Angels ESOC 2018 – Experience From Today For The Stroke Care Of The Future

Angels ESOC 2018 – Experience From Today For The Stroke Care Of The Future

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Every 30 minutes a stroke patient who could have been saved, dies or is permanently disabled, because they were treated in the wrong hospital.
Angels Initiative is building a global community of stroke centers and stroke-ready hospitals, working every day to improve the quality of treatment for every stroke patient.
The goal is to get 1500 stroke-ready hospitals around the world by May 2019.

Please click on the photo bellow to access the series of the Angels ESOC 2018 symposium videos:

For more information about Angels Initiative, please visit

‘Smart stent’ detects narrowing of arteries

‘Smart stent’ detects narrowing of arteries

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For every three individuals who have had a stent implanted to keep clogged arteries open and prevent a heart attack, at least one will experience restenosis — the renewed narrowing of the artery due to plaque buildup or scarring — which can lead to additional complications.

Now, a team led by UBC electrical and computer engineering professor Kenichi Takahata has developed a type of “smart stent” that monitors even subtle changes in the flow of blood through the artery, detecting the narrowing in its earliest stages and making early diagnosis and treatment possible.

“We modified a stent to function as a miniature antenna and added a special micro-sensor that we developed to continuously track blood flow. The data can then be sent wirelessly to an external reader, providing constantly updated information on the artery’s condition,” said Takahata.

The device uses medical-grade stainless steel and looks similar to most commercial stents. Researchers say it’s the first angioplasty-ready smart stent — it can be implanted using current medical procedures without modifications.

Research collaborator Dr. York Hsiang, a UBC professor of surgery and a vascular surgeon at Vancouver General Hospital, noted that monitoring for restenosis is critical in managing heart disease.

“X-rays such as CT or diagnostic angiograms, which are the standard tools for diagnosis, can be impractical or inconvenient for the patient,” said Hsiang. “Putting a smart stent in place of a standard one can enable physicians to monitor their patient’s health more easily and offer treatment, if needed, in a timely manner.”

The device prototype was successfully tested in the lab and in a swine model. Takahata, who holds patents for the technology, says his team is planning to establish industry partnerships to further refine the device, put it through clinical trials and eventually commercialize it.

Story Source: University of British Columbia. “‘Smart stent’ detects narrowing of arteries.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 June 2018. <>.

Two persons a day suffer a stroke in Iceland: HEILAHEILL is there to support the survivors and their families

Two persons a day suffer a stroke in Iceland: HEILAHEILL is there to support the survivors and their families

The new updated HEILAHEILL home page with purple color

The excellent performance of HEILAHEILL’s activities in Icelandic society 2017-2018, has had a good result in raising public awareness about the consequences of suffering a stroke with a special version and distribution of an impressive smartphone app.

By doing so, the association gained attention from the public, not only about the stroke itself, but also about the risk factors that lead to stroke trauma. Last year, the association has been in close cooperation with the media; the Organisation of the Disabled in Iceland, (which is the umbrella organization of most patient associations in the country); professionals; doctors; neurologists pioneering new procedures, thrombectomy and nurses at the National Hospital and also in health care centres throughout Iceland; the university community; health authorities outside the countryside and the government; employees of the welfare department; the Health Minister of Iceland, to raise awareness of stroke trauma.

The Minister of Health, Svandís Svavarsdóttir, delivers a financial contribution to Þórir (Thorir) Steingrímsson, chairman of HEILAHEILL.

HEILAHEILL is a non-profit organisation for people interested in cerebrovascular disease and has been member of SAFE since 2011.

The population of Iceland is only 345 thousand and about 0.10% are members of the association. Its activities cover the whole country and are based on raising awareness of stroke trauma and drawing the attention of the general public through the regular media; social media; our website (recently updated in purple); YouTube; publication of our magazine and leaflets, etc., and the use social media such as direct broadcasts of regular meetings on Facebook!

Meetings are attended by are well-known doctors, nurses, famous actors, singers, writers volunteers to increase public participation.

It is estimated that approximately 2 individuals suffer a stroke per day in Iceland. The association, in cooperation with the authorities and National Hospital and other health care institutions across the country, promotes healthcare responses in the “door-to-needle” campaign, now estimated to be approximately 40 minutes, improving from an estimated approximately 80 minutes last year! Our contribution is this special HEILAHEILL emergency line-app in smartphones, speeding up emergency services when someone has a stroke symptom, enabling the accurate location of the person through GPS location technology and getting information on who is asking for help, their age and gender and of course why the emergency call is needed. Today 1% of the population have already downloaded this app on their phone and the emergency staff states that 0.0051% of them have already used it!

Jon Barrick, president of SAFE, together with Kolbrún Stefánsdóttir, board member of SAFE and board member of HEILAHEILL and Þórir Steingrímsson, chairman of HEILAHEILL, at SAFE conference in Madrid in June 2018.

