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Thursday, April 29, 2010



                           ARE INAUGURATING

  THE APHASIA CENTER                          
      (Formerly the Saint Vincent’s Aphasia Program)

                  We will have our first meeting at this new location on:

                                    Monday, May 3, 2010 from 6:30 to 8 PM
                 The address of Beth Israel Medical Center
                 Department of Neurology is
                 Phillips Ambulatory Care Center (PACC)
                 10 Union Square East
                 NYC, NY 10003
                 (Between 14th and 15th Streets)
                 We are meeting in Suite 5K, Conference Room 5K04

                 Parking is available under the building, enter from 15th Street
                 Elevators are available - you are going to the fifth floor.
                 Subways L,N,Q,R,W,4,5,6 leave you off at the Medical Center                
                 You should get off at UNION SQUARE STATION

                There will be a separate Conference Room for their meeting

                            Coffee will be served, all treats are welcome

                          FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CALL
                                       Harvey Alter at 212-217-2610

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

An Ode to Odd News: Tiger Woods, Beans, Bilingual Aphasia, and Thongs

Published April 26, 2010 by: Aida Ekberg
Check out an ode to the odd news of April 26, 2010 told in an odd way: in rhyme. From a raunchy Tiger Woods video game to bilingual aphasia, banned thongs, and swastika beans, the odd news  of April 26, 2010 is tasty, sexy, and hard to understand.
An Ode to Odd (But Sexy) Sports News: Tiger Woods a Real Swinger in New Video Game
For those tired of simply teeing off on a pixilated green
Get prepared for a golf video game like none you've ever seen
In this new insane golf game you're sure to always win
Doing your best to juggle mistresses in Tiger Woods Affair Tour 2010
The graphics get rather graphic as you score points by hooking up
And the game gives a whole new meaning to winning the Ryder Cup
So be sure to rack up plenty of points by getting lots of love
But beware of angry-looking blonde babes wielding your golf club
An Ode to Odd News About Funky Uses for Food: Refried Nazi Pride
When protesting an anti-illegal-immigration law it's a bad idea to be mean
So be sure to keep your statement muted with a handful of boring brown beans
An artful vandal's smeared swastika may not have been a display of Nazi pride
But perhaps when protesting racial profiling, it's best not to get refried
An Ode to Odd News About Bizarre Body Functions: Bilingual Aphasia, The Best Way to Learn a New Language
Beware trying to learn a new language because if you hit your head
You might awake to everyone wondering what you just said
Bilingual Aphasia is a condition that can make your life no fun
As you awake from a coma unable to speak in your native tongue
Take it from a Croatian girl who didn't need Rosetta Stone for learnin'
She awoke and only spoke in the foreign language of German
But never fear, the results may fade after brain swelling goes down
And your family will again begin to comprehend your vocal sounds
An Ode to Odd News Involving Undies (Sort of): Mayberry Bans Booty Floss
A town that wants to be Mayberry (with a beach) would make Andy Griffith whistle
But the revealing of too many butts is making some Kure Beach folks bristle
So if you want to don a thong by the beach and give a guy the thrill of his life
Just beware those hostile stares and an officer named Barney Fife
So I hope you've enjoyed this tuneful ode to odd news, a whimsical way to brighten your day and combat the bad news blues.
An Ode to Odd News: Tiger Woods, Beans, Bilingual Aphasia, and ThongsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, April 19, 2010

