News roundup: March 2023

newspaper on a table with coffee and croissants

News websites and channels are so full these days, it can be hard to find the stories you're interested in. That's why every month we pull together some of the stories about stroke that catch our eye.

Survivor stories

This month, we're featuring a story about one of our own coordinators.

The importance of peer support

Dave Jones was 36 when he had his stroke. Thinking it was a migraine, he took some tablets and tried working through the pain for a few days. When he called his GP they sent him straight to the hospital.

The hospital found that he'd had a haemorrhagic stroke. Luckily Dave didn't end up needing surgery. But the support he received during his recovery was vital. Both from his local hospital and the Stroke Association.

An important part of his recovery was a peer group for other young men in a similar position.

We help each other through it and meet up and talk about our experience, it is a massive help to me. Without the opportunity and help to set up this group by the Stroke Association who knows where we would all be. It has been a real saviour to many of us.

Dave Jones, stroke survivor

Dave now works as a coordinator here at the Stroke Association. You can read more on Wales Online about Dave's story and the threat to the stroke recovery services in his area.

If you'd like to read more about the threat to the Hywel Dda University Health Board, you can do so here.

Funding thank yous

Every month we like to say thank you to people who fundraise for the Stroke Association. It is through your efforts that we are able to support so many stroke survivors.

This month we wanted to say a special thank you to a group of three London taxi drivers who rowed 3,200 miles across the Atlantic Ocean!

That's right, they rowed from Lanzarote to Antigua to raise over £13,000. This money will go to the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, a Tanzanian orphanage and the Stroke Association.

You can read about their amazing journey here on Taxi Point.

Medical news

In this month's medical news section, we want to look at two new bits of technology and new findings about bread.

More salt than McDonald's?

New research by Action on Salt has found that some brands of sliced bread contain very high levels of salt.

The researcher analysed 242 breads made by 28 companies. They found that three quarters of these loaves had as much as a bag of ready salted crisps.

One particularly salty loaf had 0.6g of salt per slice. A sandwich made with this bread would have the same amount of salt as a McDonald's hamburger – and that’s not counting any salt in the filling!

Reducing salt is the most cost-effective measure to lower blood pressure and reduce the number of people dying and suffering from strokes and heart disease. It’s therefore a disgrace that food companies continue to fill our food with so much unnecessary salt, as shown here in bread.

Professor Graham MacGregor, chair of Action on Salt

You can find out more about Action on Salt's research in this article. If you’re concerned about the level of salt in your bread, you can find a list of the average salt content of different brands of bread in Action on Salt’s Bread Report.

Walkerbot: learning to walk again

It has been a year since the Lokomat was installed in the Acute Stroke Unit (ASU) at University Hospitals Dorset. In that time, it has come to be known as the "walkerbot."

The Walkerbot is officially called an electromechanical gait trainer. It is a robot helps you move your legs as you walk on a treadmill. You can watch videos of it working here.

Dr Louise Johnson from the ASU in Dorset said that it is really making a difference to the stroke survivors she works with.

Each patient has their rehab programme saved for them on the machine, where we tailor the machine’s settings and the interactive games to their needs. Once the patient is walking...we can keep an eye on [them], give them feedback and encourage them. At the end of each session we share the data with the patient. What’s great is we can immediately show them what they’ve done, how long they’ve walked for, and how many steps they’ve taken. Patients are really competitive with themselves and want to know if they’ve done more than the previous session.

Dr Louise Johnson, Consultant Therapist for Stroke

You can read more about the Lokomat here on Stroke Rehab Times.

Lowering blood pressure

Researchers have reviewed the results of three studies on a new treatment for lowering blood pressure. People with high blood pressure often have overactive nerves in their kidneys. The treatment uses ultrasound waves delivered to the kidneys using a catheter to help reduce this overactivity.

The researchers found this experimental treatment helped people lower their blood pressure. And their blood pressure stayed lower for at least two months after treatment.

The authors of the study can see this treatment helping people who aren't able to lower their blood pressure through diet and medication.

You can read more about this study and the possible future of this device on Medical News Today.

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