regain consciousness or not breathing after the seizure ends
  • having a high fever in addition to the seizures
  • having diabetes
  • having a second seizure immediately after a first
  • a seizure caused by heat exhaustion

Prognosis


epilepsy prognosisepilepsy prognosis

A person’s prognosis depends entirely on the type of epilepsy they have and the seizures it causes.

More than 60 percent of people will respond positively to the first anti-epileptic drug prescribed to them. Others may require additional assistance finding a medicine that is most effective. Almost all patients will find relief from their epilepsy symptoms with a medication.

After being seizure-free for about two to five years, 50 percent of patients will be able to stop using their anti-epileptic medicines.

Worldwide Facts

Worldwide, 50 million people have epilepsy. Almost 80 percent of these people live in developing regions of the world.

Epilepsy can be successfully treated, but more than 75 percent of patients living in developing areas do not receive the treatment they need for their seizures.

Prevention

Epilepsy may not be preventable for some people. However, you can take certain precautions. These include:

Protect against head injury. Accidents, falls, and injuries to the head may cause epilepsy. Wear protective headgear when you’re bicycling, skiing, or engaging in any event that puts you at risk for a head injury.

Guard against prenatal injury. Taking good care of yourself while you’re pregnant helps protect your baby against certain health conditions, including epilepsy.

Be vaccinated. Childhood vaccinations can guard against diseases that might lead to epilepsy.

Costs

Each year, Americans spend more than $15.5 billion caring for and treating epilepsy.

Other Surprising Facts or Information

Having a seizure doesn’t mean you have epilepsy. In fact, one in 100 Americans will have an unprovoked seizure in their lifetime. An unprovoked seizure is not necessarily caused by epilepsy. However, two or more unprovoked seizures may signal that you have epilepsy.

The future for epilepsy treatment looks bright. Researchers believe brain stimulation may help patients experience fewer seizures. Small electrodes, placed into your brain, can redirect electrical pulses in the brain and may reduce seizures.

 

 

via Epilepsy: Statistics, Facts and You

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[Abstract] A soft robotic glove for hand motion assistance

Abstract:

Soft robotic devices have the potential to be widely used in daily lives for their inherent compliance and adaptability, which result in high safety under unexpected situations. System complexity and requirements are much lower, comparing with conventional rigid-bodied robotic devices, which also result in significantly lower costs. This paper presents a robotic glove by utilizing soft artificial muscles providing redundant degrees of freedom (DOFs) to generate both flexion and extension hand motions for daily grasping and manipulation tasks. Different with the existing devices, to minimize the weight applied to the user’s hands, pneumatic soft actuators were located on the fore arm and drive each finger via cable-transmission mechanisms. This actuation mechanism brings extra adaptability, motion smoothness, and user safety to the system. This design makes wearable robotic gloves more light-weight and user-friendly. Both theoretical and experimental analyses were conducted to explore the mechanical properties of pneumatic soft actuators. In addition, the fingertip trajectories were analyzed using Finite Element Methods, and a series of experiments were conducted evaluating both the technical and practical performances of the proposed glove.

 

I. Introduction

Glove-type wearable robotic devices are developed to assist people with impaired hand functions both in their activities of daily living (ADLs) and in rehabilitation [1]–[12]. Most of such wearable robotic devices generate hand movements with linkage systems actuated by electrical motors which usually are heavy and inconvenient for using. Moreover, because of the human hand variation, most wearable robotic devices require customization in order to fulfill the geometrical fitting requirements between the exoskeleton device and the human hand joints. Approximating the high dexterity of human hands usually requires high complexity in both the mechanical and controller structures of the robotic systems, and hence also results in high costs for most users.

via A soft robotic glove for hand motion assistance – IEEE Conference Publication

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[CORDIS] European stem cell consortium for neural cell replacement, reprogramming and functional brain repair – Projects and Results

From 2013-10-01 to 2017-09-30, closed project

Project details

Total cost: EUR 8 186 684,46

EU contribution: EUR 6 000 000

Coordinated in: Italy

Call for proposal:

FP7-HEALTH-2013-INNOVATION-1See other projects for this call

Funding scheme:

CP-FP – Small or medium-scale focused research project

via European Commission : CORDIS : Projects and Results : European stem cell consortium for neural cell replacement, reprogramming and functional brain repair