Speech Therapy Activities For Aphasia

Speech Therapy Activities For Aphasia
To begin with, the primary cause of aphasia should be stabilized or treated. After doing so, that?s the only time that a therapist can work on the rehabilitation of the patient. To recover a person?s language function, he or she should begin undergoing therapy as soon as possible subsequent the injury.
Speech Therapy: As A Treatment For Aphasia
Since there are no surgical or medical procedures that are currently available to treat Aphasia, conditions that result from head injury or stroke can be improved through the treatment of speech therapy.
For majority of Aphasic patients though, the main emphasis is placed upon optimizing the use of the person?s retained language skills and being able to learn to use other ways of communication to be able to compensate for their permanently lost language abilities.
Therapy Activities
The formulation of what activities to use during a speech therapy session is critically done and would highly depend on the therapists? assessment and diagnosis results on the individual. However, there are some general activities that are done to treat Aphasia.
Since most types of Aphasia would include right-sided weakness of the body and sensory loss, it is important for the patient to be able to exercise their body. Regular exercise and practice is needed to strengthen the weak muscles and prevent it from further degeneration.
The exercise activities do not have to be exhilarating. For the purpose of speech function, the therapist can exercise the patient?s weakened muscles through repetitive speaking of certain words, and projecting facial expressions, like smiling and frowning.
The use of food too is helpful, since the patient is able to exercise articulators needed for speech production like the tongue and jaw, which may be weakened due to the condition.
Picture Cards
One of the tools used for therapy are picture cards. Pictures of daily living and everyday objects can be used to improve and develop word recall skills. Picture cards can act as a visual cue to increase the learning process of an Aphasic. These can also help increase the vocabulary of the patient.
By showing the picture cards and repetitively saying aloud the names of the objects in the picture, the patient will be able to exercise weak muscles and practice vocalization.
Picture Boards
Another tool for therapy are picture boards. Since aphasia can bring about difficulty in recalling names of activities, objects and people, use of material to help recall these names is very helpful. By making use of a board where the therapist places pictures of different everyday activities and objects, the patient can point to specific pictures to express ideas and communicate with other people.
The use of workbooks is also important in the treatment of Aphasia. Since reading and writing skills are affected, this is one way to exercise them. Workbook exercises can be used to sharpen an Aphasic?s word recalling skills and recover reading and writing abilities.
By reading aloud, hearing comprehension can also be exercised and redeveloped through workbook exercises.
With the development of technology, there are now computer programs that are used to treat Aphasia. Such computer programs can be used to improve an Aphasic?s reading, speech, recall, and hearing comprehension. In fact, the use of computers can bring about optimal results, since it can stimulate senses of vision, and hearing at the same time, helping speed up the learning process.
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What is Cognitive Dementia?

April 18, 2010 by dovestid

Image :
Cognitive dementia can be confusing and scary. Dementia can cause you to lose your freedom and independence. It can cause you to become a burden to your children or other loved ones.
As you read, you will find out the facts about cognitive dementia. You will discover different types and their causes. You may be amazed to find there are types of cognitive dementia that are reversible. You may well be pleasantly surprised to find that you may be able to delay or avoid dementia altogether!
What is Cognitive Dementia?
Cognitive dementia is the loss of mental ability. The loss of the ability to think, remember and reason. To earn the label of dementia, the mental loss must get in the way of carrying out day-to-day activities. The reduced ability to fulfill day-to-day events must last for more than six months.
Cognitive dementia is not a disease. It is a group of symptoms. These symptoms would go along with certain diseases or conditions. Signs of dementia might also include changes in mood, personality, and behavior.
Cognitive dementia results when a number of factors affect parts of the brain. These factors can include infections, diseases, or aging. The parts of the brain involved with dementia with examples are:

Learning. Trouble learning a new kitchen appliance.
Memory. Trouble remembering where you lived the past few years.
Decision-making. Not able to make what used to be simple decisions.
Language. Pausing to find words in the middle of a sentence.
What Are the Types of Cognitive Dementia?
There are two groups of cognitive dementia. The group depends on what part of the brain is affected:Cortical dementias. The cerebral cortex is changed. The cerebral cortex is the outer layers of the brain. It has a vital role in cognitive processes like memory and speech. Patients with cortical dementia usually have severe memory damage. These patients also cannot recall words and cannot grasp common speech. This is aphasia. Alzheimer’s and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease are two forms of cortical dementia.Sub-cortical dementias. Beneath the cortex is affected. These patients show changes in their personality and attention span. Their thinking slows down. They may not show the memory loss and language hardships as with cortical dementias. Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and AIDS dementia complex are examples of sub-cortical dementias. There are cases where both parts of the brain are affected. One case is with multi-infarct dementia.
What are Some of the Causes of Cognitive Dementia?

The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease causes 50 to 70 percent of all dementia.
The most common causes of cognitive dementia include:

Degenerative neurological diseases. These include Alzheimer’s, dementia with Lewy Bodies, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s.
Blood-flow (vascular) disorders. Including multiple-infarct dementia, which is caused by multiple strokes in the brain.
Infections that affect the central nervous system. These consist of HIV dementia complex and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Chronic drug use.
Certain types of hydrocephalus. This is a buildup of fluid in the brain. The fluid build up can result from irregularities in development, infections, injury, or brain tumors.
Normal aging.

