Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday News

SSTattlerThis is magic - Brain–Computer Interface converted from medical EEG device to public consumer device. Right now it is usable for e.g. stroke clients specially for Locked-In Syndrome, and the person can type with only with thoughts (and forget the mouse/keyboard!), control wheelchair, play games,... There are approximately 10+ companies try make the thought control device and you can buy it right now. We will concentrate on only one company, Emotiv, but you can look at NeuroSkyMyndPlayInteractive ProductlineMind FlexintendiX, ... Hmmm, I will buy it in about 3 years in the future... call me and I will sell you to my very used mouse/keyboard.

(Non-Invasive) Brain–Computer Interface

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguisable from magic" - Arthur C. Clarke, Profiles of The Future
But for the generation after that, it will be normal to control machines using thought alone. Given the awesome adaptability and plasticity of the human brain, ... from New Scientist.

Emotiv Systems From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 

A user wearing a wireless Emotiv EPOC headset.
Emotiv Systems is an Australian electronics company developing brain–computer interfaces based on electroencephalography (EEG) technology. The company was founded in 2003 by four scientists and executives: neuroscientist Professor Allan Snyder, chip-designer Neil Weste, and technology entrepreneurs Tan Le and Nam Do. Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is Geoffrey MacKellar.

(Non-Invasive) Brain–Computer Interface - Video

Download: Emotiv EPOC Specifications

Tan Le: A Headset That Reads Your Brainwaves 

Uploaded on Jul 22, 2010 Tan Le's astonishing new computer interface reads its user's brainwaves, making it possible to control virtual objects, and even physical electronics, with mere thoughts (and a little concentration). She demos the headset, and talks about its far-reaching applications. See

Standard YouTube License @ TED 

Saturday Comics

For Better and For Worse
Lynn Johnston - 2008-08-26

"Where is my grandfather? And Iris?"
Scott Adams - 2013-10-24

"Hey meat-bags! I'm here to take your jobs!"

Jim Davis - 2013-10-25

"Let's re-create that moment."

Delainey & Rasmussen - 2013-10-25

"...with his disgusting halloween display??"

*For Better and For Worse" is a serious topic of stroke but with a very nice cartoons. It is all about Grandpa Jim had a stroke and 88 further cartoon "strips" that happened to Grandpa Jim. See as well 
 the cartoonist Lynn Johnston.
** I tried to get low or free price at the people for the images for the cartoons. It was too high for Stroke Survivors Tattler i.e. we are not a regular newspaper and our budget is very low. Fortunately, you will have to do only 1-click more to see the cartoon image, it is legit and it is free using and
*** Changed from "Pickles" to "Betty" -- "Betty" is a excellent cartoon and Gary Delainey & Gerry Rasmussen are authors/artists/cartoon-strips and they live in Edmonton.

Eclectic Stuff

Definition: Eclectic(noun) a person who derives ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.

UMD Brain Cap Technology Turns Thought into Motion

Dean Reinke
Deans' Stroke Musing
Saturday, August 13, 2011

Dean: I'm not sure I would wear such a cap but I like the idea. 

SSTattler: Try the Emotiv - it is comfortable and wireless!

Mind-Machine Interface Could Lead to New Life-Changing Technologies for Millions of People 

Harsha Agashe, a Ph.D. student in Contreras-Vidal's lab
wears the Brain Cap, a non-invasive, sensor-lined cap
with neural interface software.
Photo Credit - John Consoli,
University of Maryland.
For higher resolution click on image College Park, Md. - "Brain cap" technology being developed at the University of Maryland allows users to turn their thoughts into motion. Associate Professor of Kinesiology José 'Pepe' L. Contreras-Vidal and his team have created a non-invasive, sensor-lined cap with neural interface software that soon could be used to control computers, robotic prosthetic limbs, motorized wheelchairs and even digital avatars.

"We are on track to develop, test and make available to the public- within the next few years - a safe, reliable, noninvasive brain computer interface that can bring life-changing technology to millions of people whose ability to move has been diminished due to paralysis, stroke or other injury or illness," said Contreras-Vidal of the university's School of Public Health.

