Monday, September 26, 2011

The Effect of Music and Audiobook Listening on People Recovering From Stroke The Patient’s Point of View


Recent experimental evidence suggests that musical activities can enhance motoric, cognitive, and emotional recovery after a stroke. The authors' aim was to gain more insight about the emotional and psychological factors underlying the therapeutic effects of listening to music after a stroke, by combining both qualitative and quantitative methods. Thirty-nine patients who had suffered a stroke were interviewed about their subjective experiences when listening, on a daily basis, to either self-selected music (n = 20) or audiobooks (n = 19) during the first 2 months after the stroke. Results showed that music listening was specifically associated with better relaxation, increased motor activity, and improved mood, whereas both music and audiobook listening provided refreshing stimulation and evoked thoughts and memories about the past. These results highlight the clinical importance of providing stimulating and pleasant leisure activities after a stroke and further encourage the use of music in stroke rehabilitation.....

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Faith, family, friends aid White in stroke recovery effort

Faith, family, friends help White in stroke recovry effort
Occupational therapist Angela Newton, left, and physical therapist Cassidy Carter, assist Sam White, a stroke victim, in demonstrating one the strengthening techniques they use during therapy at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital to help him regain the use of his right arm. White undergoes out-patient therapy twice a week at the Dothan facility.

» 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Thursday, May 31, started out as any other day for farmer Sam White. He had cattle and other chores to tend to keep his farm running smoothly. Shortly after he finished lunch, White headed to the mailbox in front of his house to retrieve his mail. On his trip back to his house, White received a phone call on his cell phone. He completed the call just before a funny feeling came over him. He only had a few steps to go to make it back into his house. He thought he could make it; he didn’t.
“I had to grab a five-foot chain-link fence to keep from falling,” White, 58, said as he recalled the events of that day in May. “I walked from the fence to the third doorstep and sat down. I started to go up to the next step, but I slipped down to the one below. That’s when I knew I really needed help.”....

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stimulating brain with electricity aids learning speed

3D MRI image The brain can change its structure in response to experience and practice

Related Stories

Electrically stimulating the brain can help to speed up the process of learning, scientists have shown.
Applying a small current to specific parts of the brain can increase its activity, making learning easier.
Researchers from the University of Oxford have studied the changing structure of the brain in stroke patients and in healthy adults.
Prof Heidi Johansen-Berg presented their findings at the British Science Festival in Bradford.
The team at Oxford has been conducting research into how the structure of the brain changes in adulthood, and in particular what changes occur after a stroke.
They have used an approach called functional MRI to monitor activity in the brain as stroke patients re-learn motor skills that were lost as a result of their illness.
One of the major findings is that the brain is very flexible and can restructure itself, growing new connections and reassigning tasks to different areas, when damage occurs or a specific task is practised.
As part of this research, they investigated the possibility of using non-invasive electric brain stimulation to improve the recovery of these motor skills; the short-term improvement in stroke patients had already been noted.
But an unexpected result was found when the same brain stimulation was applied to healthy adults: their speed of learning was also significantly increased.
Increasing activity To observe this effect, the team devised an experiment whereby volunteers memorised a sequence of buttons to press "like playing a tune on a piano".
While they were doing this, they were fitted with a "trans-cranial current stimulation" device, in which two electrodes are placed in a specific position on the head.
A very small current was passed between the electrodes in an arc through the brain and, depending on the direction of that current, either increased or decreased the activity of that part of the brain.
Prof Johansen-Berg explained that "an increase in activity of the brain cells makes them more susceptible to the kinds of changes that occur during learning".
MRI scanner The studies employ a variant of the same MRI scan used in hospitals
The results of the button-pressing experiments showed the positive effects of just 10 minutes of the brain stimulation on learning, compared to a similar "placebo" setup in which the electrical stimulation was not used.
"While the stimulation didn't improve the participant's best performance, the speed at which they reached their best was significantly increased," said Prof Johansen-Berg.
Targeting the area of the brain that controls motor skills allows movement tasks to be learned more quickly, and the researchers envisage the technique could be used to help in the training of athletes.
The experiments have explicitly shown that stimulating the motor cortex of the brain can increase the speed of learning motor skills.
It is the hope of the researchers that the same method may be applied to other parts of the brain to improve educational learning, simply by positioning the electrodes in different locations so the current is focussed on the correct area.
The relative simplicity, low price (around £2,000 per unit), and portability of the technology may mean that, following further research, a device could be designed to be automated for use at home.
Looking to the future, Prof Johansen-Berg and her team plan to investigate the potential for increasing the effect, by stimulating daily over a period of weeks to months.
In the treatment of stroke patients, the technique could be used in parallel with current physiotherapy treatments to improve overall outcomes, which tend to vary widely.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Electric shocks help stroke patients

Stroke patients with brain damage can recover more quickly with the help of small electric currents applied to the head from electrodes on the skull, a study has found.

The tiny electric currents are believed to stimulate the re-growth of nerve connections in the brain that have been lost as a result of oxygen starvation caused by stroke, scientists said. The research supports the idea that the brain can to some extent repair itself by rewiring and reconnecting itself to bypass damaged areas, according to Professor Heidi Johansen-Berg of Oxford University.

"After a stroke, there is widespread damage to connecting fibres, far beyond the stroke itself. But with repeated practice, patients can increase activity in brain areas that have been disconnected," she told the British Science Festival......

