Saturday, October 31, 2015

Saturday News

Contents of This Week Saturday News ▶︎ October 31 / 2015
Oliver Wolf Sacks, CBE, FRCP (9 July 1933 – 30 August 2015) was a British neurologist and author who spent his professional life in the United States. He felt that the brain was the "most incredible thing in the universe" and therefore important to study. He became widely known for writing best-selling case histories about his patients disorders, with some of his books adapted for film and stage. A longer definition comes from Wikipedia.
          - Oliver Sacks (1933 – 2015) on Using Imagination to See
          - A Brain That Can't Hear Music
          - Oliver Sacks Discusses New Topics in Neurology
          - Oliver Sacks on Medicine and Humanism
          - Oliver Sacks on Manipulating the Brain
          - Oliver Sacks on Charles Darwin
          - Oliver Sacks on Writing
          - Oliver Sacks and How the iPod Changes Us
          - Oliver Sacks on Hallucinations
          - Oliver Sacks Has Questions about the Brain
          - Oliver Sacks on the Left and Right Brain
          - Oliver Sacks on Medical Research
    Saturday News | Future Topic

    Nov/28/2015   | 
    Pediatric Stroke
    Nov/21/2015   | 
    Tie Two-End Shoelaces with One-Hand?
    Nov/14/2015   | 
    3D Printing
    Nov/07/2015   | 
    Blood Pressure

    Definition: Dr. Oliver Wolf Sacks

    Oliver Sacks From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    SSTattler: "Sacks was the author of numerous best-selling books, mostly collections of case studies of people with neurological disorders.” You will have to read books from Sacks,... some are very good, very interesting, and partly about “stroke”. Try, for example, he wrote "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” and published in 1985. He died August 31, 2015.

    Oliver Wolf Sacks - Physician, Professor, Author
    at the 2009 Brooklyn Book Festival
    Oliver Wolf Sacks, CBE, FRCP (9 July 1933 – 30 August 2015) was a British neurologist and author who spent his professional life in the United States. He felt that the brain was the "most incredible thing in the universe" and therefore important to study. He became widely known for writing best-selling case histories about his patients' disorders, with some of his books adapted for film and stage.

    After studying at The Queen's College, Oxford, where he received his medical degrees in 1960, he moved to the U.S. and completed his residency in neurology at Mount Zion Hospital in San Francisco. He relocated to New York in 1965, where he became professor of neurology at New York University School of Medicine. Between 2007 and 2012, he was professor of neurology and psychiatry at Columbia University, where he also held the position of "Columbia Artist", which recognized his contributions to art and science. He was also a faculty member at Yeshiva University's Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and a visiting professor at the University of Warwick.

    Sacks was the author of numerous best-selling books, mostly collections of case studies of people with neurological disorders. His writings have been featured in a wider range of media than any other contemporary medical author; the The New York Times called him a "poet laureate of contemporary medicine". His books included a wealth of narrative detail about his experiences with patients, and how they coped with their conditions, often illuminating how the normal brain deals with perception, memory and individuality.

    Awakenings (1973), an autobiographical account of his efforts to help people with encephalitis lethargica regain proper neurological function, was adapted into the Academy Award-nominated film in 1990, starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro. He and his book Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain were the subject of "Musical Minds", an episode of the PBS series Nova. In 2008 Sacks was awarded a CBE for services to literature during the Queen's Birthday Honours.

    Early Life

    Video: Dr. Oliver Wolf Sacks

    1. There is at least a thousand YouTubes about Oliver Sacks. I took a sub-subset of Big Think on YouTube below. 
    2. See his site - Oliver Sacks, M.D. 
    3. Look at SSTattler with Face Blindness(Prosopagnosia) and Oliver Sacks: Musicophilia-Strokes, Language and Music.

    Oliver Sacks (1933 – 2015) on Using Imagination to See


    Oliver Wolf Sacks (1933 – 2015), a British neurologist and writer, was professor of neurology at New York University School of Medicine and professor of neurology and psychiatry at Columbia University. He also held the position of "Columbia Artist," which recognized his contributions to art and science. Sacks was diagnosed with terminal metastatic liver cancer in January 2015. He died on 30 August 2015 in his home in Manhattan at the age of 82 from the disease.

    The New York Times said of his passing this morning:
    "Describing his patients’ struggles and sometimes uncanny gifts, Dr. Sacks helped introduce syndromes like Tourette’s or Asperger’s to a general audience. But he illuminated their characters as much as their conditions; he humanized and demystified them. 
    In his emphasis on case histories, Dr. Sacks modeled himself after a questing breed of 19th-century physicians, who well understood how little they and their peers knew about the workings of the human animal and who saw medical science as a vast, largely uncharted wilderness to be tamed."