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[VIDEO] You Can Be Me – A Career in Physical Therapy (APTA) – YouTube

Learn about physical therapist careers and physical therapist assistant careers in this video from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). See more videos at http://www.youtube.com/APTAvideo and http://www.youtube.com/moveforwardpt. Learn more about PT careers and PTA careers at http://www.apta.org/beapt.

via You Can Be Me – A Career in Physical Therapy (APTA) – YouTube

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[BLOG POST] Alcohol, Seizures and Brain Injury

A drunk driving accident.  A fight at a bar after a night of drinking.  A serious tumble at home after a few too many.  Many brain injury survivors received their brain injuries while under the influence of alcohol.  In fact, studies have shown that between 35% and 81% of traumatic brain injuries occur in individuals who had been drinking at the time of their injuries.  Doctors and therapists routinely recommend that survivors abstain from alcohol after a brain injury but some survivors choose to ignore this advice. Drinking after a brain injury though carries with it fresh and frighteningly dangerous risk.  Namely, such unwise behavior invites the post-injury seizure.

In general, brain injury survivors are more prone to developing a seizure disorder than are people without brain injuries.  Depending on the severity and location of a traumatic brain injury, research shows post-traumatic brain injury seizure rates to sit somewhere between 2% and 50%.  Similarly, post-stroke seizure rates range between 5% and 20%.  Both of these are significantly higher than the seizure rate found in the general populace.

Unfortunately, alcohol can increase the likelihood and frequency of post-injury seizures.  Clinical research has consistently shown alcohol to lower the threshold above which a seizure will occur.  Alcohol also interferes with the performance of anti-seizure medication, which of course increases the risk of seizure in those who depend on its assistance.  As a seizure is at base a potentially life-threatening medical issue, anything that might raise the likelihood of seizures should be avoided.

Overall, it is smart for many reasons to avoid consuming alcohol after an injury.  The enhanced risk of seizure stands alone among these reasons though in both gravity and consequence, and as such should be granted special consideration.

Learn about brain injury treatment services at the Transitional Learning Center! Visit us at: http://tlcrehab.org/

 

via Alcohol, Seizures and Brain Injury | The Transitional Learning Center’s Blog

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[WEB SITE] European experts advise against epilepsy drug in pregnancy

PARIS, France (AFP) — An expert committee of Europe’s medicines watchdog recommended Friday that a drug used to treat epilepsy and linked to malformations in children not be used in pregnancy.

The compound, valproate, is also used for migraine and bipolar disorder, and doctors already advised against prescribing the medicine for pregnant women in France.

France’s medicines regulator, known by the acronym ANSM, asked the London-based European Medicines Agency (EMA) to conduct a risk review.

The EMA’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) said in a statement Friday it was recommending that valproate not be used by pregnant women for any of the three medical conditions.

For women suffering from epilepsy, however, it may be impossible for some to stop after becoming pregnant, it said. These may have to continue treatment, though with “appropriate specialist care”.

The experts also advised against prescribing the drug for women “from the time they become able to have children”, unless using contraception.

Valproate medicines are licenced under different names by national drugs authorities.

The committee recommendations will now go to another body of the EMA, which deals with concerns over drugs that are not centrally authorised in the EU.

Last April, a preliminary study showed that valproate caused “severe malformations” in as many as 4,100 children in France since the drug was first marketed in the country in 1967.

Women who took the drug during pregnancy to treat epilepsy were four times more likely to give birth to babies with congenital malformations, said a report of the French National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM) and the national health insurance administration.

Birth defects included spina bifida — a condition in which the spinal cord does not form properly and can protrude through the skin — as well as defects of the heart and genital organs.

The risk of autism and developmental problems was also found to be higher.

via European experts advise against epilepsy drug in pregnancy

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[WEB SITE] 10 of the best apps for stroke recovery in 2018

Following a stroke, the body needs time to heal, and recovery time depends on the symptoms and severity of the stroke. We have identified the best apps to help stroke survivors with their recovery and rehabilitation.
older man looking at phone

Smartphone apps can assist with stroke recovery and rehabilitation.

More than 795,000 individuals in the United States have a stroke each year, and around 140,000 of these people die from stroke.

