The European Researchers’ Night was an energetic festival of scientific exploration at the Natural History Museum (London) on the 27 September.
The Natural History Museum opened its doors after hours for a festival of scientific exploration called The European Researchers’ Night on 27th September. The tangled ‘world wild webs’ as went the theme of the night welcomed the public to interact with an eclectic mix of research and science from pop-up displays to one-on-one conversations over a pint in the ‘EU Pub’ and ‘Dialogue Den’. For the Research Project Management Office (RPM) at Imperial College London, it was the opportunity to bring four Horizon 2020 research projects EAVI2020, EDEN2020, PRESTIGE-AF and PERFORM2020 into the interconnectivity.
The delivery of these projects’ consortium, financial and communication management are coordinated by the RPM team and it was a no-brainer for the team to take these four projects, which are funded by the EU under the Horizon2020 program, and be part of the European Researchers’ Night. The projects’ scientists had a lot of fun showcasing their research in an interactive and engaging way and it was clear from public interest, the social impact that research fosters and is amplified through public outreach events such as this.
The European Researchers’ Night is another EU-funded initiative, and Dr Marta Archanco, a project manager of the RPM team, explains that regular engagement in public outreach events is not only a funders’ requirement but it serves as a conduit in which scientists can express why their research matters while furthering the projects’ social impact. For this particular event, Marta says “what many people may not realise is that this event occurs simultaneously across Europe for one night of the year. Last year, during the 2018 Night, in cities across Europe over 1.5 million people were connected with science. This is a beautiful thing and we are so proud to have our Horizon2020 projects apart of this public event.”
Loss of arm function is a very common problem after stroke. Put bluntly, if you have a stroke, it causes lasting damage to the part of your brain that controls movement in your arm. Stroke survivors may experience multiple upper limb symptoms resulting in complications such as weakness, planning and co-ordination problems, changes in the muscles (spasticity & flaccidity), subluxation, contracture, pain, swelling and a host of other symptoms and combinations of symptoms. The resulting presentation can render the upper limb virtually ‘non-functional’.
A well-known feature that can creep is called ‘learned non-use’, where the stroke survivor quickly gets very good at doing most reaching, grasping and releasing tasks with their less-affected, functional arm… ultimately him or her to forego efforts to improve the more-affected arm. Which is not good at all. Stroke survivors really want to know therefore whether intensive rehabilitation really does improve their upper limb motor control processes and reduce their impairments. And if it does, how should they go about getting this/doing it?
There is converging evidence that more therapy might result in better outcomes: current evidence suggests that intensive rehabilitation therapy helps people regain movement in their affected arm in the first few months after stroke. However, stroke survivors get to believe that little (if any) improvement can be made later on, which is sad, because we know this is not true.
Regaining lost movement may be possible many years after suffering a stroke, thanks to intensive rehabilitation therapy methods and inclusion of some principles, concepts and augments into rehab programmes, one of which is the use of robots. With the right therapy combinations, people can see improvements in movement, everyday function, and quality of life. Witness, for example, data which has emerged as a result of survivors attending the Queen Square (London) Upper Limb programme. See report in ACNR Journal. A majority improved in key clinical scores of motor impairment and arm function measured at admission and discharge and retain these improvements at 6-week and 6-month follow-up. Moreover, these are people improving months to years after their strokes occurred.
Is it the higher dosages of physical therapy/task-practice? Is it the combination of robotics and related augments alongside therapy/task-practice (therapy/task-practice aimed primarily at ramping up the dosage of repetitions on tasks)? For sure, as the RATULS Trial has emphasised, we need adequately powered dose-finding studies of promising interventions, tailored to targeted subgroups which also take into account potential cost-effectiveness to better understand the parameters involved.
Please read the full article here.
On October 4-6, 2019, the 5th National Congress with international participation of the Bulgarian Society of Neurosonology and Cerebral Hemodynamics was held in Sofia, Bulgaria.
An excellent scientific meeting organized by Acad. Prof. Ekaterina Titianova, provided the opportunity to hear the latest update in stroke treatment and application of Neurosonology, exchange ideas and establish platform for mutual collaboration. The added value was the charming exhibition of the art work of stroke survivors and patients with other brain impairments, highlighting the importance of the life after stroke domain. It was a great example of joined forces of professionals and survivors in the fight against stroke.
The congress was multidisciplinary and integrating the interests of different specialists – neurologists, neurosurgeons, angiologists, interventional specialists, etc. Over 180 delegates from Austria, Bulgaria, Israel, Italy, Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia and Spain, students in medicine, nursing, kinesitherapy, medical rehabilitation and ergotherapy from various medical universities, National Vasil Levski Sports Academy and universities in North Macedonia.