    A Brain That Can't Hear Music

    Published on Apr 23, 2012

    Oliver Sacks discusses some bizarre cases from his most recent book "Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain."

    Standard YouTube License @ Big Think

    Headline Blog: Dr. Oliver Wolf Sacks

    Definition: Blog (noun). Add new material to or regularly update to a blog. (≃1990s: blog shortening of weblog)

    Oliver Sacks – An Inspiration to All,
          Especially Those of Us With Sizzled Noggin!

    Tim Seefeldt
    Brain Food Cafe for the Mind
    Posted August 31, 2015

    I was sad – at first – when I saw the news Sunday night that Oliver Sacks had passed away. The writer and neurologist died following a battle with cancer at age 82.

    But when my frown on this news turned quickly into a smile, I realized that this was a man who really lived and that no passing like his can spend much time on the gloom before being overwhelmed by the joy and healing he provided so, so many. Both through his words and science

    I never got to meet Oliver Sacks. For that I’m sad. But I did correspond with him once through his assistant and a note that he sent me that I’ll always treasure. Not long after my stroke, as I was struggling to learn to read and write again, I stumbled on to a BBC piece featuring some of his cases. One was about the Canadian crime writer, Howard Engel, whose words had been taken from him following a stroke.

    It was the first time I’d heard of anybody with stroke damage remotely like my own. And it was my first time seeing Oliver Sacks through the broader lenses of his amazing work.

    I connected with Engle and Sacks within days of seeing the piece. And I started to devour their books with this new lens.

    There are loads of docs out there and likely many more writers. I can’t think of many whose work has touched so many people so profoundly. One of Oliver Sacks’ careers would have been a huge blessing to the world. How awesome and inspiring it is that his life was so profound and unselfish serving as both a writer and a neurologist!


    See the original article:

    A Nursing Home Mini-Series:
          Seeing Things That Aren't There, aka Hallucinations

    Joyce Hoffman
    The Tales of a Stroke Patient
    Aug 19, 2014

    Maggy was a fall risk, never knowing when she would pass out, and Beatrice, who fell in her kitchen, had an IV bag attached to her arm because she was dehydrated. They were relegated to their rooms for all activities, including therapy. And Cassey was, at last, home. So I had to find a new "eating" table, the most popular activity in the nursing home.

    I chose to sit with Tillie because no one else wanted to. Tillie was always seeing things. She was 92 years old and she talked about the cats she saw so clearly on her feet, in the garden, through the plants. But there were no cats to be seen. She had a stroke 12 years ago, had macular degeneration, had a recent fall, and she was hallucinating. She was healthy otherwise, knowing that people rejected her but not knowing why.

    During breakfast, she said, "Of course, the mother cat looked after her offspring. She was tawny in color and searching for food the kittens could eat." And she described the kittens, one being all white and one being striped. And she had a vision of dogs playing in the courtyard of our nursing home--one a blonde cocker spaniel, the other a tan and black beagle.

    So I decided to do some research on seeing things that weren't there.

    Music Magic?

    Steven H. Cornelius
    Music and Stroke
    Posted on April 13, 2012

    A couple of days ago, two different colleagues sent me a video link showing music’s effect on “Henry,” a mostly disfunctional elderly gentleman residing in a New York City nursing home [YouTube - Man In Nursing Home Reacts To Hearing Music From His Era]. Henry’s response to music is remarkable. When the music plays he is mentally alert and motorically active. Clearly, for Henry, this music is activating many cognitive connections.

    All this is very interesting, maybe even wonderful, but I need more details. First of all, I want to know about the long-term effects of Henry’s continued exposure to music. Does his newfound alertness last a significant amount of time after the music has stopped?

    Dr. Oliver Sacks states, “The effect of this doesn’t stop.” But there is little evidence of a lasting effect in the scene before Henry gets the earphones. Surely what we see is was not the first time Henry plugged in.

     Does Henry respond to a wide range of musical sounds and styles? Why, or why not?

     Does Henry continue to respond equally fully to the same music on repeated listenings?

     What does Henry’s animation really signify? Is he suddenly “with it”? Is he even more “with it” after repeated listenings?

     There are many more questions. Perhaps the upcoming film screening [Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory] will provide some answers.

    Perhaps I am missing something, but it is not my experience that music is a magic “on” button for emotional, physical, and/or spiritual vitality (even though perhaps everyone who loves music has experienced such effects at least once, however fleeting).