Ischemic strokes — wherein “blood flow to the brain is blocked” — account for roughly 87 percent of all strokes.

Stroke can cause significant injury to the brain that may result in many long-term problems.

For example, communication, concentration, memory, and executive function, as well as spatial awareness, are all cognitive functions that may be impacted by stroke.

Stroke can also trigger mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, as well as movement and coordination problems, paralysis, difficulties swallowing, visual impairment, and urinary incontinence and loss of bowel control.

The faster a person is treated after stroke, the more likely they are to recover from it. Surveys have shown that people who “arrived at the emergency room within 3 hours” of their first symptoms of stroke had “less disability” 3 months later than those who were treated later.

While some people recover quickly from stroke, others may need long-term support. Apps are available to help aid the stroke recovery process. They can help you or your loved one to track appointments and medications, provide language therapy, train the brain, and even lower some risk factors for future strokes.

Medical News Today have selected the top 10 apps to assist with stroke recovery.

Cozi

Android: Free

iPhone: Free

Cozi logo

Cozi is a family organizer designed to keep track of multiple schedules. The app can help caregivers to manage their schedules and is ideal if the person recovering from a stroke has several caregivers.

Keep track of schedules with a shared color-coded calendar and set reminders for yourself or other family members so that medical appointments and medications are not missed.

Shopping and to-do lists can also be shared with everyone in the family to ensure that you have everything you need from the grocery store. All items added to lists are viewable instantly in real-time.

Medisafe

Android: Free

iPhone: Free

Medisafe logo

Medisafe is the must-have pill reminder that makes sure that you never miss a dose of your medication or mistakenly double up due to not tracking your medications ever again.

According to the app, mistakes with medicine use and dosage tracking result in 50 percent of individuals not taking medication as prescribed, 700,000 hospital visits, 125,000 deaths each year, and 44 in every 100 prescriptions not being collected from the pharmacy.

Whether you are taking one drug dose or multiple doses each day, it can be challenging to remember to take the right pill at the right time. Medisafe takes the stress out of having to remember if you or your loved one took their medications correctly.

Stop, Breathe & Think

Android: Free

iPhone: Free

Stop, Breathe & Think logo

Research has shown that increased activity in a brain region called the amygdala, which is involved in stress, is tied to a greater risk of stroke. Therefore, reducing stress while in recovery from stroke could reduce the risk of future strokes.

Stop, Breathe & Think is a meditation and mindfulness app that helps to decrease stress and anxiety. The app provides guided meditations, breathing exercises, and yoga and acupressure videos to help you check in with your emotions.

Stop, Breathe & Think says that taking a few minutes every day to feel calm is just as important as getting frequent exercise and will reduce stress and promote peace of mind.

7 Minute Workout Challenge

Android: $2.99

iPhone: $2.99

7 Minute Workout Challenge logo

Working out three to five times per week reduces the likelihood of recurrent stroke by fivefold, according to a study published in the journal Neurology.

If you are unsure of how to start an exercise routine after stroke, the 7 Minute Workout Challenge app could be the perfect app for you. The 7-minute workout is a research-backed exercise program that has become a hit internationally.

Scientists have put together 12 exercises to perform for 30 seconds each with a rest period of 10 seconds in-between. The exercise sequences are easy to do, require no equipment, and can be done anywhere.

Language Therapy 4-in-1

Android: $59.99

iPhone: $59.99

Language Therapy logo

After stroke, it is common to experience a condition called aphasia, which affects your ability to understand what people are saying, find the right words, and read and write. Aphasia is often a symptom of the brain damage caused by stroke.

Language Therapy 4-in-1 is a scientifically proven speech therapy app that aims to improve speaking, listening, reading, and writing in those with aphasia. Get started by giving their free version, Language Therapy Lite, a try today.

Research led by the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom found that using the app for 20 minutes each day for 4 weeks showed improvements in all study participants with chronic aphasia.

Constant Therapy

Android: Free trial

iPhone: Free trial

Constant Therapy logo

Constant Therapy is a cognitive and speech therapy app designed for individuals who are recovering from stroke, brain injury, and aphasia. The app is free for 15 days and then offers users the chance to continue with a monthly or annual subscription.

