News roundup: July 2022

woman reading newspaper on some brick steps

July was a month full of stroke news. The papers were full of stories about new research and procedures.

In this month's news roundup, we look at some of the stories about new and exciting stroke research.

But before we get to all the big medical news from July, we wanted to start with...

A huge thank you

We want to thank each and every person who has fundraised for us in July. Without you the Stroke Association wouldn't be able to help stroke survivors or fund research into treatment and prevention.

This month, we wanted to say a special thank you to a group of friends in Richmond, North Yorkshire.

A group of four friends have raised over £15,000 for Stroke Association and Macmillan. They embarked on a 1,700 mile journey around the coast of Scotland on motorbikes bought for less than £500!

They undertook this adventure in memory of a friend who passed away from bowel cancer in 2018. It was also done in honour of the same friend's brother who had a stroke in his 40s.

You can read more about the friends' trials and tribulations on Richmondshire Today.

Survivor stories: UK first facial reanimation surgery

Although the surgery happened a couple years ago, this news story hit the headlines in July.

Sammy Taylor was 25 years old when she had her stroke. It came after surgery to remove a brain tumour and left her with paralysis on the right side of her face.

Her recovery over the next couple of years saw her make huge improvements. She was able to start writing again and worked hard on her recovery. But her facial paralysis remained.

In 2020 she had undergone the UK's first facial reanimation surgery. This surgery can involve grafting nerves and muscles from other parts of the body into the face. The goal of the so-called "smile surgery" is to create movement and symmetry in the face. It has only been carried out three times worldwide!

You can read more about Sammy's story on the Daily Mail.

Thrombectomy: a new Stroke Association study and campaign

A "miracle treatment" for stroke is not reaching everyone who could benefit from it according to a new study by the Stroke Association.

Over the next seven years over 47,000 people will miss out on a thrombectomy if nothing changes with the NHS and government. Currently the NHS is only performing the procedure on approximately 28% of eligible people.

You can read more about the results of the study in this article from The Guardian.

If you'd like to read more about the Stroke Association campaign and sign our open letter, you can find out more here.

One woman's experience of thrombectomy

Linda Beale had a stroke in 2018 while training for Race for Life. She was taken to her local hospital and then transferred to Southmead Hospital in Bristol for a thrombectomy.

In an article on the Wells Nub News, Linda describes her experience:

He [the doctor] asked me to remain perfectly still which I did. I guess it was easier because I was paralysed down my left side arm and leg!

The procedure did not hurt at all apart from a crackling feeling in my head. In what seemed no time at all the doctor said it was all done. He asked me if I could raise my arm. Although my arm felt slightly heavy I raised it and the medical team cheered.

Then the doctor asked me if I could raise my left leg. Again it felt a little heavy but I raised it and I was so relieved to get movement back in my limbs. I was saying thank you thank you and the medical team was cheering.

Linda Beale, stroke survivor

Just four months after her thrombectomy, Linda completed the Race for Life in Bath.

New research: links to stroke

There were several new research papers making headlines in July. We've selected a handful of them to share here.

A link between depression and stroke

Scientists in Germany have found that 29% people in their study showed signs of depression in the years leading up to their stroke. The proportion increased to 34% at the time of the stroke. This was compared with 24% of people who showed signs of depression and did not go on to have a stroke.

The researchers suggest that depression could be an early warning sign. They are calling for further investigations into the link between stroke and depression. You can find out more in this article on the Independent.

The link between macular degeneration and stroke

Researches have demonstrated a link between some forms of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. The people in the study with this particular form of AMD were 66% more likely to have had cardiovascular disease or stroke.

The form of AMD in question is known as "subretinal drusenoid deposits" or SDD.

Read more about this study on Science Daily.

Poor sleep: naps and your health

People who nap more frequently may be at risk for high blood pressure and an increase risk of stroke. That's not because napping is bad for you. It's because frequent napping can be a sign of poor sleep quality.

Researchers asked 358,000 people in the UK about their napping habits. People who napped most days were found to have a 12% higher chance of having high blood pressure. This was compared to people who never napped.

Those same people were found to be 24% more likely to have a stroke.

You can read more about this research over on Science Daily.

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