How Common is Cognitive Dementia?
Cognitive dementia develops mostly in elderly people. It has always been common. In recent times, it’s even more common in the elderly. One reason is that we are living longer. A recent forecast is that the numbers of dementia cases will double every twenty years.
Age-related cognitive dementia starts around age 35. It develops so slowly that it is not noticed until it affects day-to-day activities. This usually happens around age 65.
About 5 to 8 percent of all people over 65 have some form of dementia. This number doubles every five years above age 65. It’s estimated that as many as half of people 85 or older suffer from dementia.
Some researchers think that half of people over age 80 will get Alzheimer’s disease.
Which Causes of Cognitive Dementia Can be Reversed?
Most thought of cognitive dementia as permanent. Especially when caused by disease or injury. However, within the past few years, ongoing research shows that this may not always be the case. If done right, brain training can create new links and re-establish old ones. There are no guarantees. However, there is hope.
Cognitive dementia may also be reversible if caused by:

Vitamin imbalances.
Hormone imbalances.
Treating causes can partly cure dementia. Some treatments may even cure it completely. For example, drug users can treat their habit to undo dementia. You can have tumors removed, etc.
How Can I Prevent Cognitive Dementia?
Researchers believe that non-genetic causes of cognitive dementia are preventable. Lifestyle factors like diet and exercise make a difference.
The biggest factor is how you use your brain. If you do not use it, you lose it. Social interaction is very important for keeping the brain active. Brain training games are another way to keep the brain engaged. Research is showing that if you play the right games or exercises, you may be able to eliminate dementia.
Any brain training will do you good, like crossword puzzles. However, there has not been enough research done. Researchers cannot say for sure what benefit these games will provide.
Recommend : Apocalypse Edhardy
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Paul & Stephanie's April Stroke Survivor Newsletter

1. NEWS: RESEARCH on Stroke Recovery & Rehabilitation:
       Surgery v. Stent to Prevent Stroke--Study Results
Treatment to prevent stroke in people with blocked carotid arteries may include carotid endarterectomy (CEA), an established surgical procedure to clear the plaque blocking the blood flow, or carotid artery stenting (CAS), a newer and less invasive procedure that involves threading a stent and expanding a small protective device in the artery to widen the blocked area and capture any dislodged plaque.
Recently, study results were reported from the Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy vs. Stenting Trial (CREST), comparing these two treatments in 2,500 patients. Overall, they showed equal benefits for both men and women,
and for patients who had previously had a stroke and those who had not.

       There were some differences in the rate of heart attacks and strokes following each of these procedures, and indications that patients over 70 had better outcomes with surgery, and patients under 70 had better outcomes with stenting.

This landmark trial was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). For details 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:
*** SPECIAL ADVERTISING OPPORTUNITY IN NEW E-BOOKS! ***3 all-new E-books are near ready for launch:
* Paul Berger's Conquering Stroke & Aphasia TODAY!
* Stephanie Mensh's Conquering Stroke for Caregivers
* Articles to Take With You
Contact us at or 703-241-2375.
Special introductory rates with many bonuses!
       Speech-Language Grammar Websites
I am learning a new way to improve my speech and language skills by taking time to think before I talk. Some of my thinking time is used to focus on the noun, the verb, the object, and other details I need to make the sentence.
I do not remember most of the grammar I learned my first time around in grades 1-12 and college (and Stephanie says she also doesn't remember). Therapists can help, but you need to find other tools. So I use the Internet to research and relearn the basics of grammar.

       Do you know how to use a "modal auxiliary verb"? Can you name a "modal"?  Modal auxiliary verbs may sound difficult, but in fact they're easy: can, could, have to, must, should, would.

       Most people use modals everyday: "Can you mee me at 5:00?"  "I should finish my project first." "I have to take out the garbage." "Could you pass the ketchup."

       These are hard for me, but I am learning.

When I googled "grammar," I found almost 8 million entries. Here are some websites and tools I like: English grammar and exercises especially for English as a Second Language (a good system for people with aphasia)
       Summary of verb tenses
       Literacy Education Online: many how-to-write guides
       Guide to grammar & writing: over 400 topics
       Learn English Free Guide to Grammar
       Lessons include exercises to test your skill

What grammar and speech-language sites do you like?
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 Occupational Therapy Month ***
April is Occupational Therapy Month, an excellent time to celebrate living life to the fullest after stroke. Occupational therapists help stroke survivors re-learn daily activities like grooming, dressing, cooking, and participating at home and in the community. They also research ways to regain the use of paralyzed arms and hands.
Hobbies and crafts help stroke survivors re-learn tasks like cutting and painting using one hand while expressing creativity.