Snow Shoes for a Stroke Survivor

Rebecca Dutton
Home After  a Stroke
October 16, 2013

Since my stroke I'm careful about venturing outside when it snows, but I'm not trapped inside until spring comes either.  I never walk on snow covered concrete, gravel, or grass. because uneven slippery surfaces are a fall hazard for stroke survivors.  However, once streets, sidewalks, and access to my car are clear I wear boots over my shoes to protect them from the slush.  Boots I tried on at a shoe store would not fit over my leg brace.  My leg brace won't let me point my toes which is a pre-requisite for donning boots.  On-line I found the Neos overshoe with a Velvro opening that goes all the way down to my toes.  The Villager model is lightweight and designed for occasional use which is perfect for me.

A video at shows how to don this boot.  Warning #1: I do not put the boots on while standing as the video shows because I do not have good standing balance.  My boots go on safely while I am sitting.  A trick the video doesn't show is to make the ankle straps as long as I can before I put on the boots.  After I snap the straps closed I pull on the ends of the straps to make them tight.  Warning #2: The first set of boots I ordered was too big so they flopped around when I walked.  Bottom Line: I get good traction from the treads and don't arrive with soggy shoes.  I walk more slowly with boots on, but that beats not being able to keep important appointments like a visit to the doctor.

See the original article:

Speech Therapy For Dysarthria and Slurred Speech

October 20, 2013

Dysarthria  is the term for slurred speech and it often happens following a traumatic brain injury, stroke, aphasia, or neurological disease.

Dysarthric speech sounds as if a person just drank a considerable amount of alcohol.  Most of us have had the opportunity of being somewhere when a person we knew had way too much to drink.  Their speech was slurred, and indistinct.  Following brain injury or insult the motor speech mechanism can be greatly affected and cause slurred speech.  Many have great difficulty understanding people with dysarthric speech.

The speech languaage pathologist or caregiver must show the person with dysarthria a different way of speaking. It will often be a way that is slower, with a greater length of pausing between each spoken word. The speech language pathologist or caregiver must learn to  model the new way of speaking. This can then be done all day long at home within daily interaction using The Teaching of Talking Method.

Contact me if you would like to find out more about The Teaching of Talking Approach to Dysarthria. This is a method that teaches you how to ask questions that will immediately trigger one, two, three words or more in phrases or sentences that are slow enough to be understood by listeners.

The Teaching of Talking is available on our website at  The audio book: Teaching of Talking on

Do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any service to you.


Mark A. Ittleman, M.S., CCC/SLP
Speech Language Pathologist, Author & Lecturer
Taking a Stand for Speaking Clarity Throughout the World

See the original article:

Dog Goldberg Machine by Beneful®

Monty Becker
Stroke Survivors Tattler
Published on Jul 2, 2013

Beneful takes play to new places with this inventive Dog Goldberg machine powered by dogs and their favorite toys.

Play. It's good for you.

Standard YouTube License @ BenefulBrandDogFood

Ambulance Still Best Choice for Stroke Transport

Jeff Porter
Stroke of Faith
October 17, 2013

This is not a big surprise - ambulance still best choice for stroke transport:

If "time is brain," then patients with ischemic stroke should get to the emergency department by ambulance rather than private vehicle, one study suggested.

Arrival times of 3 hours or less were more likely in an ambulance than in a private vehicle..., according to Sheryl Martin-Schild, MD, PhD, of Tulane University in New Orleans, and colleagues.

If you read the entire article, you'll see that ambulance patients are more likely to show up within three hours of stroke onset, which means better chances with the only current treatment available for clot-type strokes.

The final outcomes at discharge, interestingly, of both ambulance-driven and private transportation patients are about the same. However, it's also the case that generally more severe stroke patients arrive by ambulance, while the generally less severe arrive by private transportation. So the ambulance-arriving patients generally start out worse but wind up about the same.

The takeaway on this - know stroke signs, and if you think someone is having a stroke, call an ambulance!

