Stroke Research: Antibiotics, Alcohol, & Virtual Reality
According to the CDC, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, with about 795,000 people having a stroke each year. About 140,000 of those people die, accounting for 1 out of every 20 deaths. Strokes cost the U.S. an estimate $34 billion a year in health care services, medications, and lost productivity. It’s also the leading cause of serious long-term disability. Research continues to identify risk factors and improve treatments for those who suffer a stroke.
A study published in the European Society of Cardiology found that women who took antibiotics for two months or long
er in late adulthood were 32% more likely to develop heart disease, while those who took them in middle age had a 28% increased risk, suggesting there may be a cumulative effect.
Despite some claims that moderate alcohol consumption protects against stroke, new research concludes just the opposite. A massive genetic study recently published found no protection against stroke and that moderate consumption not only does not reduce the risk but, in fact, increases the risk.
Generally speaking, lower levels of LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind) is deemed better. When there’s too much of it, it can stick to the arteries, leading to cardiovascular issues. However, a study completed by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA found that women in particular who have LDL levels below 100 mg/dl “may actually be more at risk of hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke,” which is more dangerous than the more common ischemic stroke.
Survivors of stroke trauma need therapy or some form of rehabilitation to recover. One neuroscientist is revolutionizing treatment using a virtual reality game to repair broken brain connections and retrain the body to move. Implementation has seen significant earlier and increased motivation to use the therapy compared to traditional treatment.
Another study found that stroke victims showed “improved recovery of memory functions when exposed to regular music.” Participants in the study reported that music helped them relax, to focus and concentrate, and to manage their emotions, and also helped to increase their activity level and stimulated recall of memories from the past.
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