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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Paul & Stephanie's January Stroke Survivor Newsletter

Paul Berger & Stephanie Mensh’s Stroke Survivor NEWS & ATTITUDE FOR YOU - JANUARY 2010

1. NEWS: RESEARCH on Stroke Recovery & Rehabilitation: Music Therapy
*** Intensive Aphasia Therapy News ***
2. PAUL’S SURVIVORS TIPS Olympic Mental Focus Stroke Comeback Center Chocolate Party - Feb 5
** Combine Reading & Listening for Solutions & Adventure **
5. WHAT'S NEW on:
6. Study on Crime Against Persons with Disabilities U.S. Department of Justice Reports
7. Stroke Reading Problems? Free Read-aloud Software
1. NEWS: RESEARCH on Stroke Recovery Rehabilitation: Music Therapy

A new NIH-funded study is exploring the effectiveness of music therapy in stroke recovery. Dr. Gottfried Schlaug, a neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School, notes that when a person makes music, many different areas of the brain, including visual, auditory and motor areas are engaged.

       When stroke damages the speaking area of the brain, some people can still sing words, even if they can't say them. Dr. Schlaug is examining a  technique called music intonation therapy that aims to have patients learn to sing and mimic them rhythms of simple songs. Theoretically, this will encourage different regions of the brain to gradually take over some speaking functions.

Results of the study are expected in 3 years. To read more about music and health, visit the official NIH newsletter, January 2010 at:

For an abstract on the study:

For additional resources to help you find information on medical, health, rehabilitation, recovery, self-empowerment, and more, we have collected our favorite links at:

Contact us at or 703-241-2375.
Special rates for newsletter & web:!
*** Intensive Aphasia Therapy News ***

As the readers of my newsletter know, I am continuing speech therapy with Bill Connors at the Pittsburgh Aphasia Treatment, Research and Education Center (PATREC).

I am in Virginia and Bill is in Pittsburgh, but I see him 3 times a week over the Internet using my webcam on Skype or ooVoo. I set my goals and the pace. I have lots of homework, most that I do alone on my own schedule.

My friends tell me they are impressed with my continuing improvement. I enjoy Bill's innovative approach and tools at

       For a complimentary consumer Q&A fact sheet, contact Bill Connors at or phone 724-494-2534.
2. PAUL’S TIPS FOR SURVIVORS: Olympic Mental Focus

The up-coming Vancouver winter Olympics is one way to think about stroke recovery, especially with aphasia. Olympic athletes must concentrate and focus their brainpower on their goal. I feel the same way about my aphasia--there is
no cure, only strong willpower to force the words out, and deep mental focus on grammar.

       I spend time picturing how to form sounds--how my lips and teeth and tongue move. I try first to think and organize my thoughts, my sounds and my words before I talk. I am making new habits on how I start a sentence.

Today my speech therapist--like a coach--showed me how to improve my use of the words: "may, could, should, would" (these are called auxiliary modal verbs). I understand action verbs like: "go, eat, drive, call," and I am
learning when to add the auxiliary words to make a more complete sentence.

While I practice, I imagine myself in the Olympic arena, racing around the grammar obstacles, with my family and friends in the stands cheering me on as I pull nouns and verbs and auxiliary modal verbs into sentences.

Can you hear the crowds cheering you?

If I can do it, you can do it, too.

Other insights and tips for coping with life and taking control of your recovery after stroke are available on my website at

Do you have a tip to share?  Send it to me at for a free gift if we use it.
       Stroke Comeback Center Chocolate Party - Feb 5 Mark your calendars! The Stroke Comeback Center, Vienna, Virginia is celebrating it's 6th year of success with "The Benefits of Chocolate" fundraising party, Friday, February 5, 2010, at Jammin' Java, 227 Maple Avenue, Vienna VA, from 7:30 - 11:30 p.m. Food, Chocolate Choices, Open Bar, Live Music and Auction. $75 per person.

       Ads in the program are welcome. For more information or to RSVP, contact Carol at

I recently signed up for the online version of the "StrokeConnection" magazine, published by the American HeartAssociation--American Stroke Association. Obviously, the online version saves money for the Association and is one
less item for me to decide where to keep, how to file, and when to toss.

