Experimental Stroke Therapy Helps Illinois Senator

Published Date: August 14th, 2012

 14 August 2012

Experimental Therapy seems to help U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk recover more extensively than he would have with standard care after he suffered a stroke in January.Kirk credits lead researcher and physical therapist T. George Hornby at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, whose work may change standard therapy for stroke patients. During Kirk's nine weeks participating in Hornby's research, he walked nearly 15 miles and climbed 145 flights of stairs.

The 52-year-old is making excellent progress, according to medical experts not involved in his care who watched a video released this week by the Illinois Republican's office. Kirk is seen in the video climbing stairs and walking on a treadmill with a therapist's help."We basically treat them like athletes," said Hornby, who is testing what happens when stroke patient.Instead of walking once down an unobstructed hallway, for example, a patient is asked to walk around obstacles, to walk while things are bumping into him and to climb stairs. "We're really pushing them to the limit on how hard they can work," the researcher said.

Cleveland Clinic stroke specialist Dr. Shazan Hussain said the video shows the senator has made outstanding progress and "likely will continue to get better and better." Asked whether Kirk might permanently need a cane to walk, Hussain said: "It's hard to know that for sure, but it seems likely he's going to require some kind of walking aid, like a cane."

Strokes can damage parts of the brain affecting mood, and the stress of relearning simple tasks and adjusting to stroke-caused impairments also can lead to depression. Asked about that possibility, Francisco said depression is much more common when a stroke damages the front left part of the brain. Kirk's stroke blocked blood flow to the right side of his brain.

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, and each year, about 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke. Some strokes are caused by bleeding in the brain, but most are caused by blocked blood flow, like Kirk's stroke.

"I released this video to make sure that people know what my condition is, to be an example to other Illinois families," Kirk says on the video. "I want to thank the people of Illinois for their patience with this patient to recover from a big stroke."

Source-http://www.thirdage.com/news/experimental-stroke-therapy-helps-illinois-senator_08-13-2012

"Experimental Stroke Therapy Helps Illinois Senator" is posted under: Treadmill News