See the original article:

Just a Wee Bit

Jackie Poff
Stroke Survivors Tattler
An extraordinarily handsome man decided he had the responsibility to marry the perfect woman so they could produce beautiful children beyond compare. With that as his mission he began to search for the perfect woman.

Shortly there after he met a Redneck who had three stunning, gorgeous daughters that positively took his breath away. So he explained his mission to the Redneck and asked for permission to marry one of them.

The Redneck simply replied, "They're lookin' to get married, so you came to the right place... Look 'em over and pick the one you want."

The man dated the first daughter. The next day the Redneck asked for the man's opinion...

"Well," said the man, "she's just a weeeeee bit, not that you can hardly notice... pigeon-toed."

The Redneck nodded and suggested the man date one of the other girls; so the man went out with the second daughter.

The next day, the Redneck again asked how things went. "Well,"the man replied, "she's just a weeeee bit, not that you can hardly tell... cross-eyed."

The Redneck nodded and suggested he date the third girl to see if things might be better. So he did.

The next morning the man rushed in exclaiming, "She's perfect, just perfect. She's the one I want to marry."

So they were wed right away. Months later the baby was born. When the man visited the nursery he was horrified: the baby was the ugliest, most pathetic human you can imagine. He rushed to his father-in-law and asked how such a thing could happen considering the beauty of the parents.

"Well," explained the Redneck... "She was just a weeeee bit, not that you could hardly tell... pregnant when you met her."

#StrokeResearch Goes Into Another Gear!

Kate Allatt
A Rocky Stroke Recovery
October 21, 2013

We had a stroke consumer group to present our feasibility study, which went well, very well indeed.

Then, I had a meeting to discuss my idea for ‘nominated patient advocates’ which also seems very promising.

Then, I was approached regarding a speaker booking on the back of my BANN presentation last week.

I was also invited to a conference on the use of social media.

Finally, I just received an email to see if I’m available to speak in Florida next year!

Good week!

See the original article:

Tribal Life

Barb Polan
Barb's Recovery
October 20, 2013

I’m not one to plagiarize, but I ran into a great concept and don’t know its origin, so I’m going to relate it, admitting that it’s not mine, but flummoxed as to whose it is. I ran into it on the tinybuddha page on FB, but in an essay written by a contributor. Of course, FB is the source for all great concepts these days. Here goes:

All of us belong to one or more “tribes,” groups containing people we relate to. The tribes tend to be discrete.

For example, I have my my immediate family tribe; and old college friend, rowing, and neighborhood tribes.

One of my most important tribes these days includes the members of the online stroke survivor community. That tribe comprises the people on the planet (in North America, it turns out) who best understand the road I’ve been travelling during my four-year pilgrimage (per Oliver Sacks, in “A Leg to Stand On”), and are willing and eager to talk about their journeys.

They are the ones who understand, encourage, challenge, and inform me. We also all understand each other’s pain.

And that makes me wonder sometimes whether belonging to the tribe helps or hurts me more.

Every day I encounter someone – sometimes a virtual stranger (as opposed to my virtual friends) on the periphery of my attention – who breaks my heart. I sit in bed in the morning staring at my iPhone and sniffling, or I do a quick online check in the middle of a writing session and have to fetch a box of tissues: the wife of a stroke survivor had a horrendously bad day getting expensive and lousy care for her husband; a one-time survivor has just had a second stroke; or a survivor’s wife has been diagnosed with cancer. None of us deserve any of this, and their grief pierces my heart.

Yes, I understand their pain, and they understand mine.

We are a tribe.

See the original article:

Long-term Health Insurance Is Changing, aka,
You Never Know What Will Bite You in the Ass Next

Joyce Hoffman
The Tales of a Stroke Patient
Oct 21, 2013

If I had to recall the most dominant memories of my parents, they are these: My mother who was overly plump always talked about the next meal, and my father who had a short fuse always yelled at me when I couldn't solve a math problem. That was pretty much it. But both my parents shared something in common. They never talked to me about death. So as a result, I thought I could live forever.

