The German Stroke Foundation just published the half-year report: Young stroke, prevention and return to work in focus

The German Stroke Foundation just published the half-year report: Young stroke, prevention and return to work in focus

We are delighted to share with you a report from the German Stroke Foundation about their key activities between July and December 2019. We hope it will inspire you and your organisation for activities in your country.

World stroke day: “Every step counts”

Miriam_Mashkoori, World Stroke Day 2019

Statistically 25 percent of the worlds population gets a stroke. This also means: 3 out of 4 people do not get a stoke!
Around World Stroke Day (October 29th) the German Stroke Foundation raised awareness for stroke-prevention with the slogan “every step counts”. Many papers published the press release with tips for a healthier lifestyle, radio-stations aired an interview with the foundations prevention-expert Miriam Mashkoori. On Facebook people explained how they lost weight or managed to quit smoking to motivate other Facebook-users to live a healthier life.

Summer Camp for children and their families

How will my child develop? How will it do in Kindergarten or school? How do we cope with social challenges and which therapies are best with for our child? The diagnosis “stroke” raises many questions – especially when a child is affected. The three day “Summer Camp” offered families with a child affected by stroke an opportunity for an informative and fun-filled weekend. Experts answered questions, psychologists helped developing new perspectives, singer Patricia Kelly gave an exclusive concert and former world-class Wrestler Alexander Leipold offered sport-activities for the children.
Tea Time with Liz Mohn
The foundation´s president and founder Liz Mohn invited stroke survivors and supporters of the foundation for a Tea Time. She met and spent a wonderful afternoon with people who were especially engaged in our foundation´s activities.

Workshop for young stroke-survivors

A stroke affects every aspect of life. Young survivors are even in a special situation. They want to return to work, build or maintain relationships and live an independent life – which is not always possible. In a four-day workshop they had the opportunity to talk to psychologists and doctors and to exchange their own experiences. Word-class Mountainbiker Peter Schermann talked about his return into sports after his stroke.

Public talk about reintegration in working life

After an accident or an illness it is often hard to return to work. Some might not be able to work full hours anymore, others might have to find a completely different job. A staff member of the employment office, an integration expert and a coach for job applications informed about opportunities to get back to work at the event “Forum Schlaganfall (Stroke Forum)” at the German Stroke Foundation in Gütersloh.

Politican Andrea Milz visits the Stroke Foundation

Andrea Milz

The North Rhine Westphalian secretary of state for sports and volunteering, Andrea Milz, visited the German Stroke Foundation to talk about the volunteer-project “stroke helpers”.

As a certified Zumba-trainer she also gave a Zumba-lesson at the local High School. The High School offers optional medicine-classes for its students and cooperates with the foundation.


Speakers of self support groups meet

Speakers of self support groups do not only organise meetings and events for their groups. But they also need to know about relevant changes in law, new therapies or other important aspects about stroke. This is why the foundation offers workshops for speakers of self support groups all over Germany.

Cooperation with TV-show “Unter uns” ends

Patrick Müller

One of the main characters in the popular TV series “Unter uns” has had a stroke in one of the episodes in May. According to the storyboard lawyer Tobias, played by actor Patrick Müller, suffered from hemiplegia and severe speech problems. The team and cast of “Unter uns” cooperated with the German Stroke Foundation in order to create a realistic storyline. The cooperation know officially ended. The fan-club donated more than 1400 Euros for the foundation.

Experts meet to learn about stroke in children

Not many people know that children can have a stroke. Even experts like podiatrists or therapists often don’t have sufficient information about the topic. The German Stroke Foundation wants to change this by inviting experts to learn more about child stroke. More than 40 doctors and other experts met in Bavaria in 2019.

Photos: German Stroke Foundation, 2019

Sleeping less than 6 hours and heart disease, stroke – deadly combo

Sleeping less than 6 hours and heart disease, stroke – deadly combo

First published on

Middle-aged adults with high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease or stroke could be at high risk for cancer and early death when sleeping less than six hours per day, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the open access journal of the American Heart Association.

“Our study suggests that achieving normal sleep may be protective for some people with these health conditions and risks,” said lead study author Julio Fernandez-Mendoza, Ph.D., associate professor at Pennsylvania State College of Medicine and sleep psychologist at the Sleep Research & Treatment Center of the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. “However, further research is needed to examine whether improving and increasing sleep through medical or behavioral therapies can reduce risk of early death.”

Researchers analyzed data of more than 1,600 adults (20 to 74 years old, more than half women) from the Penn State Adult Cohort who were categorized into two groups as having stage 2 high blood pressure or Type 2 diabetes and having heart disease or stroke. Participants were studied in the sleep laboratory (1991-1998) for one night and then researchers tracked their cause of death up to the end of 2016.

Researchers found:

Of the 512 people who passed away, one-third died of heart disease or stroke and one-fourth died due to cancer.
People who had high blood pressure or diabetes and slept less than 6 hours had twice the increased risk of dying from heart disease or stroke.
People who had heart disease or stroke and slept less than 6 hours had three times the increased risk of dying from cancer.
The increased risk of early death for people with high blood pressure or diabetes was negligible if they slept for more than 6 hours.
You can read the full article here.


