Restoring lost movement from stroke may be possible, study suggests

Scientists have long thought that motor function lost from a stroke can’t be restored, but a new animal study suggests inducing a second stroke may make that possible.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that when they induced a second stroke near the region of a first stroke in mice, the rodents could grab food pellets with their once-disabled paws as well as they had pre-stroke.

The study authors said they don’t encourage inducing stroke in humans to reverse lost movement from a previous stroke. But, they argued in their paper that the results hint mammals’ brains that have experienced stroke may be more “plastic” than originally thought—and that this conclusion may aid in the development of another therapy that would help this patient population.

“If we can better understand how to reopen or extend the optimal recovery period after a stroke, then we might indeed change how we treat patients for the better,” study author Dr. Steven Zeiler, Ph.D., an assistant professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a news release.

In a previous study, researchers at Johns Hopkins found that the optimal window for stroke recovery is seven days after the event has occurred, but in the current animal model, they found that a common antidepressant, fluoxetine, helped lengthen that window. Before the initial study, scientists believed that seven-day period was inflexible.

“Our study adds new strong and convincing evidence that there is a sensitive period following stroke where it’s easiest to relearn motor movements— a topic that is still debated among stroke researchers,” Zeiler said in the release.

 

Source:

Fox News – Health

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CoQ10 Supplement

The skeletal muscles, heart, brain and other organs require Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) to create optimal energy production for growth and repair. The powerhouse of every cell is the mitochondria, which generates the ATP cells use for energy. CoQ10 helps supply this powerhouse with needed fuel.

Currently, CoQ10 is used to battle heart failure, aid in stroke recovery and for anti-aging skin treatments. This nutrient has shown promise in combating Parkinson’s disease, chronic kidney failure and migraines. It’s used regularly in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue protocols for its effect on energy production. Gum disease has also responded well to supplemental CoQ10.

Production of CoQ10 decreases with age and certain medications. Statin drugs (including any drug with a name ending in, “statin”) are very effective at lowering cholesterol levels, but can also block the body’s natural ability to make this energetic nutrient. Many speculate this decrease in CoQ10 leads to some of the side effects that patients may experience. For statin drug users, physicians recommend supplementing with CoQ10 to alleviate the potential for fatigue or muscle cramps.

Other commonly prescribed drugs that deplete the body’s CoQ10 levels include clonidine, glyburide, hydrochlorothiazide, nortriptyline, doxepin, glipizide, beta-blockers (meds that end in “olol”) [Source: Drug-induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook].

Nearly everyone with a chronic illness is a candidate for supplemental CoQ10, including those with symptoms of fatigue, muscle aches, brain fog or loss of stamina. This nutrient has become very important in the treatment of cardiac and neurologic problems. Additionally, a study in the Archives of Neurology showed the use of CoQ10 was well tolerated and reduced the worsening of Parkinson’s disease [Source:Schults]. Patients interested in wellness and disease prevention should consider CoQ10 one of the top nutrients to include in their regimen.

With studies including daily dosages up to 3000 mg, CoQ10 maintains a strong safety record. Recommended dosages are 50 mg-400 mg, with food. There are no known significant toxicities or interactions associated with CoQ10, found in ubiquinol and ubiquinone forms. The newest form, ubiquinol, is thought to be absorbed better, though most of the successful research to date has been done on ubiquinone. Clinically, both forms benefit the conditions mentioned in this article.

Recommended Dosing:

For those on statin drugs for cholesterol: 100 mg daily

Migraine headache sufferers: 100 mg daily

Heart failure: 150-300 mg daily

Parkinson ’s disease and other neurologic conditions: 300-1,200 mg daily

Hypertension: 75-200 mg daily

Fatigue: 50-150 mg daily

Patients can start at the lower dose and increase to the higher dose after 3-4 weeks if symptoms persist. CoQ10 may take 2-3 months to achieve its full effect and should be taken during or after meals.

Are there food sources of Coenzyme Q10?

Coenzyme Q10 exists in every plant and animal cell. The best sources are fatty fish, like salmon and mackerel, spinach, broccoli and whole grains. For CoQ10 to be received from these foods, they must be raw and unprocessed.

Can my Co10 level be measured?

No consistent, reliable method for measuring CoQ10 levels has been established to date, primarily due to the lack of side effects.

 

Source:

How stuff works – Health

Hair Loss can be a Sign of Increased Stroke Risk

hair-fall

Patchy hair loss is one of the most surprising clues that you are at an increased risk of stroke. A condition called alopecia areata describes uneven hair loss that does not at all look like the usual male pattern baldness or receding hairline that some men begin to experience as early as their twenties. Similarly, most women experience some degree of thinning hair, usually starting in the late thirties or early forties, but typically occurring gradually and distributed all over the head, not producing the bald spots that are a hallmark of alopecia areata.

Alopecia areata, the hair loss condition specifically linked with stroke risk, is very different from the usual hair loss patterns and is also much less common than the more prevalent types of hair loss. A recent research study has shown that individuals who suffer from alopecia areata have double the risk of stroke when compared to people who do not have the condition.

 

How to know if you have alopecia areata

Alopecia means hair loss and areata describes the fact that it occurs in certain concentrated areas. This condition produces sudden bald areas and typically affects young people beginning in their twenties, generally continuing in spurts throughout life. Alopecia areata’s signature small patchy bald spots can make you self-conscious from a cosmetic standpoint. Usually, the hair grows back, but it might be a slightly different texture and, later, hair loss can occur again in the same spots or in different spots.