    See the original article:

    Tribal Life

    Barb Polan
    Barb’s Recovery
    Posted 20th October 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:

    Visual Hallucinations in the Elderly

    Bill Yates
    Brain Posts
    Posted 20th September 2009

    Oliver Sacks presented a TED talk related to the phenomenon of visual hallucations in the elderly known as the Charles Bonnet syndrome.

    In the case history, he describes an elderly woman who has been blind for 5 years due to macular degeneration. She has the sudden onset of seeing people in eastern dress, deformed faces with abnormal teeth. Additionally she reports seeing blue and red squares.

    Sacks goes on to note that hallucinations are common in elderly patients---10% of deaf elderly patients have auditory hallucinations, 10% of blind elderly patients report visual hallucinations. The visual hallucinations of the elderly as described in the Charles Bonnet syndrome have the following characteristics:
    1. Occur in the context of acquired visual impairment
    2. Limited to visual sensations
    3. Common content: deformed people, objects in mid-air, cartoons
    4. Like a silent movie, but no specific meaning of interpersonal content
    Neuroimaging studies of patients with Charles Bonnet syndrome note that lack of external visual input can result in occipital cortex hyperactivity (cortical release phenomenon). Patients may then experience to the visual hallucinations of the Bonnet syndrome.

    Explaining the benign nature of the condition can often be helpful, as patients may assume the symptoms are due to emerging mental disorders.

    Hat tip to Mind Hacks

    Reference: Kazui H et al:Neuroimaging studies in patients with Charles Bonnet Syndrome. Psychogeriatrics. 2009 Jun;9(2):77-84.

    Reference Abstract

    Standard YouTube License @ TED

    See the original article:

    The Words to Say It

    Grace Carpenter
    My Happy Stroke
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

    A little more than a year after stroke, my therapies were winding down. I needed to try something new, maybe a class. Several family members and friends suggested seated Tai Chi or yoga classes. I tried to be enthusiastic.

    People assumed that I would be more comfortable in a chair. It was hard for me to move, right? But when I finally went to the gentle, i.e. seated, yoga class, I knew it was the wrong thing. I stopped going.

    At that point in my recovery, there were still so many thoughts that I couldn’t articulate because of my aphasia. But there were other thoughts I couldn’t say because my vocabulary, even pre-stroke, didn’t include many neurological terms. I was lucky that I had heard the word aphasia before the stroke, thanks to writer Oliver Sacks. But the word proprioception--and the concept--were still new to me. After the stroke, it took me a long time to figure out that the general feeling of loss on my right side was different than say, the numbness I had felt from local anesthesia at the dentist’s office. In fact, I’m still mulling over the difference between lack of sensation and lack of proprioception.

    So I couldn't explain that it felt precarious to do exercises in a chair, especially the flimsy chairs at the yoga class. Not because of balance issues, really, but because I didn’t know where the right side of the chair--or my body--was.

    About a year ago, I found a great yoga teacher. She comes to my house about once a month. Most of the standing poses are beyond me, although sometimes my teacher cajoles me into trying a standing pose with the kitchen table to stabilize me. But usually, we work on the living room floor. When I need to stand up, I do have enough strength to haul myself up with mostly with my left leg, or  using the couch as a prop.

    But I like being on the floor. There aren't any edges.

    See the original article:

    Eclectic Stuff

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

    The 2 Minute Survivor Exam That Tells You a Ton

    Peter G. Levine
    Stronger After Stroke
    Thursday, October 15, 2015

    I've been involved in a lot of trials that have involved brain scanning. (example).

    But I've never been a big fan of using brain scans to try to predict the deficit. In school we were taught to look at the artery that was blocked. The artery that was blocked leading to the brain or in the brain was supposed to give you some indication about what deficits were.

    I would suggest this is where neurology and physiatry on one hand-- and neuroscience on the other-- kind of disagree. The neurologist and phsyiatrist say that this info (brain scan and/or artery blocked) helps determine the deficit, and even the chance of recovery.

    But neuroscientists would suggest that, because the brain wiring is "random access" (that any part of the brain may be wired to any other part of the brain), looking at a brain scan maybe grossly predictive, but really tells you not much at all.

    In all my seminars I suggest that the thing to do is to examine the patient in a very limited way.