With more than 65 task categories, 100,000 exercises, and 10 levels of difficulty, Constant Therapy can help to improve cognition, memory, speech, language, reading, and comprehension skills.

Constant Therapy was developed by scientists at Boston University in Massachusetts and is recommended by neurologists, speech language pathologists, and occupational therapists. Research published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience showed a significant improvement in standardized tests for stroke survivors after using Constant Therapy.

VocalEyes AI

iPhone: Free

VocalEyes logo

Stroke can sometimes cause damage to brain areas that receive, process, and interpret information sent from the eyes. This damage may result in losing part of your field of vision or causing double vision.

VocalEyes is computer vision for the visually impaired. The app uses machine learning to help people with vision problems identify objects in their everyday lives. Take a photo, and the app will tell you what the camera sees.

VocalEyes’s audio response describes scenes and environments, identifies objects, label logos, and brands, reads text, detects faces, classifies emotions, recognizes ages, and distinguishes currency denominations.

Glasses

iPhone: Free

Glasses logo

Glasses is a digital magnifier and mirror that can help you to view fine print and objects with up to 12x magnification.

If your vision is impaired after stroke or you have simply forgotten your glasses, the app can zoom in on labels and nutritional information in a grocery store and menus in dark restaurants as well as help you see how much to pay on the bill after eating out.

Glasses is simple to use. Double tapping quickly zooms in or out by 6x, while swiping uses a slow and continuous zoom method. If you have shaky hands, you can tap and hold to freeze the image on screen.

Elevate

Android: Free

iPhone: Free

Elevate logo

If you are experiencing cognitive function problems after stroke, brain-training apps provide a platform to exercise and improve the areas of the brain involved in concentration, memory, planning, reason, and problem-solving.

Elevate is a brain-training app that is designed to enhance speaking abilities, processing speed, focus, and memory. Elevate provides a personalized training program that adapts in difficulty over time to ensure you are always challenged.

Elevate features more than 40 games aimed at improving your skills, plus a workout calendar that tracks your streaks to keep you motivated. Users who train with Elevate at least three times each week have reported considerable gains in abilities and increased confidence.

Peak

Android: Free

iPhone: Free

Peak logo

The Peak app includes 40 unique brain-training games developed by neuroscientists to challenge and build your cognitive skills.

Peak features a personal brain trainer, known as Coach, who selects the perfect workouts for you at the correct time. Choose your training exercises from Coach’s recommendations to challenge yourself and stay motivated by tracking your progress with in-depth insights.

Free games challenge your attention, memory, problem-solving skills, mental agility, coordination, emotional control, language, and creativity. Upgrade to Pro for additional features.

via 10 of the best apps for stroke recovery in 2018

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[WEB SITE] Video Games Suggested as Mobility Aids for Stroke Patients

Published on 

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Researchers propose that video games be used as a complement to physiotherapy treatments to help improve the mobility of patients who have experienced ischemic strokes.

In their study, published in the PNAS Journal, researchers from Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL) in San Sebastian and the London Imperial College analyzed the architecture of brain injuries in stroke patients.

They propose a new therapeutic pathway that complements the physical treatments received by these patients with therapies to overcome attention deficit disorders, such as working with video games.

“Patients with brain injuries in attention control areas also suffer motility control problems, even when the movement required by the task is very simple,” says BCBL researcher David Soto, in a media release from FECYT – Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology.

The team explored the extent and location of brain injuries in 167 stroke patients for more than 3 years. Through a “mapping” performed with magnetic resonance, they identified the affected part and the type and size of the lesion, and analyzed the connectivity between the different areas of the brain.

Next, they subjected the patients to various motor tasks, some very simple, such as grabbing an object with force. After the tests, the researchers found that these tasks were “impaired” in those patients who had injuries in the area of the brain “involved” in attention, the release explains.

Soto notes that before this study was conducted it was thought that the control of movement and the attention control aspect were “different systems” with little relation to each other, and that the treatments enabled for the patients with cognitive injuries could not serve for those who had mobility problems. However, their research appears to suggest otherwise.

“We have to know first how our brain controls and moves to design effective therapeutic tools for stroke patients and specific therapies for each individual depending on where the injury has occurred,” he concludes.

To confirm these results, the next step will be to establish a clinical trial with patients suffering motor skills disorders due to a stroke and divide them into two groups: one of them undergoing physiotherapy treatment and the other with complementary cognitive training, per the release.

