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Monday, February 15, 2010

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

 1. NEWS: RESEARCH on Stroke Recovery & Rehabilitation:
       Anti-depressant May Improve Cognitive Function

The antidepressant medication escitalopram (Lexapro) showed improvement in certain memory and cognitive skills in patients who received it for 12 weeks following a stroke, compared to stroke survivors who took a placebo pill or a problem-solving therapy program. The study involved 129 patients randomized to the drug therapy--a type of anti-depressant known as a selective serotonin
reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), sugar-pill, or therapy.

       The study, conducted by researchers at theUniversity of Iowa, showed that the patients taking the medication had better scores in mental functionn as well as activities of daily living.

To read a summary from PsychCentral, visit:

For an abstract on the study in the February issue of the AMA's "Archives of General Psychiatry," visit:

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 orooVoo. I set my goals and the pace. I  have lots of homework, most that I do alone on my own schedule.
Sometimes I study with one of Bill's clients.

       This month, I am working on compound verbs. Bill gives me a verb like "take"..."I take the cake" and I expand it to a compound verb, like "am
taking"..."I am taking your cake." Bill gave me a list of suggested verbs to start. I practice with his list, and add my own verbs.

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.


       Exercise Your Brain With Word Power

All stroke survivors should exercise their bodies and their brains for health and a good attitude. One exercise I recommend for your brain is to find the meaning of words you do not understand. The best time to look up the word is
when you are reading a sentence that interests you.

For example, if I receive an email and a friend uses a word
I don't know, I can look up the meaning quickly by:

       * Copying the word into a Word document and
       clicking the keys Shift and F7 together. This opens
       the "Research" window and shows a dictionary
       definition. If I need more information to help me
       understand, I can select the Thesaurus, for words
       with similar meanings.

       * Using an online dictionary like the Encarta
       dictionary at:

I also have a Franklin electronic dictionary about the size of a large calculator to use when I am online but do not want to switch out of the document, or reading the newspaper or a book when I am not near the computer.

       You can exercise your brain everyday with a Word-of-the-Day. I have a word delivered to my emailevery day by Vocab Vitamins. They have a no cost
subscription service at:

I cut and paste words from the dictionary or the word-a-day with their definitions and sentences into a reference file. Sometimes I remember that I looked up a word but do not remember the meaning, so I refer to my notes.

       Here are some of my favorite words:
       * chimera
       * orb
       * namby-pamby

What new words will you find to exercise your brain today?

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.


*** Celebrate National Heart Health Month ***

Celebrate Valentines Day all month as part of American Heart Month. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) cautions that millions of women are at risk of heart disease, at increasingly younger ages.

       80 percent of midlife women (ages 40 to 60) have one or more of the modifiable risk factors: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes, and smoking. 60 percent of younger women, ages 20-39, have one or more of these risk factors.

Women can prevent heart disease by reducing their risk, and following a heart-healthy lifestyle. It's never too early or too late to take action.

Learn more at:


       Fight Stress and Improve Your Attitude & Health

One word solution to caregivers, professionals and stroke survivors to fight stress, improve your attitude, and prevent stroke: CHOCOLATE.

Yet another medical review demonstrates the health benefits of my beloved chocolate: one study found that 44,489 people who ate one serving of chocolate per week were 22 percent less likely to have a stroke than people who ate no chocolate. The second study found that 1,169 people who ate
50 grams of chocolate once a week were 46 percent less likely to die following a stroke than people who did not eat chocolate. If you need the citation:

       The studies do not explain why, but some suggest that chocolate is rich in antioxidants called flavonoids, which may have a protective effect against stroke and other health conditions.

Chocolate also triggers pleasure responses in the brain and when you take it in your favorite style, whether cookie, cake, dark, filled candy, ice cream, hot cocoa, pudding, or pancake, adds to the enjoyment, like a minute spa for your
senses. If you concentrate on the chocolate, and savor each bite, you can amplify the effect, sooth your nerves, reduce stress, and lift your mood.

       Since I watch my cholesterol, I look for low fat chocolate alternatives. My favorites are fat-free chocolate pudding, reduced fat/sugar hot chocolate,
and fat-free No Pudge Fudge brownies. You can make a pan of these satisfying brownies or just one in the microwave in two minutes. My grocery store carries the mix in the bakery aisle. For more, visit:

A special note to family and friends: Valentines Day may be over, but you can never have enough CHOCOLATE.

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"
       "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:


       Easy Socks

I can only use one hand when I dress, so putting on socks can be hard. Casual cotton socks are okay, but when I need to wear a jacket and tie, I need black dress socks. I found Clarks' men's socks to be the best. They are soft, easy to
stretch, and keep their shape on my leg. They are a mix of rayon, nylon microfiber, and acrylic. For a store near you, visit the Clarks' website at:

       I order them in the shoe store or by phone, since they are not yet available for purchase from the website. Call: 1-800-425-2757 and ask for black socks, item # 413303001001 (Style # HA-133). They ship them directly to the house.

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:

       * AphasiaNYC (New York City)

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. Social Security Disability Income Expedited Eligibility
       Primary Progressive Aphasia Added to Special List

Primary Progressive Aphasia was recently added to the Social Security Disability Income program's list of special conditions that qualify for "Compassionate Allowances." This special list allows the Social Security Administration to electronically target and make speedy decisions for
applicants with specific types of disabilities.

       For a press release on the new list of disabilities under the Compassionate Allowances program, visit the SSA website at:

       For details on the Compassionate Allowances program, visit:

For information on Primary Progressive Aphasia, visit:


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 & Stephanie Mensh’s Stroke Survivor NEWS & ATTITUDE FOR YOU - FEBRUARY 2010SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

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