    Here's suggestions that will give you global insight into the potential for recovery:

    1. Can they move their hand? First, let's define "hand movement." I would suggest that hand movement is any movement from the wrist to fingers, in any direction. The easiest movement for most survivors is closing (fist) the hand. The problem is that many strokes survivors think that they can't close their hand. If they think they can't, do this:
    • Bend (technically: Flex) the wrist. This will allow you to open the fingers. 
    • Put the elbow in more than 90° of extension (more straight than a"shake hands" position) 
    • With your fingers inside the palm ask the survivor to try to touch their chin. 
    • This will force the flexor synergy into play, and if they are able, the fingers will flex and you'll feel the pressure on your fingers. Voilà: they have hand movement! From that you can determine potential for recovery of the hand. (Hint: there is potential).

    Losing Your Speech is a Pain

    Beth Sinfield
    Beth's Story
    Saturday, 24 October 2015

    So being locked-in meant that I completely lost my voice.

    So how did I communicate, I hear you ask?

    Well I went through many 'phases', shall we say; firstly I rolled my eyes up for yes and then down for no. Seriously it was awful. You're stuck inside your own mind, all these thoughts rushing around your head and you have absolutely no way of telling anyone. You can only answer to yes or no questions. I'm also a bit of perfectionist/have a bit of OCD so I always want things a certain way, well my way. So when I got a pain or ache in my neck from being in a crooked position, obviously I couldn't tell them or point to the problem so I just waited for them to move my neck. It was like trial and error. The nurses would work their way through a list of body parts until I rolled my eyes up for yes.

    Second, I would squeeze people's hands, once I had regained a little movement in my right hand. And I really mean little. The 'squeeze' was encouraged but often failed through me getting fatigued, so my trusty eye rolling was my fall-back.

    You know just after you've woken up and you feel like all your strength has just disappeared? Like, you can't squeeze your hand tightly for a while? That's what it was like.

    Then I used an E-tran frame. (For those that don't know, I'm sorry I couldn't post a picture, it won't work!) :(

    So it's a clear plastic frame with a hole in the middle. The person you are talking to raises the frame up so that their head is in the hole. The person talking then uses eye gaze to indicate on the frame what letter they want. Yes, it was very tiring and an extremely long way of communicating, but hey, it had to be done.

    Post #737! Changing to Feeling Positive Vibrations Only

    Diana Smith
    Beyond Reality
    October 19, 2015

    I started reading a book that I downloaded awhile back onto my kindle. It is going to let me know how to get in sync with the Universe to have positive vibrations instead of negative. I really need this right at the moment. My negative vibrations are so hard to shake lately. I felt so good knowing that I was finally going to have the answer to what I have always wondered, “Why Not Me?”. So good in fact I stopped reading it to go get some chores done…lol. I hope to finish it next time I am taking a break.

    My vitamins have really helped knock the sickness out of me. My lungs do not hurt anymore. I hope to wake up earlyish to take my car to get some of the tires fixed. The tires are the only nightmare of my car, except for it needing to be detailed all the time. I hope this is the last time I need to take it back. The waiting room is so boring there and it smells like tires. I hope to remember to bring my kindle so I can finish reading about being positively in sync.

    See the original article:

    50 Shades of Pets’ Protection

    Sas Freeman
    October 19, 2015

    For many of us, our pets are members of our family but for some of us they are eve more than that: Protectors and guardians of a different sense. I talk of our darling whippet, Ego in my book, how she sensed my stroke and her out of character behaviour that day prevented me from remaining asleep, forced me to continue to try for help. Her protection lasted long after that. She missed me so much all the time I remained in hospital. Every time I left the house following my stay in hospital, despite it being a year later, she would come out to the car to greet me and to check I had returned. On the occasions things had deteriorated and I had been forced to return to hospital she would lie next to me or very gently across me in a protective manner as if to indicate to the paramedics my fragility. She would not harm anyone but only when she was satisfied the paramedics were treating me for my benefit would she move aside, but that said she would follow to the ambulance and watch on whilst I was settled inside. She would lick my stroke side where I was void of feeling and do the same to my father’s arm as he too has had a stroke. My parents’ dog, Lily, also acts in this way and is my father’s shadow.

    We sadly lost Ego, she too had a stroke, this was such a difficult and sad time for us, she left such a huge whole in our lives. Henry handled everything with such maturity and strength doing all the right things for her and to help me, yet inside he was hurting as I was but he was trying to help me as was Nick.

    Stressed Out? Then Watch Out - This Might Happen to You

    Jeff Porter
    Stroke of Faith
    Thursday, October 22, 2015

    Photo by bottled_void
    from Flickr
    I was in a stressful situation - by my own making and ambition - when my stroke happened. Did that increase my risk?

