Monday, September 12, 2011

Stroke prevention and the hope of a cure

I read in todays newspaper that scientists have extracted Stem Cells from dental pulp and implanted them into the brains of "stroke induced" rats! Apparently the results were excellent (only a 9% mortality rate - which I presume is acceptable for ratus ratus) - and the hope is that in about 5 years they will start some human trials to see if these results can be replicated (presumably without the 9% mortality rate!)

Considering that somewhere in Australia someone is suffering from a new stroke every 10 minutes, it is important that we don't wait 5 years before we do something about it, and thus reduce the life-long physical and emotional burdens that both sufferers and carers have to carry. In dollar terms the cost is $2,4 billion annually, but in terms of human suffering the "costs" eat into the very fabric of all lives that are affected.

The risk factors that we can have an impact on in order to reduce the chance of having a stroke are below - and you will hopefully recognize most of them!

  • high blood pressure
  • cigarette smoking
  • high cholesterol
  • obesity
  • lack of physical activity
  • diabetes
  • alcohol
  • irregular pulse (atrial fibrillation)

There are some risk factors that you cannot change and they are:

Age: the older you are the higher the risk
Gender: the male of the species is at greater risk
Family history of stroke: you can change your friends, but ....

Lets make sure that the health care messages gets out there:we face a choice between engaging with a healthy life and living it to the full, or being passive observers who buy every "pup" that is sold to them and then suffering all the consequences.

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