[Source(s): FECYT – Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology, Science Daily]

 

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[ARTICLE] Effectiveness of Mirror Therapy in Rehabilitation of Hand Function in Sub-Acute Stroke – Full Text

Abstract

Aim: Three quarters of strokes occur in the region supplied by the middle cerebral artery. As a consequence, the upper limb will be affected in a large number of patients. Purpose of the study is to examine the effectiveness of mirror therapy in rehabilitation of hand function in sub-acute stroke.

Methodology: An experimental study design, 30 subjects with sub-acute stroke with impaired hand function randomly allocated 15 subjects into each experimental group and conventional group. Both groups received conventional physiotherapy. The experimental group in addition, received Mirror Therapy program of 30 repetition of each exercises per day for 5 days in a week for 4 weeks (total = 20 sessions). Hand functions were measured using Upper extremity motor activity log (UE MAL) and Action research arm test (ARAT) before and after 4 week of intervention.

Results: Results of the study suggested that both the experimental and conventional group had a significant improvement in hand function (AROM, functional task with objects, object manipulation), however experimental group showed significantly more improvement than conventional group, providing Mirror Therapy with conventional treatment is more effective than conventional treatment alone.

Conclusion: Mirror therapy with conventional physiotherapy brings more improvement in hand function than conventional physiotherapy alone.

Introduction

World Health Organization [WHO; Stroke; 1989] defines the clinical syndrome of stroke as ‘rapidly developed clinical signs of focal (or global) distribution of cerebral function with symptoms lasting more than 24 hours or longer or leading to death, with no apparent cause other than vascular origin’.

Prevalence rates reported for stroke or CerebroVascular Accident (CVA) worldwide vary between 500 to 800 per 100,000 population [N.K. Sehi et al 2007] with about 20 million people suffer from stroke each year; out of that 5 million will die as a consequences and 15 million will survive with long term disabilities of varied spectrum. Many surviving stroke patients will often depends on other people‘s continuous support to survive.

Stroke is the most common cause of chronic disability [1]. Of survivors, an estimated one third will be functionally dependent after 1 year experiencing difficulty with activities of daily living (ADL), ambulation, speech, and so forth [2]. Cognitive impairment occurs frequently after stroke, commonly involving memory, orientation, language, and attention. The presence of cognitive impairment in patients with stroke has important functional consequences, independent of the effects of physical impairment (T K Tatemichi et al 1994).

Recovery of function after stroke may occur, but it is unclear whether interventions can improve function beyond the spontaneous process. In particular, recovery of hand function plateaus in about 1 year, and common knowledge is that the patient will remain at that level for the rest of his or her life [3,4]. Typically in such situations, upper arm function is better than that in the hand [5]. An emerging concept in neural plasticity is that there is competition among body parts for territory in the brain [6-11].

Several studies have been conducted to examine the recovery of the hemiplegic arm in stroke patients. Up to 85% of patients show an initial deficit in the arm. Three to six months later, problems remain in 55% to 75% of patients [12-15]. While recovery of arm function is poor in a significant number of patients. Three quarters of strokes occur in the region supplied by the middle cerebral artery [16]. As a consequence, the upper limb will be affected in a large number of patients. Functional recovery of the arm includes grasping, holding, and manipulating objects, which requires the recruitment and complex integration of muscle activity from shoulder to fingers.

Functional brain imaging studies of healthy subjects suggest that excitability of the primary motor cortex ipsilateral to a unilateral hand movement is facilitated by viewing a mirror reflection of the moving hand [17]. Reorganization of motor functions immediately around the stroke site (ipsilesional) is likely to be important in motor recovery after stroke, and a contribution of other brain areas in the affected hemisphere is also possible. Activation when a subject is doing motor tasks can also occur in the bilateral inferior parietal area, the supplementary motor area, and in the premotor cortex. Furthermore, central adaptations occur in networks controlling the paretic as well as the nonparetic lower limb after stroke [18].

The aim of this study is to find the effect of mirror therapy in rehabilitation of hand function in sub-acute stroke. […]

 

Continue —> Effectiveness of Mirror Therapy in Rehabilitation of Hand Function in Sub-Acute Stroke

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