My  friend always says, "You were born to die." I always say, "You were born to live." Who's right? Maybe we both are. I used to daydream that I would be the breakthrough person who be subject to cryogenics intentionally, aka frozen in time, and I would wake up to a planet that seemed more like the Jetsons, a cartoon where everything was in the future like Rosie the Robot and flying saucers. But ever since my stroke, I knew that all of us--even me--have to die. It took me 60 years to realize that.

Many people don't know about long-term health care insurance (LTC), an insurance that kicks in once you're chronically disabled. They have exclusions, of course, and each long-term policy differs. In my case, if I had a stroke (which I did), I need skilled assistance with simple activities such as bathing and eating, so I'm covered. Chronic illnesses or other conditions requiring specific needs on a daily basis over an extended period of time are also covered. The thing about insurance is this: Consider yourself lucky if you don't use it. But that doesn't mean you don't need it. Thinking it won't happen to you, especially if you haven't experienced significant health problems in the past, is foolhardy.

Back on His Feet!

The Pink House On The Corner
Saturday, October 19, 2013

It's been six months since I took Bob out of Outpatient Rehab because of his foot problem. And six months since he has actually stood up or walked on the parallel bars.  In fact, six months without any formal exercise at all. The pins from the last foot surgery were removed on Tuesday and the foot surgeon gave the OK to do some weight bearing exercises.

Of course, Bob did not want to do this, as he still insists his foot "hurts".

Bob & PT, first time on his feet in six months!
The pain in his toes is baffling both the foot surgeon and the pain management doc. The foot surgeon says "it should be feeling better by now" and suggests maybe Bob's got some kind of nerve pain going on. The pain management doctor thinks that Bob is "fixated" on the pain, that because of his brain damage, he has "nothing else to occupy his mind" and therefore becomes "fixed" on his foot and the pain sensation which only makes it worse....

I don't know which doctor is right. But I figured, it was time to try to get him back on his feet.

So I made a deal with Bob. I told him that I would drop my idea about checking him into the hospital for inpatient therapy (he absolutely does not want to do this) IF he can get up on his own two feet here at home. And he agreed to try.

Building the Recovery Wall

Peter G. Levine
Stronger After  Stroke Blog
Saturday, October 19, 2013

Scott Gallagher posted a comment to a previous blog post. I'll paste that comment at the bottom.

What caught my eye in his comment is the conflict between repetition and quality. The conflict goes like this: If you do a ton of repetitions you may not concentrate on quality. If you concentrate on quality you may not hit enough repetitions.

I do a lot of talks about stroke recovery to clinicians. There is a small but vocal group of therapists who believe that if you don't focus on quality you may as well not practice. "Perfect practice means perfect recovery." I completely disagree. What if the survivor doesn't move perfectly? The answer by these clinicians is "I use hand over hand techniques to make sure that they do." Basically, they move the stroke survivor in the proper arc of movement. (BTW: the original quote was, "Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect." - Vince Lombardi. Vince Lombardi was dealing with professional athletes. If he was coaching peewee football his quote would've been "We're not asking for perfection, we're asking you practice.")

Sunday Stroke Survival ~ Enjoying Life

Jo Murphhey
The Murphey Saga
Sunday, October 20, 2013

My daughter posted this picture on her FaceBook page. I didn't even know that she took it. The point spite of my stroke, I am living life to the fullest and being me.

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in being a stroke survivor and full of regret over what we lost that we lose sight over what is really important.

Yes, This is the new me!
Yes, the destination of trying to be whole again is  important. We get so wrapped up in relearning and rehab that we fail to remember that journey is just as crucial if not more so in importance.

I was reminded of that this day. I was making corn dogs in my cake pop maker. They are little and just the right size for my 22 month old grandson, James, to eat. I was engrossed with being grandma and spending time with my grandson. Yes, the fact that I'm paralyzed on one side is a factor. Yes, I'm having to sit on a chair to cook because of balance issues with an ear infection. Yes, he's having to hold a bag so I can put them in so he can take some home. He got the hot dogs out of the package so I could cut them up. James stirred in the hot dogs into the corm muffin mix while I held the bowl. He set the twisting wind up timer for the cooking time. Not always correctly, but he isn't yet two years old.