    A bit of an unanswerable question at this late date, but there's some research that might indicate a link that a high strain job increases stroke risk:

    ▶ The association between exposure to high job strain and an increased risk of stroke was particularly pronounced in ischemic stroke and in women but not in hemorrhagic stroke or in men, according to Dingli Xu, MD, of Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China, and colleagues. ...

    ▶ In an accompanying editorial, Jennifer J. Majersik of the Stroke Center at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, UT, pointed out that none of the six studies included in the meta-analysis adjusted for vascular risk factors or captured measures of inflammation and metabolism. As a result, there may be unmeasured factors mediating stroke risk, she said.

    ▶ "Once there is further clarity on this issue, high job strain may be considered an independent stroke risk factor -- and one that is potentially modifiable," she wrote.

    ▶ In the meantime, Majersik said she answers patients' questions about whether stress caused their stroke with a definite "Maybe."

    See the original article:

    Meditation and Physical Therapy

    Amy Shissler
    January 7, 2015

    A search term on my blog the other day was “meditation and stroke recovery.”  So I searched this term myself on both Google and the Yahoo search engine and my blog came up on the second page of the Google search results and on the first page of the Yahoo search results.  That’s pretty cool.  Yay for me.  The results of that search led to me to a bunch of other sites.  A few of those sites were research articles about meditation.  One in particular kind of made me cringe.  Here it is.  Below is a copy and pasted line from that research article which is from an international, online, peer-reviewed medical journal.  ‘Peer-reviewed’ is considered the best kind of evidence according to the powers that be.

    “The study concluded that meditation along with conventional physiotherapy management is more effective than conventional physiotherapy alone in the management of stroke.  Thus, in post stroke rehabilitation, meditation should be incorporated in the management regime of stroke patients.”

    There are lots of other research articles similar to this one.  This is the first one I have seen though that specifically talks about rehab and meditation together. The fact that meditation is not recommended by neurologists makes me angry and upset.  If I hadn’t found through MY research a bunch of stuff about meditation it never would have been recommended to me.  By anyone.  That’s sick.  That’s just sick.  It’s not right.  The fact that meditation is not required for treating brain injuries is just – it’s not just ignorance now, it’s flat-out negligence in my opinion.  Anyone that I ever have as a patient in the future, guess what will be STRONGLY recommended.

    See the original article:

    Snow Strategies Are Here

    Rebecca Dutton
    Home After a Stroke
    October 17, 2015

    It is October and I cannot believe I already have to use my first snow strategy.  I am paying for the frostbite I endured when I was growing up because girls were not allowed to wear pants to high school.  Imagine walking a mile in below freezing weather with bare knees because you are wearing a skirt and knee high socks.  I arrived at school with hard, white blotches of frostbite every cold winter day.  I think the repeated frostbite killed the oil glands in my skin.  The skin on my legs is extremely dry so I have to apply skin cream after every shower even though it is still 20 degrees above freezing.

    After I put on my underwear and top I use my teeth to pull a disposable glove on my sound hand so I will not get skin cream in my hair and make-up.  I sit on the closed seat of my toilet and pump a line of skin cream on one thigh.  With my sound index finger I pick up skin cream and spread it on my calves and the front of both thighs.  I wish I could tell you how good this feels.  I let the skin cream soak in while I fix my hair and put on make-up.  No scratching dry skin through my pants.  The skin cream has the same subtle scent as my shower gel so there are no competing odors.  Happy.  Happy.  Happy.

    See the original article:

    5 Simple Steps to Overcome Procrastination
          (To Accomplish The Important Things in Life)

    Mark A. Ittleman
    The Teaching of Talking
    Oct 28 / 2015

    If you are anything like me, you may have trials and tribulations and put off the things that really must get done. Often we are in over-whelm by circumstances that distract us from really accomplishing the most vital things of what we must do. Have you been procrastinating when it comes to:
    1. Your health and well being.
    2. Exercise, Diet and Nutrition
    3. Time to do those fun things that just keep getting put off.
    4. Taking time to get your spiritual or religious house into order.
    5. Learning something new (like learning how to help a loved one or client speak better)
    6. Starting a hobby you always wanted to pursue. 
    All of us have challenges like the ones above. There are some simple steps to overcome our procrastination. But let’s get one thing straight. It’s not that we are procrastinating. It’s just that we have not put the time aside to decide what and when we want to do something that is usually new and different for us.

    One of the reasons why we procrastinate is because a task conflicts with our established habits. When we try to do something that is out of our typical routine it takes effort and willpower to complete it. (especially if unpleasant like doing something that we have never done before, or thought we could never do.)