       Celebrate OT Month by finding a new hobby or finding new ways to return ur favorite hobby with Paul Berger's "How to Conquer Hobbies With One   Hand--50 Tips and Tools to Make Things."  For details & easy on-line ordering, visit:

To learn more about Occupational Therapy after stroke, visit the American Occupational Therapy Association at:
3. STEPHANIE’S TIPS FOR CAREGIVERS: Financial Preparedness
Every year after we file our taxes, we learn something new about organizing our finances and being prepared for the unexpected. For our 2009 tax return, our accountant needed some details that dated back to over 20 years ago, just
before Paul's stroke.
We spent hours going through dusty old boxes of records. We had those records because the first lesson that Paul's stroke taught me was to hold onto medical records and financial paperwork.
Here are some other financial lessons learned:

       * Find an accountant to do your taxes. Ask questions, and push for information on medical expenses, insurance premiums, tax credits for handicapped accessibility, appropriate withholding amounts, avoiding penalties, and any special credits relating to your family's circumstances.

       * Reassess your income tax withholding for 2010 and be sure it's consistent with your circumstances this year. Last year, my work hours were adjusted, but I didn't adjust my withholding, so I owed money on April 15.

       * Understand what medical, employment, and financial documents you need to keep. Make a place for them and keep them there. Scan in paper copies, request copies by email, and set up computer folders for these documents. We use Quicken to keep a record of our checkbook and pay most of our bills online now.

       * Find a financial planner who can give you the total picture of health, life, disability, and long term care  insurance, as well as social security, workers and unemployment compensation, and retirement planning for both the caregiver and the stroke survivor. The new health reform law should mean that stroke survivors won't be excluded from health insurance based on their pre-existing condition and lifetime limits. There are local government agencies and non-profit organizations that can assist with counseling if you can't afford an independent planner.

       * Find ways to lower the stress level around money issues. The economy and job situation is difficult for everyone, and certainly worse for most families with a member who has suffered a stroke. Some people find that establishing a budget gives knowledge and control. When cutting expenses, try to be as fair as possible. This means leaving a little room for the caregiver to have a treat from time to time.

For more tips for caregivers, please visit:
 *** 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. Sometimes I study with one of Bill's clients.

       This month, I am working on verb tenses. Bill gives me a verb like "take" and I say, "I take the cake." Then I expand it to a compound verb, like "am taking": "I am taking your cake." We do tenses, too: "will take" (future); took" (past). Bill gave me a list of suggested verbs to start. I practice with his list, and add my own verbs. I use the 4 tenses to write a page of sentences.

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.

The Wii virtual reality video games have many uses in stroke recovery. In our March newsletter we reported on a recent study that showed improved recovery of paralyzed hands when clients spent hours on a Wii virtual cooking or
virtual tennis game. Other Wii virtual sports and exercises improve balance, and clear your brain after speech therapy or other hard work.
You can buy the Wii system at electronics and department stores and through Amazon and other online stores. To see the system and learn more, visit:
For details on other Paul-tested helpful books and products, visit: and
*** Stroke Survivors & Professionals Can Save Now! ***
ONLY from SPECIAL DISCOUNT combo offers:

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

[1] Combination set #1 offers both books in paperback book format for a discount of $3.50 !!
[2] Combination set #2 offers both books in audio CD format for a savings of $7.00 !!

       For details on these award-wining books and CDs,
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:
       * NIH Senior Health: Exercise and Physical Activity for Older Adults

We have many useful links for survivors, families and professionals on rehabilitation, motivation, and to regain fulfillment posted to our Resource Links pages. Visit:
Contact us at or 703-241-2375.
Special rates for newsletter & web:!
Would you like to view a previous month's newsletter? Visit our newsletter archive at:
6. 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 & Stephanie's April Stroke Survivor NewsletterSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I have aphasia?

 17 April 2010 by 高橋はるか

From what I have read, I might have aphasia (失語症). I don't know why my spoken vocabulary is a lot different than my writing vocabulary, with the former being more limited. In fact, just trying to speak alone takes up a lot of effort. My mother said that I had a seizure somewhere just after I was born. I don't know the exact details of it though.