Stress can cause alopecia areata to act up. It also turns out that, for some people, medical problems such as autoimmune disease and thyroid disease can be responsible for exacerbations of alopecia areata.

Patchy hair loss can also result from harsh chemical hair or scalp treatments, so alopecia areata doesn’t always mean that you have a medical condition causing your hair loss. It is important to get a professional medical evaluation to determine the cause, even if you can effectively take care of the cosmetic issues on your own or with the help of your hair stylist.

Male pattern baldness is normally gradual and causes either a circular area of thinning hair at the top of the head near the back and/or a receding hairline at the forehead. Women’s hair loss generally produces slowly thinning hair all around the scalp as a result of hair falling out or breaking. Thinning hair in women can be stressful and often limits your hairstyle options, but it is not the same as alopecia areata and it is not associated with increase stroke risk.

Why is there a hair loss/ stroke link?

Alopecia areata can be caused by autoimmune disease or thyroid disorders. These same conditions are also known to produce serious alterations in the body’s regular physiologic functions and set the stage for a stroke. Autoimmune conditions are disorders in which the body’s immune system attacks the body itself. This self-attack can manifest in a number of different ways- whether by attacking hair follicles, causing them to break at the roots and producing alopecia areata, or by causing stickiness of blood cells and blood cholesterol, triggering blood clots, hemorrhages and strokes.

What can you do to lower your stroke risk if you are losing hair?

There are a number of effective steps you can take to reduce your risk of stroke if you have alopecia areata. First of all, you should get checked out for the main stroke risk factors, including hypertension, heart disease and high cholesterol. Secondly, because autoimmune disease can manifest as alopecia areata, your doctor will probably evaluate you for common indicators of autoimmune disease or thyroid disease, depending on whether you have other symptoms of either disorder. If it turns out that your medical examination or blood tests uncover any abnormalities, there are treatments to manage your underlying problem.

Overall, this link between alopecia areata isn’t a reason for alarm. It is simply a very early warning sign of possible stroke risk. This warning can be useful to you in managing your health so that you can stay healthy for the long run.

Source:

About Health

Kinesio Taping to Restore Lost Arm Function After Stroke

A 2006 journal article examined the effectiveness of Kinesio Tape application in restoring functional use of the arm and shoulder after stroke-induced paralysis. This type of paralysis, known as hemiplegia, occurs on only one side of the body and can affect muscles in the face, arm, and leg, though the article in question deals only with the arm. Authored by Ewa Jaraczewska and Carol Long, the article is called “Kinesio Taping in Stroke: Improving Functional Use of the Upper Extremity in Hemiplegia.”

Therapeutic Kinesio TapingThe article’s abstract describes its focus for providing Kinesio Tape instruction, as follows: “The purpose of this article is to present the Kinesio Taping method used to improve the upper extremity function in the adult with hemiplegia. The article discusses various therapeutic methods used in the treatment of stroke patients to achieve a functional upper extremity.”

The introductory matter for the article goes on to explain the second key reason the authors had for writing the piece, stating that “the only taping technique for various upper extremity conditions that has been described in the literature is the athletic taping technique.” It’s clear, then, that in writing this piece, the authors sought to correct the lack of information available on this particular therapeutic use of Kinesio Tape.

The authors provide information on assessment, as well as on the use of Kinesio Tape and the Kinesio Taping Method in conjunction with other therapies to “(facilitate) or inhibit muscle function, support joint structure, reduce pain, and provide proprioceptive feedback to achieve and maintain preferred body alignment.” Before they delve into the details of the Kinesio Tape Methodhowever, the authors ensure that the reader recognizes the importance of the information that will follow, reminding him or her that “restoring trunk and scapula alignment after the stroke is critical in an effective treatment program for the upper extremity in hemiplegia.”

The article begins by describing the various types of muscular weakness or imbalance that may occur as the result of a stroke, creating severe limitation in the use of the affected limb. These include body misalignment, poor postural control, muscular spasticity, and poor voluntary muscle control.

The authors use photographs to illustrate the proper application of Kinesio Tape to specific muscles and muscle groups for various therapeutic uses, such as to relax a tight muscle, to support a weak muscle, to relax an overstretched muscle and provide proprioreceptive feedback. In the photographs in which the authors felt that proper Kinesio Tape application technique would be clearer through instructional markings on the tape, they inserted explanatory arrows and other similar markings (albeit somewhat crudely drawn) to demonstrate such technical factors as the direction of application of the Kinesio Tape (either from origin to insertion or insertion to origin), a factor which plays a critical role in the tape’s effectiveness for specific therapeutic purposes.

This in-depth treatment of the topic provides a great deal of information for anyone interested in using Kinesio Tape to help restore function to the arm or shoulder after a stroke. The authors provide detailed explanations of the functional anatomy and kinesiology of the various structures that affect arm movement and offer step-by-step instructions for each specific application of the Kinesio Tape Method for a particular functional deficit.

While the online article is an old-style photocopy and the photos also use older technology, as well as crudely drawn instructional markings on the Kinesio Tape (or the photo itself), the information the article contains should nevertheless prove valuable in treating post-stroke upper extremity malfunction.

 

Source:

Research Gate

Kinesiology