    Recovery Beyond Two Years

    Marcelle Greene
    Up Stroke
    Friday, October 23, 2015

    I am five years post-stroke. Two-and-a-half years ago I started working with a new therapist. I hinted about the work we’re doing in Rehab From Rehab, but I’ve avoided specifics for two reasons:
    1. I could not imagine how to write about his techniques.
    2. I didn’t want to report on techniques that did not deliver results.
    I’m heartened to state now that I have improved and there is good reason to believe I will continue to improve. How much? Will I ever be able to use my hand? No one knows.

    I have recently been in touch with a stroke survivor and new reader to my blog who seemed to want assurance that a second round of Botox injections on a spastic forearm would yield a worthwhile result. While I wrote back with encouraging details of my Botox experience, I think my most important point was this: I would have lost heart and gone insane years ago if I’d been focusing on the result.

    The information we stroke survivors want to hear is that we’re going to get better and how long it’s going to take. The past few years have taught me to shift my attention to the process and to focus on enjoying my life today.

    I understand that it can be demoralizing to invest the time, money, and emotional energy in therapy when there is no immediate evidence of a result. In Stolen Identity, I wrote about the types of motivation that keep us going in an exercise regimen – the most helpful being the “identity motivator.”

    Yes, I’ve continued therapy past the two-year mark and it has yielded incremental results. But I’m going to keep doing therapy because I’ve made the decision that’s who I am.

    Next post: About my new therapist

    See the original article:

    Damn Brain!

    Living After Stroke
    On Friday mornings, Freddy and I go to breakfast and are at acupuncture at 8:00am. I’m up at 5:30 to shower and get ready.

    The frustrations of stroke are endless.
    What started as a great day quickly
    turned into a challenging one.
    Stroke brain took over
    and refused to cooperate.
    We just started doing this about 2 months ago when my fabulous neighbor bought me a transport chair to leave in my car. I can drive but I can’t manage the chair so this way my wheelchair stays in the house. I drive myself home and Freddy drives to work.

    I’ve gradually been having a harder time getting in the driver’s seat. To begin with, I’m short and I have a van. I need to boost myself up to get in. The seats are cloth so no sliding. They actually grab my pants and make it difficult to move my butt. I also have nothing to grab onto to help me pull myself up.

    I don’t have a problem in the passenger seat. I have a handle to grab onto, no steering wheel in the way and I put my bad leg in first.

    It’s currently 7:30am. I haven’t had breakfast and I’m not in the car on the way to acupuncture.

    I melted for the first time in months. Rivers of tears flowed. I became a blubbering idiot.

    Brain Fail

    Weekly Columnists

    Definition: Columnist |ˈkäləmnist| (noun). A blogger or a journalist contributing regularly to a blog or newspaper

    Musing: Book Reading List for Stroke Rehab

    Dean Reinke
    Deans’ Stroke Musing
    Friday, October 8, 2010

    Because I was told nothing I started reading to figure out what I could do for my recovery. This is the list of books I read and my thoughts on their usefulness.

    Here are the books I've read on neuroplasticity. These are the ones that should be required reading.
    • The Mind and the Brain : Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force / Jeffrey m. Schwartz and Sharon Begley.
    • Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves / Sharon Begley
    • The Brain That Changes Itself : Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science / Norman Doidge.
    • Neurological rehabilitation Carr / Janet H.
    • Stronger After Stroke / Peter Levine The best book by far. This one is worth buying

    This one is about neurogenesis which I think the future of stroke rehab will be based on.
    • Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain / John J. Ratey, MD.
    • Phantoms in the Brain : Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind / v.s. Ramachandran, and Sandra Blak
    • My Stroke of Insight / Dr. Jill Taylor
    • Change in the Weather: Life After Stroke / Mark McEwen
    • Don't Leave Me This Way: Or When I Get Back on My Feet You'll Be Sorry / Julia Fox Garrison
    • Still Here : Embracing Aging, Changing, and Dying / Ram Dass ; Edited by Mark Matousek and Marlene Roeder.
    • Brain, Heal Thyself: A Caregiver’s New Approach to Recovery from Stroke, Aneurysm, And Traumatic Brain Injuries Madonna Siles

    Sunday Stroke Survival:
          The Efficacy of Botox and the Autumnal Slump

    Jo Murphey
    The Murphey Saga
    Sunday, October 25, 2015

    Tis the season...for Botox semi failure. For two years in a row the autumn series of Botox only has limited effect. In talking to therapists and other stroke survivors who receive autumnal injections, they stated I'm not alone in this. Although there are no studies that document this effect, alas, it appears to be fairly common.

