Tuesday, February 23, 2016

International Stroke conference in Los Angeles

I had the pleasure to attend a luncheon presentation at the International Stroke conference in Los Angeles last week. There were over 4000 international scientists and healthcare professionals in attendance – the conference, not the luncheon. This is the venue where new papers are presented and new ideas are exchanged each year.

The panel discussion was led by Nancy Brown, the CEO of the Heart Association. She introduced Dr.  Mary Ann Bauman who works with the Association, Dr. Jeremy Payne, Neurologist and head of the Banner system in AZ and Dr. Ralph Sacco, Neurosurgeon.

The panel was narrated by Bri Winkler, a stroke survivor who works as a spokesperson for the Association. Bri is a young woman who suffered a stroke a few years ago and has recovered fully. She is among the lucky 10% who show little in the way of outward signs of the damage that a stroke can do. While Bri is indicative of the lack of age discrimination with Strokes, she is not representative of the 65% of stroke survivors who, while not requiring institutionalization, display deficits that stop them from returning to their former lives. While terrific to put a young face to stroke, I think that featuring someone who is working with the deficits a stroke can bring would bring home the devastation and the urgency of the needs, better than what is being done now.

It was interesting to hear the association express the thought that they want to reposition the programs toward brain health, healthy aging and cognitive health. We do think that it would be a more convincing argument  and a stronger case to be made for increased brain research, if the Association presented people who are affected by the changes in the brain that occur with stroke. It becomes evident, very quickly, of the need for research dollars and for the innovation of scientists and healthcare providers to analyze the brain, brain functions, neuroplasticity …the list goes on.

While stroke prevention is very similar in risk factors like heart health, the outcomes are significantly different. Heart attack victims get well, stroke survivors only get better. The Association could be stronger if it recognized this difference and build upon it. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Happy New Year

We are starting off 2016 with an increasing effort to gain support to make sure those who have neurological problems confronting them daily have access to treatment and therapies designed to help each and everyone achieve the most vital and fulfilling life they can. 

As we open our doors to those with Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis, we feel that we are barely scratching the surface of need. As the year goes on, we will continue to add services and treatments to make sure that each of you has the best chances available to regain control over your lives.

We met with Eric Barr last week and want to share his story with you. Eric was a professor in Theater at the University of CA Riverside. He suffered a number of strokes and is now working hard on his recovery. He and his wife have put together a short three-act play that shares his experience and his recovery to date. Eric further shares his experiences podcasting @ http://apieceofmymind.net/index.html

Eric will be coming over here to meet with our groups but for those of you outside the area, do follow his podcasts and follow his website: http://apieceofmymind.net
For any of you who did not get our newsletter, it is available on-line or you may email us and we will send you an electronic or a hard copy – your choice.

Happy New Year and let’s work together to make this the best year ever.