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fighting back from stroke Exercising helps woman recover lost abilities

By Toya Graham, Fort Mill Times, S.C. April 07--FORT MILL TOWNSHIP -- Tonia Canzoneri wears three rubber bracelets on her wrist. A red bracelet that sits nearly perfectly atop an orange bracelet offers one word: Hope.
"She gives everyone hope," says Sandy Strang, the owner of Curves in Fort Mill.
That's because Canzoneri suffered a stroke eight years ago. The stroke impacted Canzoneri's right side, took away her ability to use her right hand and slurred her speech. Doctors offered the then six-week pregnant Canzoneri a grim report.
"They told her she wouldn't walk again," Strang said.
Canzoneri, whose Charlotte home is about four miles from Tega Cay, refuses to be a victim to her stroke.
"You've got to fight," Canzoneri, 39, said. "You don't fight, your body is done. You hurt yourself."
Canzoneri fights back by working out most weekdays. Most people work out to tone their muscles or lose weight. For Canzoneri, daily trips to Curves help continue rehabilitation and gain overall muscle strength.more read...

Video Games Help Stroke Victims Rehab Motor Functions

A new study has found promise in the use of gaming in stroke rehabilitation. With the assistance of motion gaming devices such as the Eye Toy and the Wii, motor function of stroke patients in rehab programs improved by an average of 20 percent. Arm strength increased by nearly 15 percent, with nearly five times the chance for improvement. For all the technical info on the study, head over to Bloomberg Businessweek.
"Stroke rehabilitation is rapidly evolving," said Lead Researcher Dr. Gustavo Saposnik, director of the Stroke Outcomes Research Unit at St. Michael's Hospital at the University of Toronto. "Novel approaches -- including the use of virtual reality [gaming] systems -- may help improve motor impairment, activities and social participation. Virtual reality may provide an affordable, enjoyable and effective alternative to intensify treatment and promote motor recovery after stroke."
Conventional therapy provides only "modest and sometimes delayed effects" in treating the weakness, paralysis, balance and coordination difficulties that most stroke victims experience, according to Saposnik.
Video gaming is custom-tailored to help remodel the brain through challenging, task-specific, motivating actions that are repeated enough to create the new neural connections needed to get back functionality after a brain injury.
"Our study confirms the potential benefit of virtual reality in stroke rehabilitation identified in small studies," Saposnik said. "Further larger randomized trials are needed before changing practice. However, we are [going] in the right direction."  more read...

Virtual Reality Tools May Aid Stroke Recovery

Virtual Reality Tools May Aid Stroke Recovery

Studies Show High-Tech Gadgets Help Stroke Patients Improve Their Motor Strength
By Brenda Goodman
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD
senior man playing video game
April 7, 2011 -- Physical therapy that makes use of high-tech gadgets like 3-D goggles, robotic gloves, and motion-tracking video game systems can help people regain strength and function in their upper arm after a stroke, a new research review shows.
Pooling data from five studies, researchers found that people who participated in rehabilitation with virtual reality technologies after a stroke had a nearly fivefold greater chance of improving their motor strength compared to those who received conventional physical therapy.
In general, the virtual therapies are designed specifically to aid stroke recovery. They include activities like playing virtual piano keys while wearing a robotic glove or swatting at virtual bugs while wearing 3D goggles.
“This technology gets people to work more and harder and be more creative,” says study researcher Mindy Levin, PhD, a professor in the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy at McGill University in Montreal. “And all of that taps into the brain’s plasticity and helps the brain change -- and that’s what we’re trying to do.”  more read....

Advice On Stroke: Every Minute Courts

Advice On Stroke: Every Minute Courts

Intensive and massed exercise practice has been proven to improve patient movement ability and the ability to do everyday living tasks.
The HandTutor system employs virtual functional tasks.
These are computer generated tasks or games that have been formulated to allow the therapist to customize which joint or combination of joint and which movement parameter will be exercised during the practice.
In other words virtual functional tasks can be customized according to the patients movement ability.
Therefore patients with very limited or no active movement ability can, through active assisted exercises, undertake intensive and massed movement practice. Similarly if the patient has better movement ability but still needs to work on pushing this ability to its limit the virtual tasks can be customized so that the patient needs to employ for example his maximum range of moveme  MORE READ....

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Therapy online: Good as face to face?

(CNN) -- Your therapist's name is ELIZA, and she interacts with you through text on a computer screen. However embarrassing or difficult your problem may be, ELIZA will not hesitate to ask you a question about it, or respond graciously, "That is very interesting. Why do you say that?"
Internet-based therapy may help people who wouldn't otherwise seek the help of a psychologist.
Internet-based therapy may help people who wouldn't otherwise seek the help of a psychologist.
Computer-based therapy has come a long way since ELIZA, a 1960s computer program designed to emulate (and parody) a therapist. Today, with the Internet, people can use the instant message format to communicate with real therapists.
A new study in The Lancet suggests that real-time chat therapy with a psychotherapist is successful in helping people with depression.
Participants were randomly assigned to either receive online cognitive behavioral therapy in addition to usual physician care -- which may include antidepressant medication -- or to continue their usual care and be placed on a waiting list. The intervention consisted of up to 10 55-minute sessions, five of which were expected to be completed by the four-month follow-up.
Of the 113 people who did online therapy, 38 percent recovered from depression after four months, compared with 24 percent of people in the control group. The benefits were maintained at eight months, with 42 percent of the online therapy group and 26 percent of the control group having recovered.Read More...