What kind of aphasia do I have? As you can see, I can write meaningful sentences and not add meaningless words in it. If you had read the stories I wrote here for the past 20 months, or my Twitter posts ("tweets") for the past 15 months, you would have known that. Then again, I can't write as quickly as I type. Of course, I can understand speech too, or you wouldn't have noticed me talking about it unless it's about a silent film from more than a century ago or post screenshots with subtitles on it. Who knows, I'm not an expert in the medical field. I might not even have it, but the symptoms mentioned are, in some ways, quite similar to what I'm facing. Quite annoying if what I said is a simplified version of what I wanted to say, and the meaning can be ambiguous.

Oddly enough, I can actually feel activity with my brain, especially around my behind-right side. In fact, I even notice delays between knowing what I want to write and me actually writing it. That's why I'm always one of the last to complete things as compared to someone doing the same thing, but started slightly later than me that I wonder where the time went. Even typing this paragraph alone took me quite some time: I know what to type, but I see my hand not moving in the position of typing the last word. Heck, it even happened in the space between the two words highlighted in yellow in the previous sentence. When looking at any language besides the one I am fluent in, my head seem to go haywire, causing me to have difficulty learning the language unless it appears repetitively. Another odd thing is that, besides my head rolling all over and feeling weak, I didn't notice a change in my mental capacity even way past my bedtime. It's as though my body is the only part of me that is feeling sleepy, although there's never a day night where I never slept because I forced myself to.

So, I started writing this right in the middle of writing S2P50 (Alternate Dimension Part 50). The auto-generated time upon me starting to write this is about 73 minutes ago, and I hadn't had my attention distracted.
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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Medical Qigong

Qigong is being used as part of the Traditional Chinese Medication in preventive and therapeutic health care. Qi is seen as the vital energy in one’s body to maintain life. Qigong will train one to work on physical to control and exercise this energy for own good or if becomes an expert, one can even use qi for treatment.
Qigong is part of TCM based on Taoism. Qigong has two types “soft” and “hard” qigong. “Soft” qigong is called inner qigong or soft qigong such as Taiji. One sample of hard qigong is the famous Shaolin kungfu. Medical qigong involves qi exercises combined with meditation. The qi exercises will bring one to a state of meditation. Distress and anxiety will be driven away during the meditation. Positive thinking with great confidence is affirmed. Concentration can be easily achieved.
Through the exercise, one gains control of the body and thus have good feelings about life. This in turn stimulates circulation of blood and qi. Exercise is good for patients as well as any age group who would like to maintain good health and a state of peaceful mind. Qigong is good in treatment of mental and physical stress.
Qigong lets people experiencing higher levels of energy and stamina, and slow down the aging process. It may not be effective in treating acute illness or medical emergencies. It is good in preventing disease and also treating chronic conditions or disabilities. In 1988, Chinese held the first World Conference for Qigong Medical Research in Beijing, and latter followed by a series of conferences held in Tokyo, Berkeley and New York City. Psychologists, physiologists and medical researchers start to study qigong as a new alternative medication.
Many qigong clubs have been established outside of China to teach people to exercise qigong. Qigong will smooth the process of delivering oxygen to the cells, reduces stress and improve bowel functioning. Chinese doctors have applied qigong in hospitals and clinics to treat individuals suffering from a variety of ailments. These include allergies, arthritis, asthma, bowel problems, constipation, diabetes, gastritis, gout, headaches, heart disease and hypertension. The list can go on to chronic kidney disease, liver disease, lower back pain, myopia, obesity, neurasthenia, paralysis induced by external injury, retinopathy, rheumatism, sciatic neuralgia, sleeplessness, stress, ulcers, and peripheral vascular disease.
Qigong can be used to treat cancer and reduce or eliminate side effects from radiation and chemotherapy. It will help in treating aphasia, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson disease and post-stroke syndrome. It is especially useful in treating any kind of chronic pain, and chronic disorders of the digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular and nervous systems. Qigong can help one fight virtually any disease. Through qigong, patients can strengthen inner energy and thus increase the chance to survive from many diseases, which Western doctors thinks untreatable.
Qigong just like any other exercise has to be taught and trained under the guidance of a licensed Chinese medical doctor. Beginners need professional supervision from doctor or qigong practitioner who will provide advice and guidance. It requires discipline and persistence to see the result.
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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ottawa artist recognized for work with aphasia sufferers

