News roundup: December 2022

man sitting on a park bench reading a newspaper

Every month, there are news stories about stroke. From survivor stories to new research. Each month, we collect a few that caught our eye.

This month we're looking at survivor stories about the hidden impacts of stroke, the UK Stroke Forum and other medical stories. But first...

A couple of thank yous 

We wanted to start the year off with a few thank yous. 

Wildlife calendar 

We want to thank amateur photographer Simon Booker who had a stroke back in May last year. After his stroke, he decided to create a wildlife calendar using his own photographs taken during the year. All are from his home in Oxfordshire. He is generously donating some of the proceeds to the Stroke Association, saying: 

“I had some lucky breaks but many do not and the Stroke Association help people rebuild their lives. Nature helps all of us celebrate life, landscapes and the creatures that share this wonderful world with us." 

Simon Booker, stroke survivor 

The forum community 

Whether you've shared your story or commented on someone else's. You make our forum the supportive and wonderful community that it is. Thank you. 

And for those who have gone the extra mile by acting as a moderator, organising a Zoom call or being there when someone really needed a word of comfort: we want you to know that you have our deepest thanks and respect. You are the heart of the forum.  

Don't worry, we won't embarrass anyone by naming names. But you know who you are. 

The hidden impact of stroke

Two stories from stroke survivors caught our attention in December. Both featured men talking about the hidden impact their stroke had on their life. 

The importance of emotional support 

Dave Parkyn had a series of strokes following a bacterial infection. He was only 28. The loss of his independence, friends and the future he'd planned left him devastated. But a new counselling service launched in Cornwall by the Stroke Association helped. 

"It helped me think about how to let out my anger and frustration which is a huge part of the healing process...When I come out after our sessions I feel like big weight has come off my shoulders. I’m never going to get all the answers I need but it’s a way of dealing with what’s happened." 

Dave Parkyn, stroke survivor 

You can read more about Dave and his mum's experiences on Cornwall Live

Anxiety and mental health 

Colin Lynch had a stroke the day after his 50th birthday. A business coach and entertainer, Colin was surprised by the level of anxiety and other mental health issues he's had since his stroke. 

"I have had really bad anxiety issues since the stroke. The hardest part, the most difficult part, is that I was never like this before the stroke..."My [performing] job has always been my hobby and it's also where I socialise the most too. I miss the banter and the energy. I was so confident, I used to bounce around the stage entertaining people but now the thought of getting back up there just freaks me out. 

Colin Lynch, stroke survivor 

He shared his story as a way to urge other stroke survivors to seek help if they are struggling with mental health or feelings of isolation. The article also mentions the Stroke Association's new partnership with Buzz Bingo. This seeks to offer survivors opportunities to be more social. You can read more Colin and his mother’s experiences on the Newcastle Chronicle

UK Stroke Forum

The 17th UK Stroke Forum (UKSF) took place in Liverpool in December. It is the UK's largest multidisciplinary conference for stroke care professionals. You can find out more about it here

If you'd like to read a summary of the event, Dr Sarah Moore has shared her experience on Stroke Rehab Times

Many of the speakers at UKSF are researchers and medical professionals. But there are also a number of stroke survivors attending and speaking at the event. 

On day two, Kate Cooke shared her story. Kate had a series of cerebellar strokes that went undiagnosed over a period of three weeks. After diagnosis, Kate's story did not improve. She struggled to negotiate the health system and then had a terrible back to work journey. 

"My takeaway point from all of this is that it’s not impossible, but incredibly difficult to advocate for yourself after stroke.” 

Kate Cooke, stroke survivor 

You can read the full details of Kate's story here on Stroke Rehab Times

Medical news

As always, we'll close this month's news roundup with a few bits of medical news. 

  • Statins may lower risk of a haemorrhagic stroke. Some people take statins to help control high cholesterol. They have also been shown to prevent blood clots, helping reduce the risk of an ischaemic stroke. But new research suggests that they may also lower the risk of a bleed in the brain. You can read more on Medical News Today
  • A new robot can help train nurses to recognise strokes. This new robot is being used at a nurse training centre in the US state of Georgia. It can be programmed to display a variety of symptoms, including those that mimic a stroke. You can find out more (and watch a video of the robot) here
  • A BBC Radio 4 presenter takes part in an experiment to find out what being cold does to your body. Spending too long being cold can have health risks, including stroke. Even at the relatively mild temperature of 10 degrees Celsius. Find out how the experiment went in this article on BBC News

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