BUT the value of the time spent with him was priceless.

Cheer Up

Oct 20, 2013

I need some cheering up right now.  I don’t know why a cat with a permanent frown on its face makes me laugh so much but it does.  Here…….these pictures cheered me up……

Rethink Pink

Pamela Hsieh
Rehab Revolution
15 October 2013

I decided to repost this article, originally published on Refinery29, with Felicity’s permission. With October now in full swing, I felt called to help her truly spread awareness of the reality of breast cancer rather than just following a “trendy” and charismatic marketing movement that sweeps the nation once a year.

It especially resonated with me because I am all too familiar with the alienating nature of surviving what is often considered an “older person’s” malady. . . .

As teenagers, we considered ourselves immortal. This idea carried over into our 20s, and we imagine it will linger the first few years of our 30s. We have genuinely lived as if nothing bad could ever happen to us, because our lives were too great, too important to be interrupted. Though this devil-may-care attitude has been responsible for some of the greatest memories of our lives, it's easy to forget that we are not immune to danger, that we have reached an age where we must learn to take care of ourselves and be mindful of the future of our health. Case in point? Felicity Palma is a 29-year-old woman living with breast cancer.

As a gut reaction, you’re probably thinking that Palma is way too young for cancer. After all, haven’t we assumed that the big C is something that could happen, but only later in life, after we have kids, or become aunts, possibly grandmothers? Certainly not to young, talented photographers living in Brooklyn at the prime of their lives. But sure enough, this unlikelihood is exactly what Palma faced. “The problem with being so young and uninsured, is that it takes quite a bit of effort to get any attention. My doctor at the breast center felt the lump, shrugged, and said it was probably a cyst. Even after multiple inconclusive (and mind you, expensive-as-hell) tests, my doctor was still convinced that because I was young, that it just could not possibly have been something to worry about.” Though the process was more drawn out than Palma would have hoped, she is still grateful she pushed her doctor for testing until they had answers.

What I've Been Doing Lately

Grace Carpenter
My Happy Stroke
Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Recently I haven't been posting a lot. Here are some of the things I've been doing, instead of blogging:
making dinner - some grocery shopping - taking my son to piano lessons and nagging him to practice - looking over the kids' homework - driving myself into the city once a week to go to a class for people who have aphasia - driving once a week to the YMCA to work out - shopping for clothes for the kids and myself - organizing four years of photos - walking to school to pick up the kids four days a week - scheduling various medical, dental, and other appointments - trying to play piano for 20 minutes a day - managing social calendars for myself and the kids - writing emails - doing yoga on the living room floor, ...
Compared to most people -- especially if they have a job -- my life unfolds at a slow pace. But it's a huge jump from my activity level a year ago, and I'm very pleased about that. I do wish, though, that I didn't feel exhausted all the time.

See the original article:

The Many Faces of Stroke

Canadian Partnership
Stroke Recovery
Published on Oct 11, 2013

Stroke has many faces, and can happen to anyone, at any time. When it does happen, it can be devastating. Survivors may have to relearn basic skills such as walking, talking, planning and decision making. However, recovery is possible. This video shows how covert stroke, a stroke in young adulthood or a major stroke in mid-career can affect survivors, and how CSR research is helping people on the long road to recovery.

Standard YouTube License @ Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery

Thought Controlled Computing is Here

Published on Jan 23, 2013

Co-founder and CEO of InteraXon Ariel Garton provokes us to consider the possibility of interacting with the world using only our minds. Through thought-controlled computing products and applications, we are not only able to control objects with our minds, but humans might experience real relationships with computers.

Standard YouTube License @ TEDxTalks

RMR: Rick at Toronto Rehab

Published on Mar 5, 2013

Rick visits a leading centre for rehabilitation research and takes part in experiments aimed at improving quality of life for Canadians.

Standard YouTube License @ The Rick Mercer Report


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Saturday News


EEG - Electroencephalography

SSTattler: For example, they try to find out if you have/had seizure using the EEG; lots of many other techniques.

