Listen Up: Making Kids Stroke Smart May Save Lives

Article reviewed by David Dansereau for

A new study published in the January issue of the journal Health Promotion Practice may indicate that stroke-related disability could be reduced by teaching children how to spot the signs of stroke in relatives and to call 911 immediately.

Emergency medical treatment within three hours of the first stroke symptoms can limit the extent of brain damage and lead to better recovery.

About the study:

The Kids Identifying and Defeating Stroke (KIDS) project included 515 sixth graders in Texas who were divided into two groups. The students in the intervention group were given four classes about stroke awareness each year during grades 6, 7 and 8.

“As part of the KIDS project, students were also given homework assignments that involved teaching their parents or other adult partners about the signs and symptoms of stroke and the need to call 911 right away if these signs are witnessed,” lead author Kathleen Conley, a professor of health education at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, said in a recent news release.

Assessing Stroke Knowledge:

A pretest about stroke knowledge/awareness was given before the study. Preliminary results from a follow-up test after the second year showed improvements in the intervention group students’ knowledge and their intent to call 911 when seeing someone suffering a stroke.

“We are very encouraged by the results and would like to see more investigation in the area of teaching children about recognizing stroke and motivating them to call 911 immediately,” Conley said.

[Personal Sidebar]

This study gives further evidence for the need for my national stroke awareness goal to produce and make available a stroke PSA video targeted to coaches/parents, educators involved with student athletes.

Here’s a summary of my stroke awareness goal :

The AHA/ASA* and/or NSA** should have a sports related coaches/parents training video (available nationwide) to target adults in contact with young student athletes to improve recognition of ALL the stroke warning signs. This video could easily be linked to every sports program in the state/nation as part of that programs sports website/coaches sign up/parent registration section.

Anyone with talent, time and the desire….Please help me do this.

If you can help please contact me now (401)632-0868

*American Heart Association/American Stroke Association

** National Stroke Association


Att: Stroke Survivors-I need your help!

I am training to run the Boston Marathon in 2010 with Tedy’s Team

Please help me cross the finish line in Boston 2010

That’s me crossing the finish line in Boston 2009

Why put my body through another marathon?  Trust me, I’ve already gone through my list of excuses again why NOT to run.  But, even though I crossed the finish line last year and completed every step of those famous, grueling 26.2 miles in Boston, I have not reached my goal of national stroke awareness for improved screening,detection and treatment plans for PFO/Stroke/ and uncovering the possible migraine connection.  In the next few posts I’ll be updating you on the progress made towards my national stroke awareness goals in case you are reading my blog for the first time or want to get caught up or get involved to help-so stay tuned (but don’t wait to donate).

Please help me reach my stroke awareness goals and cross the finish line in Boston 2010


Thank you!

Stroke Prevention begins with knowing your blood pressure

Stroke Prevention Guidelines:

posted by David Dansereau for

It doesn’t have to be May (Stroke Awareness Month) to review this list of important (and potentially life saving) guidelines:

1. Know your blood pressure. Have it checked at least annually. If it’s elevated, work with your doctor to keep it under control. Having high blood pressure, or hypertension, increases stroke risk four to six times.

2. Find out if you have atrial fibrillation – a type or irregular heartbeat. If left untreated, AF can increase stroke risk four to six times.

3. If you smoke, stop. Smoking doubles stroke risk.

4. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Recent studies have suggested that modest alcohol consumption (up to two glasses of wine or alcohol equivalent) may reduce stroke risk.

5. Find out if you have high cholesterol. High cholesterol can indirectly increase stroke risk by putting people at greater risk of heart disease.

6. If you’re diabetic, follow your doctor’s recommendation carefully to control your diabetes. People with diabetes have a higher stroke risk. This may be due to circulation problems that diabetes can cause.

7. Include exercise in the activities you enjoy in your daily routine. Active people tend to have lower cholesterol levels. Regular exercise also seems to slow down or stop the clogging of blood vessels by deposits.

8. Enjoy a lower sodium (salt), lower fat diet. Too much salt may contribute to high blood pressure and make it more difficult to control. A diet that’s low in fat will likely include vegetables, lean meats such as chicken and fish, low-fat dairy products and a limited number of eggs.

9. Ask your doctor if you have circulation problems which increase your risk for stroke.

10. If you experience any stroke symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. CALL 911! Every minute counts!

Source:National Stroke Association’s Prevention Advisory Board Stroke Prevention Guidelines.

Crack a chest vs. close a PFO percutaneously- should insurance decide??

Many stroke survivors report they are “waiting in fear for another possible stroke” while insurance companies deny treatment.   This is by far the most common emotion that most stroke survivors share with me while they angrily battle their insurance companies.  Here’s another recent post to that illustrates this frustration…

Jen writes- “So I am in a very similar boat. Although, I am only 21, and had a ‘stroke’ this summer. Lucky for me the clot that could have been a full blown stroke happened to end up in my eye instead, killing 1/4th of my left eye but leaving my brain alone. They found my PFO 2 weeks later, and were shocked I had never had migraines. Although looking back I always had, but they affected my eyes more than my head so I never thought they were the same thing as the headaches that kept my sister home in the dark all day long. But three months ago (1.5 months after the clot) I started with the every day full fledged migraines. Fun stuff. Anyway, I have been fighting to get my insurance company to cover the closure for over 3 months now. They refused the device closure 3 times, and it looks like I am going to have some sort of surgery, possibly open heart surgery, on the 21st of december (when the semester is over). To tell you the truth, it is absolutely terrifying, and I can’t understand why they won’t pay to put the device in my heart, but would prefer to cut open my breastbone. I am glad to hear your closure did in fact reduce the symptoms.  My worst fear is to have open heart surgery and be laid up for 6 weeks only to still have the headaches and heart palpitations.”

We need to do MORE!