Until he started volunteering at the Aphasia Centre of Ottawa two years ago, Jeffrey Burns had no idea how much he had in common with people suffering from aphasia, a disturbance in processing or understanding language due to brain damage, often from a stroke.
But the Ottawa artist quickly discovered that, like him, people with aphasia often rely on a visual language to express themselves. Instead of speaking, reading or writing, they count on pictures to do the talking for them. “I value images very much, as well as the written word and the poetics of language, so I really understand how frustrating it must be to have difficulty with those things,” said Burns.
For his work helping aphasia victims, Burns is among 75 volunteer and professional caregivers being recognized Thursday with a “Heroes in the Home” award from the Champlain Community Care Access Centre, the agency in charge of home and community care in Eastern Ontario.
Working with speech-language pathologists at the Aphasia Centre, Burns helped introduce a “communications book” that allows people with aphasia to communicate using hundreds of customized pictures to describe everyday situations. For example, an aphasia sufferer going to see a family doctor might point to a series of images that describe their symptoms, aches or pains. In a taxi, a person with a limited ability to speak could communicate with the driver by pointing to a map with a route to their desired destination.
While communications books as a form of aphasia treatment are not new, they are just starting to be used at the Aphasia Centre, said Burns.
At 45, Burns was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease eight years ago. He said his own illness has given him insight into the struggles of aphasia sufferers.
“I have trouble moving at certain parts of the day, as most people with Parkinson’s have. We have little waves of smooth movements and then more stiffness through the day. And I feel very lucky that I have these good periods. It makes me very aware of that. Most of the people who have physical problems after a stroke have them all day, every day. So it has made me appreciate my own health.”
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Pisani propelled by sports

By Andrew Soong

Special Olympian and West Island resident Louis Pisani seemed to prefer watching sports rather than cartoons at a very early age.
“Early on, when he was three-years-old and I wanted him to watch Barney, he’d be watching sports on TV,” said mom Kish Schmitz about her son’s attraction to sports. “We’d get a break at white sox games because he wouldn’t move for three hours just watching the game.”
Despite being diagnosed with profound verbal apraxia, Pisani has competed for two years winning the silver in his first year of competing and a gold medal in the novice giant slalom at the Special Olympics Quebec Ski Championships held this past March at Mont Garceau. The affliction that affects expression, speech and cognitive ability has not slowed down Pisani in his endeavors especially on the slopes. According to the 11-year-old skiing champ he is “not handicap.”
A member of the Owl’s Head Special Olympics Ski team, Pisani’s training is a family affair that began when they moved to Montreal from Chicago where they were involved extensively with the Special Olympics basket ball. However when they moved to Montreal, Pisani’s parents searched for an adaptive ski program for their son in Quebec and found themselves traveling to Owl’s Head every winter weekend. According to Schmitz before they knew it “it became a family affair.”
“It’s easy for me to go down [the slalom] fast,” said Pisani whose entire family including older sister Danielle volunteer with the team during practices and events. “My friends were fast so I wanted to keep up with them.”
Pisani is also like most kids his age, he attends school and plays on teams such as the West Island Lakers Bantam basket ball team in addition to collecting sports cards.
Moreover, Pisani is an avid fan of Chicago sports teams such as the Chicago Blackhawks and White Soxs, that is also one of his strengths. According to Schmitz “it’s always been about sports.”
“We use sports as a motivation for spelling and home work for Louis,” said Schmitz about the young sports enthusiast. “He’ll struggle with spelling words from school, but can recite the batting order of the White Sox.”
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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Singing Therapy for Stroke Survivors

San Diego, California (CNN) — When mothers speak to children, it’s often in a singsong tone. That’s no coincidence, scientists say, given that music and language are so intricately linked in the brain.
Scientists are using this fundamental connection between song and speech to treat patients who have lost their ability to communicate. There’s evidence that music can be used to help people with severe brain impairments learn how to speak again, scientists said over the weekend at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
 Doctors at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, are treating stroke patients who have little or no spontaneous speech by associating melodies with words and phrases.
 “Music, and music-making, is really a very special form of a tool or an intervention that can be used to treat neurological disorders, said Dr. Gottfried Schlaug, associate professor of neurology at Beth Israel and Harvard University. “There’s rarely any other activity that could really activate or engage this many regions of the brain that is experienced as being a joyous activity.”
There are between 750,000 and 800,000 strokes per year in the United States, and about 200,000 of them result in a kind of language disorder called aphasia, he said. About one-third of those patients have aphasia so severe that they become non-fluent, meaning about 60,000 to 70,000 patients per year could benefit from the music therapy.
 It is being scientifically explored only at Beth Israel, but there are speech therapists throughout the United States who are using some kind of music treatment. About 25 to 30 patients have been described in published research papers, but there may be hundreds or thousands of others treated in nonscientific settings, Schlaug said.
 The left side of the brain plays a key role in speech and language ability. But the right side of the brain has the capability to become enhanced and change its structure to compensate for left-side deficits, researchers have found.
 Schlaug’s group’s technique, Melodic Intonation Therapy, involves singing tones with the patient and having the patient repeat words and phrases to the sound of those tones. Melody and rhythm are incorporated in getting the patients, who would otherwise not be able to speak, to sing.
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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Providing Augmentative and Alternative Communication Treatment to Persons With Progressive Nonfluent Aphasia