       From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An EEG recording at Dalhousie University
Electroencephalography (EEG) is the recording of electrical activity along the scalp. EEG measures voltage fluctuations resulting from ionic current flows within the neurons of the brain. In clinical contexts, EEG refers to the recording of the brain's spontaneous electrical activity over a short period of time, usually 20–40 minutes, as recorded from multiple electrodes placed on the scalp. Diagnostic applications generally focus on the spectral content of EEG, that is, the type of neural oscillations that can be observed in EEG signals. In neurology, the main diagnostic application of EEG is in the case of epilepsy, as epileptic activity can create clear abnormalities on a standard EEG study. A secondary clinical use of EEG is in the diagnosis of coma, encephalopathies, and brain death. A third clinical use of EEG is for studies of sleep and sleep disorders where recordings are typically done for one full night, sometimes more. EEG used to be a first-line method for the diagnosis of tumors, stroke and other focal brain disorders, but this use has decreased with the advent of anatomical imaging techniques with high (<1 mm) spatial resolution such as MRI and CT. Despite limited spatial resolution, EEG continues to be a valuable tool for research and diagnosis, especially when millisecond-range temporal resolution (not possible with CT or MRI) is required.

EEG - Electroencephalography - Video

How the Brain Works, EEG, Electrical Activity of Brain 

Published on May 17, 2012

This video attempts to explain the working of the brain through mapping out the electrical activity of the brain - Electro-encephalogram (EEG)

Standard YouTube License @ DrProdigious 

Saturday Comics

For Better and For Worse
Lynn Johnston - 2008-08-19

"But, he's going to pull through..."
Scott Adams - 2013-10-18

"I'm working on a new facial expression to scare..."

Jim Davis - 2013-10-16

"Towels $2.00..."

Delainey & Rasmussen - 2013-10-17

"...not that I'm an expert on cold war geopolitics."

*For Better and For Worse" is a serious topic of stroke but with a very nice cartoons. It is all about Grandpa Jim had a stroke and 88 further cartoon "strips" that happened to Grandpa Jim. See as well 
 the cartoonist Lynn Johnston.
** I tried to get low or free price at the people for the images for the cartoons. It was too high for Stroke Survivors Tattler i.e. we are not a regular newspaper and our budget is very low. Fortunately, you will have to do only 1-click more to see the cartoon image, it is legit and it is free using and
*** Changed from "Pickles" to "Betty" -- "Betty" is a excellent cartoon and Gary Delainey & Gerry Rasmussen are authors/artists/cartoon-strips and they live in Edmonton.

Eclectic Stuff

Definition: Eclectic(noun) a person who derives ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.


Barb Polan
Barb's Recovery
31st July 2010

On Thursday, I had the new experience of having an EEG, despite the trouble in my brain since last November, I had not yet undergone the test before.

One state that the neurologists wanted to see my brain waves during was sleep, so to ensure that I would sleep during at least a portion of the test, the asked that I go to bed as usual the night before and then wake up at midnight and stay awake until showing up for the test at 5:30 a.m. To do so, Tom set the alarm for midnight, I got up and sat in the recliner reading until it was time to get ready - 4 o'clock.

Video Game Training Improves Cognitive Control in Older Adults

Dean Reinke
Deans' Stroke Musing
Monday, September 16, 2013

We probably need better cognitive control right after a stroke. Your doctor will need to convince the powers that be that video game expenses are absolutely necessary for stroke rehab. Do you really think your doctor can do that simple task?

Researchers found that seniors who play a 3-D video game improve their ability to sustain focus and multitask successfully. The results highlight the potential of the aging brain to improve certain skills.

A study participant playing a video game
designed to enhance cognitive control.
Image courtesy of UCSF.
As we age, changes in our brain can affect our cognitive abilities and memory. One function that may be altered is multitasking—the ability to simultaneously accomplish multiple goals. Multitasking behavior is becoming more common because of new technologies and demands. For example, you may type an email or text message while talking on the phone. When driving a car, you simultaneously perform numerous tasks, such as scanning the road, steering, and using the brakes.