Highlights for October 1: Canadian Stroke Congress

CALGARY, Oct. 1, 2012 /CNW/ - Research from the Canadian Stroke Congress for release October 1 includes:

Hidden stroke impairment isolates thousands

  • Most people are completely unaware of one of stroke's most common, debilitating but invisible impairments, according to the first awareness survey of its kind in Canada. A survey of 832 adults in southern Ontario found that only two per cent of respondents could correctly identify aphasia as a communication disorder affecting the ability to speak, understand, read or write.

Junk food diet could lead to stroke, dementia in younger adults

  • Researchers predict strokes and dementia for people in their 30s and 40s who eat a high-sugar, high-salt, high-sodium diet. This 'cafeteria diet' induced most symptoms of metabolic syndrome - a combination of high levels of cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and obesity - in rats after only two months.

Stroke patients get antidepressants but no diagnosis for depression

  • Physicians are prescribing anti-depressants for stroke patients without first giving them a proper diagnosis: they are over-treating some patients, and overlooking others. Only 3 of 294 patients in southwestern Ontario were properly screened and diagnosed with depression, but 40 per cent of these stroke patients were given antidepressants.

People recover better at home than in hospital

  • A Calgary-based project known as Early Supported Discharge sends patients home to receive rehab, leading to better mental and physical health, shorter waiting times for therapy and nearly $1M in savings. 160 patients received therapy three to five times a week for an average of five weeks.

Medical residents in the ER need more stroke training

  • Only two of 20 emergency medicine residency programs across Canada required on-the-job training in stroke neurology. Less than two per cent of lecture time per year was devoted to stroke, but people with stroke account for 5% of emergency department patients. More training is needed to deliver better care.

Exercising after stroke improves brain health

  • Six months of exercise reduced problems in memory, language, thinking and judgment for stroke patients by almost 50 per cent. Toronto researchers had 41 stroke patients follow a fitness plan five days a week, and saw improvements to mental and physical fitness.

Rehab robots help detect invisible stroke side effects

  • Calgary researchers studied 185 subjects and found that tests using a robot better measure patients' sense of limb position, speed and direction of limb movement. Until now, rehabilitation experts have relied on their judgment to assess impairment after stroke. Robotic technology standardizes these measurements.

Stroke care strategy benefits patients in Nova Scotia

  • Retraining staff, hiring stroke coordinators in each stroke district and creating distinct stroke teams are just a few ways health officials in Nova Scotia improved stroke care. Thanks to the Nova Scotia stroke strategy, rolled out in 2008, the number of patients discharged to long-term facilities fell from 12 per cent to seven per cent, while considerably more patients received treatment in stroke units.


Calgary Stroke Program, Toronto Rehab receive "Distinction" awards

  • The Calgary Stroke Program continues to be one of the top stroke programs in Canada and today received a second "Stroke Services Distinction" award from Accreditation Canada. It remains the only comprehensive stroke program in the country with this status. Also re-accredited with "distinction" is the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute for its stroke rehabilitation program. Both organizations were the first in Canada to achieve "distinction" in 2010 and underwent a second complete review this summer, showing even further improvement in care across the board.

There are about 50,000 strokes in Canada every year and another 315,000 people living with the after-effects of stroke.  The Canadian Stroke Congress is co-hosted by the Canadian Stroke Network, the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Stroke Consortium.

To read the full releases, visit: www.strokecongress.ca/2012/media

SOURCE: Canadian Stroke Congress

For further information:

and/or interviews, contact
The CSC 2012 MEDIA OFFICE (Sept. 30 to Oct. 2) at 403-218-7868
Cathy Campbell, Canadian Stroke Network, 613-852-2303 (cell)
Holly Roy, Heart and Stroke Foundation, 780-991-2323

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Canadian Stroke Congress

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