Cerebral reperfusion of reading network predicts recovery of reading ability after stroke

Cerebral reperfusion of reading network predicts recovery of reading ability after stroke

First published on

A team of New Jersey stroke researchers has linked recovery of reading and language competence with cerebral blood flow in the left reading network. Their findings may contribute to new approaches to identifying and treating reading deficits after stroke. The open access article, “Cerebral perfusion of the left reading network predicts recovery of reading in subacute to chronic stroke” was epublished on August 26, 2019 in Human Brain Mapping. The authors are Olga Boukrina, PhD, and A.M. Barrett, MD, of Kessler Foundation, and William Graves, PhD, of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

Despite the fundamental role of reading ability in everyday living, little research has been conducted on patterns of reading recovery after stroke, or the development of interventions to improve reading outcomes. In this study of left-brain stroke, a team of New Jersey scientists examined patterns of cerebral perfusion bilaterally, including left and right networks of brain areas important for healthy reading, the area surrounding the stroke lesion, and the corresponding contralateral area.

They enrolled 31 participants during inpatient rehabilitation, within 5 weeks of left-sided stroke. All underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging, psychometric testing, neurological examination and tests for phonological, orthographic and semantic impairments. Fifteen participants had follow-up studies at 3 months post stroke. Analysis of data from the subacute and chronic phases showed that recovery of reading and language competence correlated with increases in cerebral blood flow in the left reading network.
You can read the full article here.


Cardiovigilance in atrial fibrillation – primordial to quinary prevention intervention

Cardiovigilance in atrial fibrillation – primordial to quinary prevention intervention

Source: European Journal of Arrhythmia & Electrophysiology. 2019;5(2):77–81
Authors: Kamal Kishor , Devendra Bisht , Sanjay Kalra

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is one of the major causes of stroke, heart failure, sudden death and cardiovascular morbidity in the world. Management of AF, its risk factors and complications demands huge cost. The frequent hospitalisations, haemodynamic abnormalities, and thromboembolic events related to AF put a huge emotional and monetary burden on patients, so preventive strategies will be a cost-effective means of reducing this burden. Primordial prevention (i.e., intervention prior to onset of disease risk factors) should be implemented by the government, along with the food industry, to educate the public regarding the importance of a healthy diet and adherence to it. Primary prevention should focus on halting the onset of AF in targeted populations who carry risk factors for development of AF. The strategy at the secondary-prevention level includes optimal control of rate or rhythm either by anti-arrhythmic drugs or catheter ablation. Every effort should be made to reduce the incidence of ischaemic stroke by using optimal oral anticoagulation, devices or surgical closure of left atrial appendage. Tertiary level prevention should focus on the management of complications incurred as a result of AF, such as ischaemic stroke, heart failure or asymptomatic left ventricular dysfunction. Since management of AF demands a huge economic burden and the line between thrombotic complications and bleeding complications is a thin one; over-diagnosis and overtreatment of AF should be avoided. The ultimate aim of quinary prevention is to sensitise the physician to follow evidence-based medicine and to get rid of populated myth. This current review summarises a stepwise preventive strategy for AF from the primordial level to the quinary level.

You can read the full article in the latest exciting issue of European Journal of Arrhythmia & Electrophysiology – Volume 5 Issue 2 by clicking here.


SAFE Annual Report 2019

SAFE Annual Report 2019

You can access and download the SAFE Annual Report by clicking on this button below

SAFE Annual Report 2019

In addition, please see below the message of the President of SAFE, Jon Barrick:

This has been a busy and exciting year for our organisation, especially in terms of advocating on pan-European level. We have continued work around the Stroke Action Plan for Europe, forming an implementation committee with the European Stroke Organisation. We held a seminal event at the EU Parliament raising the profile of stroke more than ever before, engaging with the Deputy Director General of the EU’s DG Sante and the EU Committee of the Regions. Through our funding of Oxford University’s project on the economic impact of stroke, we have produced up to date and compelling evidence about the cost of stroke in Europe. With all this accomplished, we continue to press ahead, as we have now completed the third and final year of the research which will provide us with vital European and country specific data on the future economic impact of stroke and power of interventions. The Economic Impact of Stroke in Europe report will be launched in full at the Joint World Stroke Organisation/European Stroke Organisation conference in Vienna in May 2020.

We have continued with the Angels project to produce vital information booklets on stroke to distribute to patients and families while in hospital. We have provided this information in 15 different languages to ensure that more people across Europe can use our materials to improve the lives of stroke survivors.

We continue our educational work with those who wish to understand stroke support organisations and become advocates for better care through our online teaching and learning tool SSOFT, and our regional and working conferences. A particular highlight for me in 2019 was the concrete evidence of the value of our partnership orientation, our Industry partners have been very supportive again, our outreach to ESO has been reciprocated, and we continue to see the number of SSO’s grow, and then become members of SAFE. Yet again we go into a new year with record membership which bodes well for the future.

As SAFE goes from strength to strength in activities to reduce the number and effects of strokes, the Board must also ensure the long-term sustainability of SAFE. The Board has achieved much of its work through dedicated voluntary time but has recognised that this needs to be added to by full
time paid staff. The Board agreed that SAFE required more permanent leadership to drive forward and to achieve our goals. I am delighted to let you know that we recruited our first Director General this year and I know you will all join me in welcoming Arlene Wilkie into the SAFE family.

In 2019, we have been able to deliver many significant achievements because of our close working community. I would like to thank those that have worked with and for SAFE this year, and to the members and sponsors who have supported us practically and financially. This next year is my last as President and I am looking forward to ensuring we have a solid 2020 of achievement to strengthen the long-term sustainability of all stroke support organisations in Europe.

Jon Barrick
SAFE President