Walking Ability Study Benefits Stroke Survivors

Stroke is the leading cause of disability in older adults in the United States, but research by Clarkson University Associate Professor of Physical Therapy George Fulk and his colleagues is pointing the way to recovery for people who are relearning how to walk.

Using data collected over a number of years from two other large clinical trials, the Potsdam, N.Y. researcher and his team were able to create and analyze one large database. Their results show a six-minute walk test is the strongest predictor of walking activity in the home and community for stroke survivors. That information, in turn, helps map the most effective steps for physical rehabilitation and independence.

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Rena, aged 81 was widowed recently and lives a semi active life as she suffers from borderline heart and kidney failure. Early one morning, she telephoned a neighbor, requesting she come over immediately. Within five minutes the neighbor, an active volunteer in the national stroke NGO, heard how Rena was suddenly unable to hold her coffee cup. A quick examination of seeing one hand drop when asked to lift both and the drooping of one side of her mouth were sufficient to immediately call an ambulance.

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Written by Alison Turner

Kasia’s Facebook page is filled with the subjects you might expect a 28 year old woman to be interested in – Zumba, cooking, travel and concerns about money. But you’ll also see references to spasticity, hemiparesis, research and, frequently, hospital, because Kasia has survived two strokes. Stroke does happen to young people.

A journalism graduate, living in the Polish city of Szczecin, she writes with an endearing blend of generosity and youthful determination. It’s not surprising that her Polish blog, lewaczka.pl, which she updates 2 or 3 times a week, attracts an average of 200 readers a day. Occasionally, she also writes entries for the English version of her blog, stroketales.com. Her posts are sincere and frank, sharing her own experiences, but also highlighting the trials of her readers, who contact her for support. We spoke via Skype on a Sunday evening in February 2017.

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