Articles Posted in Stroke

puffdad-265x300Cities are daring to tread where federal regulators have not: They’re cracking down on vaping and its potential harm, particularly to the young, by banning e-cigarettes and tobacco products.

San Francisco supervisors’ e-cigarette ban, recently enacted, packs a symbolic punch because Juul, a “tech startup” whose product has become the market-dominating maker of vaping devices, is headquartered in the city.

Officials not only banned e-cigarette sales, they also decreed that their makers cannot manufacture the devices on municipal property. Juul is unaffected by this action because it is not retroactive, and the company says it does not make its product in its offices, space that is leased from the city on Pier 70.

alextrebek-200x300lukeperry-222x300For Americans of a certain age, the power of celebrity and sad news — the early death of acting heart-throb Luke Perry and the announced Stage 4 cancer diagnosis of game show host Alex Trebek — may offer important health warnings about two leading causes of death: strokes and cancer.

Strokes kill 140,000 Americans each year—that’s 1 out of every 20 deaths, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. The agency says, “Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. Every 4 minutes, someone dies of stroke. Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes.”

The condition mostly affects those 65 and older, but strokes can occur in younger people, with the New York Times reporting that “seven in one million Americans under age 50 die annually from strokes caused by a blocked blood vessel, and nine per million die from a brain hemorrhage, the two main types of strokes.”

cdcheadsup-300x111Common sense and moderation can matter a ton in maintaining good health, as recent news reports show, particularly with kids and concussions, middle-aged adults and heart disease, and collegiate alcohol abuse.

With youngsters returning to school and so many of them participating in sports and recreation programs, it’s good that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued evidence-based guidance on protecting kids who suffer mild traumatic brain injury or what most of us would call concussions.

These injuries have become a growing concern for parents and young athletes. Sports leagues and sporting groups are coming to a time of reckoning with just how harmful head trauma can be.

FAST-infographic-2016-300x169It’s no April Fool joke: Emergency doctors across the country, according to the New York Times, have been defying widely accepted standards of care and withholding a drug that rigorous clinical trials and medical specialists long have recommended for stroke victims.

Administration of the drug, tPA or tissue plasminogen activator, helps to prevent brain injury after a stroke by dissolving the blood clot and opening up the blocked vessel. Neurologists and neurosurgeons as well as cardiologists, have campaigned for its aggressive use within hours after the onset of symptoms.  Indeed, hospitals nationwide have adopted speedy stroke care, including with tPA, under slogans like “Time is Brain.”

The drug’s fast use has become so accepted, the capacity to administer it is a keystone for hospitals to receive a much-sought designation as specialized stroke treatment centers. And though it has long been thought that tPA needed to be given within three or four hours from the start of stroke symptoms, new research funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has opened the strong possibility that many more patients could benefit from tPA and neurosurgery within 16 or even 24 hours after suffering a stroke.

yoga2-300x200For seniors who may be rushing to squeeze in a few more pretzel-twisting sessions to ease their stress from a hectic holiday season, this is a gentle reminder: Take it easy with the yoga. It can be good for you, but don’t overdo it or you may hurt yourself.

The Washington Post reported that the number of yoga devotees has climbed to an estimated 36.7 million Americans, many of whom find that stretching and posing in various styles makes them breathe and feel better, as well being more limber, focused, and relaxed. Yoga also has special appeal to older practitioners, 17 percent of them in their 50s and 21 percent 60 and older, according to a study conducted by a yoga publication.

But public health researchers from the University of Alabama Birmingham, after examining electronic data on almost 30,000 yoga-related injuries that led patients to emergency room treatment between 2001 and 2014, reported that:

bp-300x169Did you feel yourself just get less well? U.S. heart experts have just issued new guidelines on what Americans’ optimal blood pressure should be—effectively and suddenly shifting just under half of the adults in the nation younger than 45 into an unhealthful status as hypertensive.

Doctors say there’s no doubting data that shows that blood pressure readings exceeding 130 over 80 can be detrimental to patients’ health. That’s down from the previous warning level of 140 over 90.

But what exactly has the medical establishment wrought with this sweeping metric? Have they deemed so many of us unwell in this way that we’re about to see public doubt and confusion—even profiteering—as has surrounded the description of tens of millions of Americans as “prediabetic?”

Yes, the ancient adage caveat emptor still rules in the high-tech age. It may have sounded so simple, nice, and sweet to plunk grandma and grandpa in front of a computer screen to let them run a program to play games touted to help them prevent the cognitive ravages of age. It may seem wonderful, easy, and convenient to give little boys and girls talking toys in hopes of boosting their smarts, especially with enhanced language skills.

If only.

Just a short word to the wise: A major online “brain games” maker has agreed to pay $2 million to settle with the Federal Trade Commission. The agency had asserted that Lumosity made unfounded claims to deceive consumers that playing the company’s 40-some, 10- to 15-minute-long games would help them “perform better at work and in school, and reduce or delay cognitive impairment associated with age and other serious health conditions.”

ecig infographic-a_920pxHere’s a disturbing trend: Teenagers are getting inundated with advertisements touting electronic or so-called e-cigarettes.  Health authorities at the same time note that “vaping” is a growing way for millions to take in harmful nicotine and other substances.

Almost 7 in 10 10 youths were exposed to manufacturers’ tidal wave of e-cigarette ads, which are broadcast, carried online, and printed in publications and made visible in retail store displays, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The CDC added that it had found that 2.6 million teens were e-cigarette users (vapers) in the last month, and those consumption numbers were likely to grow due to the extensive advertisements.

After years of battling regular cigarette use, officials expressed dismay about vaping and its saturation promotion to habituate young people so early and often. The CDC’s chief said this: “It’s the Wild West out there when it comes to e-cigarette advertising. It’s no coincidence that as the advertising has skyrocketed, the use of e-cigarettes has skyrocketed.”

In the last couple of years, the class of medications known as statins has gotten a lot of attention, most recently this month when NPR reported concern over the popularity of prescribing statins for the elderly.

Statins are cholesterol-lowering drugs with “statin” somewhere in the generic name; brand names include Crestor, Lipitor and Zocor. People with elevated blood cholesterol levels are at greater risk for heart disease  and stroke.

The NPR story said that a lot of doctors prescribe them almost as a default treatment, a better-safe-than-sorry way to prevent heart trouble in their very elderly patients. That’s problematic, because there’s a lack of science to show the wisdom of such a broad-brush approach for this age group.

The words “legendary,” “miraculous” and “unique” are so overused in common conversation they’ve almost lost their meaning. Describing a health study as “landmark” falls into the same category.

Except for last week, when the initial results of a clinical trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) proved so impressive about the benefits of managing blood pressure intensively that the study was stopped early.

As reported by NPR, the findings resulted from the largest study ever conducted to examine whether reducing systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) below the level currently recommended would be beneficial.

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