The forum was dedicated to the latest developments in ultrasound diagnostics of the nervous system with a focus on stroke, which continues to be the second cause of death in Bulgaria.
Within the international symposium Prof. Anita Arsovska from North Macedonia, who is also a SAFE Board member gave a presentation on “Optimal management of high risk asymptomatic carotid stenosis”.
“The patients and their families have difficulties in assessing the quality of care they are receiving. In addition, there often are communication difficulties, whether due to language or cultural differences and the family at home have no-one with whom they can consult on such issues. They have no criteria for assessing the quality of the treatment and in fact can be completely alone, particularly in the periphery, where choices are very limited” says Pnina Rosenzweig, President of the stroke support organisation in Israel, the Neeman Association.
SAFE: What is one issue related to the life after stroke in your country that you think needs special attention? PR: Given the projected increase in the number of stroke cases and the increase in the proportion of patients in need of rehabilitation, there is no doubt that inpatient rehabilitation solutions currently provided by the health care system will have difficulty responding to the huge shortage of rehabilitation beds in the hospitals, especially in the periphery. They will not be able to meet the expected burden of stroke and to provide optimal treatment to stroke survivors.
One of the solutions offered today in Israel and around the world is to provide rehabilitation in the patient’s home. This solution has many advantages. Among the benefits of providing rehabilitation in the patient’s natural environment are reducing the risk of being hit by dangerous infections and the huge costs on the public system.
On the other hand, the need to provide rehabilitative care to stroke survivor patients with complex needs calls into question the ability to respond to these needs. In the rehabilitation phase, these patients usually require many intensive medical and rehabilitative services and special teamwork.
SAFE: What would be the solution, i.e. what is your organization’s position regarding this issue? PR: The proposed solution is to establish a system of regulatory and objective controls to test the quality of the rehabilitative process and treatments provided in the patient’s home to people with stroke. The definition of such a monitoring system would include quality indicators of the stroke survivor’s rehabilitation and audit over time. The quality indicators will examine both the quality of medical rehabilitation and the patient and family experiences, particularly their perspective on the rehabilitation process.
The final audit data will be published for decision makers in the health care system, the families of patients after stroke and general public. This publication will motivate the health system to reward only systems that will provide quality rehabilitation and the families of patients to choose only these systems, which provide optimal rehabilitation to for their family’s member.
SAFE: Please tell us more about your organisation. PR: There are more than 120,000 stroke survivors in Israel and it is estimated that some 18,000 individuals join their ranks each year.
In 1996, families of stroke survivors banded together to create the Israeli NGO, the Neeman Association. Their mission was – and is – to reduce the morbidity of stroke in Israel, improve the medical and rehabilitative processes provided to the survivors of the stroke, to promote the health and well-being of stroke survivors and to support families.
Among the most significant breakthroughs of the Neeman Association in recent years has been its strategic plan to improve stroke prevention and care at the national level. The Neeman Association collaborates with Israel’s Ministry of Health, international specialists, decision makers and strategic leaders in medical care and rehabilitation.
In 2017, the Neeman Association was awarded first prize by the World Stroke Association for its advertising campaign to raise public awareness of stroke symptoms and the life-saving value of immediate emergency care.
Another key focus of the Neeman Association is to improve the quality of life for stroke survivors. Today, Neeman conducts fourteen social clubs in community centers throughout Israel, directed by professionals and operated largely by volunteers. For hundreds of stroke survivors and their families, the social clubs are a home and a haven.
To help create a buzz and to drive awareness of risks and prevention a number of stroke organisations around the world are quite literally flying the flag for our ‘Don’t Be The One’ campaign at their events to mark World Stroke Day. These events will be shared on social media as part of a virtual relay. SAFE and WSO are calling upon member organisations to register their plans for the Relay on the Global Map of Action on the World Stroke Campaign website, as well as any other plans they might have for World Stroke Day events and activities.
To help show that an event is part of a global campaign effort and the relay the WSO has produced some assets (attached under links below):
On the day of your event, take high resolution photos of local participants with the campaign flag and share them with Sarah Belson from the World Stroke Organisation directly at Sarah.Belson@stroke.org.uk. If you have social media be sure to share photos from the event using the campaign hashtag #DontBeTheOne so that the WSO and SAFE can share content on their Twitter and Facebook channels.
In addition to supporting the World Stroke Campaign, SAFE would like to invite you to visit a website for stroke prevention (www.strokeprevention.info) now available in five additional European languages: French, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. You can learn about 10 modifiable stroke risk factors and start taking actions today to reduce your own risk of stroke. You can support SAFE by spreading the news about this website and following us on social media, Facebook and Twitter. Show us your support by using the #StrokePrevention hashtag.
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