Melanie Fried-Oken, Charity Rowland, and Chris Gibbons
Oregon Health & Science University
Portland, OR
Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) intervention offers people diagnosed with progressive nonfluent aphasia (PNFA) an opportunity to continue to communicate even as verbal expression declines. To date, there are no well-controlled studies reporting the effectiveness of AAC intervention with people who present with PNFA. Further, there is a pressing need for evidence about specific AAC intervention tools, techniques, and training protocols for persons with PNFA and their communication partners. We have engaged in research studies at the Oregon Health & Science University to quantify low-tech AAC supports for people with PNFA in highly controlled, as well as naturalistic, dyadic conversations. Preliminary results suggest that AAC provides strong lexical support for people with PNFA during conversation. We predict that training participants and their partners how to use personalized, low-tech communication boards will lead to reduced conversational scaffolding by partners and prolonged effective communication as the disease course progresses. Clinical implications and future directions of our research are discussed.

An augmentative (abbreviated aug) is a morphological form of a word which expresses greater intensity, often in size, but also in other attributes.

Morphology is the identification, analysis and description of the structure of words (words as units in the lexicon are the subject matter of lexicology). While words are generally accepted as being (with clitics) the smallest units of syntax, it is clear that in most (if not all) languages, words can be related to other words by rules. For example, English speakers recognize that the words dog, dogs, and dog catcher are closely related. English speakers recognize these relations from their tacit knowledge of the rules of word formation in English. They infer intuitively that dog is to dogs as cat is to cats; similarly, dog is to dog catcher as dish is to dishwasher (in one sense). The rules understood by the speaker reflect specific patterns (or regularities) in the way words are formed from smaller units and how those smaller units interact in speech. In this way, morphology is the branch of linguistics that studies patterns of word formation within and across languages, and attempts to formulate rules that model the knowledge of the speakers of those languages.
Providing Augmentative and Alternative Communication Treatment to Persons With Progressive Nonfluent AphasiaSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, April 9, 2010

MedicAlert Foundation News | April 2010

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MedicAlert Foundation Member News | April 2010
Feature Story April is National Autism Awareness Month
April is National Autism Awareness Month and according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 1% of children in the United States, or one child in every 110, is classified as having an autism spectrum disorder. As a result, MedicAlert Foundation is proud to offer you the following information and resources from our friends at the Autism Society.
MedicAlert® Membership
A live 24-hour emergency response service for those impacted by autism spectrum disorders and medical emergencies, and also provides a benefit to the Autism Society's Safe and Sound® initiative. If you know someone on the autism spectrum, suggest that they become a MedicAlert member today!

Find your local Autism Society Chapter
Autism Society chapters are your best source of information and support. Most chapters are volunteer-led by parents, care providers and other professionals.

Special Member Offer Spring Sale! Spring Sale
April showers bring May flowers - and great savings at MedicAlert! Save up to 30% on select medical IDs.*
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*Offer ends May 31, 2010. Discount cannot be combined with any other offer.
MedicAlert Tips Anaphylaxis: Nothing to Sneeze At
MedicAlert Member Lynn Spring has arrived, and with it comes heightened allergy and asthma concerns for many. And while for most people these conditions may be mildly uncomfortable, for others, especially those who may be at risk for anaphylaxis – a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction involving multiple bodily systems – spring may also be a time to exercise caution and restraint.
Learn to identify the signs of severe allergic reactions and how to help someone having a potentially life-threatening emergency.
To read the full article, click here.
Addtional Resources The Autism Society's State Resources page
Designed by Autism Society information and referral experts, the State Resources page features commonly requested resources sorted by state. These pages include localized information on Autism Society chapters, advocacy, public policy, autism waiver, education, community resources and events.