    I'm left wondering why this is. Is it weather factors? It is chillier. For us down south it's a damp chilliness. The kind that seeps into your bones. Is the arthritis flares that make us perceive an ineffective results of the shots. It's a possibility. It could also be an age factor affecting the injections. But why only autumn? Why not other times of the year?

    All I know is that this Botox series is a bust. The spasticity in my leg and arm have had little response to the Botox. So I can expect no improvement or recovery of the spastic muscles. It means no forward progress and I strongly dislike this. I always strive for progress, don't we all? While my arm no longer draws up into my chest like it did before the dry needling, the wrist is cocked at greater than  90 degrees. The best I've managed to straighten the wrist is 45 degrees. The hand is also in a light fist and the fingers will extend to 45 degrees, but it's a constant battle to fight the spasticity.

    I should count my blessing though. While my muscles contort into these extreme positions it is only mildly uncomfortable now because of the dry needling once or twice a week. I do have to admit that skipping two weeks of therapy will cause the spasticity to get progressively worse. Three weeks between sessions my arm will slowly rise and lock into my chest. So dry needling has a hold over affect that is lengthening with treatments like I first read.

    Caregiver: Stroke Anniversary

    The Pink House On The Corner
    Tuesday, October 20, 2015

    Five years ago, tonight, Bob was in ICU for post-op recovery when he had a massive stroke. And the nurse, that night, was a new nurse, on employee probation and was supposed to be monitored by a supervisor, and she wasn't. And through the course of the night, she documented Bob's deterioration (arm paralyzed, then leg paralyzed, then confused/unable to talk/"glascow coma stage", etc.) without contacting a doctor. And when Bob tried to get her attention, to tell her something was very wrong, she told him to "settle down!" and pumped him full of morphine, so that he would pass out and thereby -- settle down and shut up.

    That RN is still practicing today. Taking care of patients. Maybe taking care of someone you know and love.

    The next morning, when the shift changed, another nurse came in and, still, that morning nurse did not contact a doctor.  She's the one who said to me, "Isn't he always like this?" (meaning paralyzed, unable to talk)

    That RN is also still practicing today. Maybe taking care of someone you know and love.

    And that night and morning after, those two nurses, truth be told, murdered Bob.  Even if it took over four years to kill him off. They finally succeeded.

    And I think something is very wrong with a system that allows those nurses to continue working in the health care community and never have to pay any price for what they did to him. And to me.

    If you ask me, they both should be in prison. For negligent homicide.

    Just my thoughts...

    And yes, this is a very hard anniversary for me.  No wonder I'm cracking up.

    See the original article:

    Jester: Tragedy in Newfoundland

    Jackie Poff
    Stroke Survivors Tattler
    Newfies are a lot smarter than we give them credit for … I think!

    The day after his wife disappeared in a kayaking accident, a Twillingate, NFLD man answered his door to find two grim-faced RCMP officers.

    "We're sorry Mr. Flynn, but we have some information about your wife," said one of the officers.

    "Tell me! Did you find her?!" Cedric Flynn asked.

    The troopers looked at each other. One said, "We have some bad news, some good news, and some really great news. Which would you like to hear first?"

    Fearing the worst, Mr. Flynn said, "Give me the bad news first."

    The RCMP officer said, "I'm sorry to tell you, sir, but this morning we found your wife's body in the bay."

    "Lord sufferin' Jesus!" exclaimed Flynn.

    Swallowing hard, he asked, "What could possibly be the good news?"

    The officer continued, "When we pulled her up, she had 12 of the best looking Atlantic Lobsters that you have ever seen clinging to her. Haven't seen lobsters like that since the 1960's, and we feel you are entitled to a share in the catch."

    Stunned, Mr. Flynn demanded,"If that's the good news, then what's the great news?"

    The officer replied, "We're gonna pull her up again tomorrow."

    TED Talks - Jennifer Doudna:
          We Can Now Edit Our DNA. But Let's do it Wisely

    Filmed September 2015

    Geneticist Jennifer Doudna co-invented a groundbreaking new technology for editing genes, called CRISPR-Cas9. The tool allows scientists to make precise edits to DNA strands, which could lead to treatments for genetic diseases … but could also be used to create so-called "designer babies." Doudna reviews how CRISPR-Cas9 works — and asks the scientific community to pause and discuss the ethics of this new tool.

    Rick Mercer Report:
          RMC Obstacle Course & Post-Election Issues

    RMC Obstacle Course
    Published on Oct 21, 2015

    Rick joins first year cadets as they tackle the grueling obstacle course that marks the end of the orientation program.