       Ironically, as a thank-you gift for signing up for its online magazine, the AHA-ASA sent me, by regular post office mail, a little package of hard-cover, spiral-bound booklets for caregivers. My first response was concern that these would end up under yet another pile.

However, as I paged through them, I realized that there are many books and tools that can be useful to have at your fingertips.

One of the booklets was a listing of national resources with websites and phone numbers. You could make notes on the pages by the ones you wanted to contact, and there were blank pages in the back to add your own. There was also a combination calendar-journal, with colorful stickers to use as visual reminders for appointments, birthdays, etc.

Over the years, I have learned to incorporate these items (although not the bright stickers) into my daytimer planner--calendar, phone numbers and addresses, and other important information. I also have a lot of this in my
Outlook calendar and in files on my computer, and periodically go back and forth updating each source.

There are times when I need to have the information off-line, and times when I want to forward it by email. And certainly the piles of papers and books around my house and office prove that we are some years away from a paper-less world.

For more tips for caregivers, please visit:
** Combine Reading & Listening for Solutions & Adventure **
       Brighten Your Day With ATTITUDE!

Brighten winter days with proven solutions, adventure, and motivation in these special new combination sets of:

       "How to Conquer the World With One Hand ...And an Attitude" and "YOU CAN DO IT, 105 Thoughts, Feelings and Solutions to Inspire You"

Used by speech, OT & PT for classroom education and for client enrichment, these books were created by stroke survivor Paul Berger, for stroke survivors, families and professionals. Real life, real feelings, real thoughts,
real everyday solutions.

       Combination set #1 offers both books in paperback book format for a discount of $3.50 !!

       Combination set #2 offers both books in audio CD format for a savings of $7.00 !!

Order your sets from our secure online store:

       Books set only $19.95 plus shipping:

       Audio CDs set only $64.45 plus shipping:

For details on these award-wining books and CDs, please visit:

One of my friends who travels and likes to read convinced me to try a digital book reading system. I selected's Kindle because it has a build-in text-to-speech function. Reading and hearing the words aloud at the same time significantly improves my understanding of the paragraph. You can highlight a word and check the definition.

       Best of all, it solves the one-handed problem of holding a book open and trying to turn the page, especially when reading on a sofa or in bed--you click a button with one finger. It is small, and its battery lasts a long time. It's not cheap, but you can save over time because the e-books are less expensive than the print version.

To learn more, visit:

For details on other Paul-tested helpful books and products, visit: and
5. WHAT'S NEW on the Stroke web site.

We're adding helpful new things to our web site all the time. Coming soon are links to:

       * The Quarterly Newsletter of


We have many useful links for survivors, families and professionals on rehabilitation, motivation, and to regain fulfillment posted to our Resource Links pages. Visit:
Would you like to view a previous month's newsletter? Visit our newsletter archive at:
6. Study on Crime Against Persons with Disabilities U.S. Department of Justice Report

The first national study on crime against persons with disabilities was recently released by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), Office of Justice Programs. The report showed that in 2007, persons age 12 or older with disabilities experienced about 716,000 nonfatal violent crimes, including rape or sexual assault (47,000), robbery (79,000), aggravated assaults (114,000) and simple assaults (476,000). They also experienced about
2.3 million property crimes.

The National Crime Victimization Survey--Crime Against People with Disabilities, 2007 can be downloaded from the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice website at:
7. Stroke/Aphasia Reading problems?

After a stroke, many people have reading and other language problems, known as "aphasia." Hearing a sentence read aloud helps to understand it. You can hear this newsletter read aloud while each word is highlighted on the computer screen with the FREE text reader software described at:

Stroke survivors, family, friends, professionals...anyone seeking inspiration, motivation, and more!

       Find books, audio-books, tapes, and special tools created for stroke recovery by stroke survivor-expert, Paul Berger at:

© Paul Berger and Stephanie Mensh
Authors of "How to Conquer the World With One Hand... And an Attitude"
Positive Power Publishing
P.O. Box 2644,
Merrifield, VA 22116
Email: or

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