Sensory Friendly Films
AMC Entertainment and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other disabilities a special opportunity to enjoy their favorite films in a safe and accepting environment on a monthly basis with the "Sensory Friendly Films" program.

Autism Source
Search nationwide autism-related services and supports by location or service type. Autism Source, created in 2004, is the most comprehensive database of its kind.

Put on the Puzzle
The Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon is the most recognized symbol of the autism community in the world. Show your support for people with autism by wearing the Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon this month – as a pin on your shirt, a magnet on your car, a badge on your blog, or even your Facebook profile picture – and educate folks on the potential of people with autism!

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

PIRATE Intensive Program 4/8/2010

An Intensive Aphasia Program for Veterans of the US Armed Services
A number of intensive aphasia programs offer services including:

The University of Michigan Aphasia Program, MI -
The Aphasia Program at Steps Forward Program, FL -
The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago; IL -
Interact, Canada -
The Pittsburgh Aphasia Treatment, Research and Education Center, PA --
For a free consultation to discuss intensive aphasia rehabilitation, contact Bill Connors at 724.494.2534 or

If you have an intensive aphasia program and would like to be listed, please let us know. 

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We at the Aphasia Solutions Network and  thank all of our subscribers, patients, caregivers and SLPs who have served in the defense of their countries.  In this newsletter, we will share with you information about an excellent intensive, residential program for US veterans.   
Are you a VETERAN with aphasia, or a family member of a veteran with aphasia? Are you a healthcare provider for stroke survivors?
If so, the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System would like to hear from you! Please contact us!
The VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System is accepting applications for a new twenty-three day intensive, residential aphasia therapy program taking place in Pittsburgh, PA. PIRATE (Program for Intensive Residential Aphasia Treatment and Education) is accepting referrals nation-wide from within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), and have already accepted applications from Chicago, Indianapolis, Little Rock and Fort Lauderdale. 
The program has been in operation for a little over one-year, and the aggregated clinical outcomes demonstrated positive changes on three independent measures of communicative functioning.
Patients may apply directly via the PIRATE website at .  Referrals from VHA SLPs are most welcomed and please contact us for instructions on how to refer patients from VHA facilities outside of VISN 4.
Please note candidacy is NOT dependent on length of time post-CVA or neurologic injury, nor on degree of aphasia severity.
For further questions, or to discuss the PIRATE program in more detail, please visit website above, or contact:
 Brooke Swoyer at 412.954-4773
Jim Schumacher at 412.360.1265  
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New Aphasia help group

Thursday, 08 April 2010
NOW WE’RE TALKING: Members of the Southend Speakability group at 
Wesley Methodist Church, in Leigh.    Picture by Mark Cleveland
NOW WE’RE TALKING: Members of the Southend Speakability group at Wesley Methodist Church, in Leigh. Picture by Mark Cleveland
A NEW group has been set up in Leigh to help and support people whose speech has been affected by Aphasia.

Aphasia, also known as Dysphasia, is the loss of speech and language after a stroke, head injury or other neurological condition.

The Speakability group, in Southend, is keen to encourage people with Aphasia to join them at their monthly meetings.

Group leader, Keith Pelling, said: “As well as losing their speech, aphasia can leave a person unable to understand what is being said to them, to read, to write, or to use numbers.

“However, the person’s intellect is not affected.

“There are more than a quarter of a million people living with this ‘hidden disability’ in the UK alone and their needs are often overlooked because they have lost the ability to ask for the help and services that we are all entitled to.”

Speakability (Action for Dysphasic Adults) is the national charity offering practical support and information to people with Aphasia, their families and carers, through a free helpline (080 8808 9572), a range of helpful publications, communication tools and training materials.

At the core of the charity is a UK-wide network of self-help groups.

These groups offer people with Aphasia a way of ensuring support for their long-term needs.

Speakability groups are led by people with Aphasia, for people with Aphasia.

The groups offer the chance for people with Aphasia to do something for themselves, practice their speech and explore other ways of communicating in a relaxed and supportive environment.

Above all, the groups can rebuild a person’s sense of empowerment and self-esteem, as well as provide an opportunity to socialise with others who understand the challenges of living with Aphasia.

The Southend Speakability group currently meets at the Wesley Methodist Church in Leigh.

The group meet once a month on a Wednesday - for more details, call Keith on 07852 422 022.

To find out more about Aphasia or donate to Speakability, call 020 7261 9572, e-mail or visit the Speakability website at
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