    Standard YouTube License @ Rick Mercer Report

    Post-Election Issues
    Published on Oct 21, 2015

    Solutions for your family.

    Standard YouTube License @ Rick Mercer Report

    Daily Comics

    For Better and For Worse
    Lynn Johnston

    Canada Family Events
    Scott Adams

    Dilbert Office Events

    Edmonton Journal
    Malcolm Mayes
    Politics Views from Canada

    Garry Trudeau

    Politics Views from USA

    ** 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, 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


    Saturday, October 24, 2015

    Saturday News

    Contents of This Week Saturday News ▶︎ October 24 / 2015
    Fish oil is oil derived from the tissues of oily fish. Fish oils contain the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), precursors of certain eicosanoids that are known to reduce inflammation in the body, and have other health benefits. The fish used as sources do not actually produce omega-3 fatty acids, but instead accumulate them by consuming either microalgae or prey fish that have accumulated omega-3 fatty acids, together with a high quantity of antioxidants such as iodide and selenium, from microalgae, where these antioxidants are able to protect the fragile polyunsaturated lipids from peroxidation. A longer definition comes from Wikipedia.
            - Fish Oil Supplements Do Not Prevent Heart Attack and Stroke: 
                      Sounds Fishy To Me
            - Is Fish Oil Just Snake Oil?
            - How to Tell if Your Fish Oil is Real Omega 3
            - Fish Oil and Omega 3's. What Does it Mean
            - Fish Oil Benefits: Fish Oil and Omega 3 Benefits
            - Is Fish Oil Bad For You? 2 Shocking Stories Cause Medical Backlash
            - Fish Oil Benefits - Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplements - Men's Health
            - Fish Oil May Reduce Stroke Damage
            - Using Fish Oil to Heal From Brain Injury
      Saturday News | Future Topic

      Nov/21/2015   | 
      Tie Two-End Shoelaces with One-Hand?
      Nov/14/2015   | 
      3D Printing
      Nov/07/2015   | 
      Blood Pressure
      Oct/31/2015   | Dr. Oliver Wolf Sacks

      Definition: Fish Oil (i.e. Omega-3)

      Fish Oil From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      A typical fish oil softgel
      Fish oil is oil derived from the tissues of oily fish. Fish oils contain the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), precursors of certain eicosanoids that are known to reduce inflammation in the body, and have other health benefits.

      The fish used as sources do not actually produce omega-3 fatty acids, but instead accumulate them by consuming either microalgae or prey fish that have accumulated omega-3 fatty acids, together with a high quantity of antioxidants such as iodide and selenium, from microalgae, where these antioxidants are able to protect the fragile polyunsaturated lipids from peroxidation.

      Fatty predatory fish like sharks, swordfish, tilefish, and albacore tuna may be high in omega-3 fatty acids, but due to their position at the top of the food chain, these species may also accumulate toxic substances through biomagnification. For this reason, the United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends limiting consumption (especially for women of childbearing age) of certain (predatory) fish species (e.g. albacore tuna, shark, king mackerel, tilefish and swordfish) due to high levels of toxic contaminants such as mercury, dioxin, PCBs and chlordane. Fish oil is used as a component in aquaculture feed. More than 50 percent of the world's fish oil used in aquaculture feed is fed to farmed salmon.

      Marine and freshwater fish oil vary in contents of arachidonic acid, EPA and DHA. The various species range from lean to fatty and their oil content in the tissues has been shown to vary from 0.7% to 15.5%. They also differ in their effects on organ lipids. Studies have revealed that there is no relation between total fish intake or estimated omega−3 fatty acid intake from all fish, and serum omega−3 fatty acid concentrations. Only fatty fish intake, particularly salmonid, and estimated EPA + DHA intake from fatty fish has been observed to be significantly associated with increase in serum EPA + DHA.

      The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are thought to be beneficial in treating hypertriglyceridemia, and possibly beneficial in preventing heart disease. Fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids have been studied in a wide variety of other conditions, such as clinical depression, anxiety, cancer, and macular degeneration, yet benefits in these conditions have not been verified.


      Video: Fish Oil (i.e. Omega-3)

      Fish Oil Supplements Do Not Prevent Heart Attack and Stroke:
              Sounds Fishy To Me

      Published on Oct 13, 2012

      SSTattler: +'ve in this YouTube...

      Free Download: A Guide to Lowering the Risk of Heart Attack and Strokes.  In this video Dr Meschino challenges recent research suggesting omega-3 fats don't reduce heart attack risk.

      Standard YouTube License @ Dr.James Meschino