Iceland has the potential to be tight-knit, very tight-knit, because everyone knows more about each other than in other European countries.

The people are like a big, helpful family, who stand together, without discrimination on the grounds of national differences or nationality, gender or social status, ethnicity, colour or religion.

Stroke survivors find it easy to fight for their affairs within the current legislation and dare to meet the politicians who make significant decisions about the stroke. This small community is unique, surrounded by clean and untouched nature.

Because of our present position in this favorable environment, we know that we have every chance of doing better for stroke patients, ensuring prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. And we will do so!

You can try this Icelandic app by downloading it from your appsutilities, Applestore, Googleplay, Playstore, and more and look for HEILAHEILL and use the ID number of the company 6112942209 – but the emergency staff will not attend you unless you are in Iceland!

Post-stroke delivery of neurotrophic factor MANF promotes functional recovery in rats

Post-stroke delivery of neurotrophic factor MANF promotes functional recovery in rats

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Stroke is the most common cause of adult disability. This is due not only to the high incidence of stroke, but also because spontaneous recovery is often incomplete and no drugs are available that hasten recovery.

Mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor MANF is neuroprotective when administered before experimental stroke in rats.

A massive immune response mediated by activated microglia and macrophages occurs in the rat brain tissue after stroke. MANF has also recently been shown to recruit immune cells to the eye after retinal damage and to mediate retinal repair after photoreceptor transplantation.

Dr. Mikko Airavaara and his group at the University of Helsinki, Institute of Biotechnology administered MANF to rats after the ischemic brain injury, either by injecting recombinant MANF protein or by delivering a MANF-expressing viral vector into the brain area adjacent to the lesion.

When MANF was administered directly into brain tissue 2 to 3 days after stroke, it did not affect lesion volume but promoted reversal of stroke-induced behavioural impairments. “This indicated that MANF had an effect on the recovery of brain tissue function after injury,” says Dr. Kert Mätlik, the lead author of the study.

MANF treatment transiently increased the number of phagocytic macrophages close to the ischemic lesion. These cells are the professional cleaning crew that clears dying cells and dead material from injured tissue. “This really got me wondering if some of the inflammation is beneficial. What if facilitating specific branches of the inflammatory response enhances both tissue repair and functional recovery?” asks Mikko Airavaara.

By virtue of the presence of a skilled neurosurgeon, Dr. Kuan-Yin Tseng in the lab and a collaboration with Dr. Maria Lindahl, the researchers were also able to study the outcome of experimental stroke in mice that lack MANF in their brain cells. These additional experiments revealed the neuroprotective effect of endogenously-produced MANF against ischemic injury.

Mikko Airavaara has found the results very encouraging for pursuing the ultimate goal of combating long-term disability in stroke patients: “All in all this is a proof-of-concept study that shows the beneficial effect of MANF treatment on the reversal of stroke-induced behavioural deficits. It suggests that MANF or therapeutic agents with similar activity could be developed to repair brain tissue after stroke. However, much more work is needed before clinical studies can be considered.”

Story Source: University of Helsinki. “Post-stroke delivery of neurotrophic factor MANF promotes functional recovery in rats.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 June 2018. <>.

The first SAFE Regional Conference in 2018 held successfully in Madrid

The first SAFE Regional Conference in 2018 held successfully in Madrid

The first SAFE Regional Conference this year gathered 20 participants from organisations  covering Spain, Catalonia, Norway, Finland, Portugal, Greece, Iceland, Turkey,  Israel and Latvia.

The agenda was focused on SAFE’s activities in 2017 and 2018, with a special emphasis on current SAFE projects, such as the Stroke Action Plan for Europe 2018-2030, SAFE Angels Initiative, Life with Spasticity and the new upcoming project for raising awareness on stroke risk factors, Stop Stroke from Happening.

Jon Barrick, SAFE President gave an interesting overview of SAFE political activities aimed towards politicians and EU policy makers, shortly reflecting the Burden of Stroke Report presented in 2017 and how it led to the Stroke Action Plan document, in cooperation with ESO. The full document of the Stroke Action Plan for Europe 2018-2030 is expected to be released for public by September this year.

A special session of the meeting were dedicated to the World Stroke Campaign 2018 and it’s topic, Life After Stroke, as it is closely tied to SAFE’s core goals, such as improving life conditions and level of care for people who survived stroke and their families.

SAFE Project and Operations Manager, Victoria Brewer, gave an update on SSOFT project and helped participants perform a user testing of the existing SSOFT Modules 1 and 2.

Harriklia Proios, SAFE Board member from Greece, presented and update on EU funded research projects in which SAFE is involved as a member of consortium. Once again, the importance of research dissemination was stressed out, explaining why SAFE members should continue to take active part in dissemination activities.

SAFE Board member from Israel, Pnina Rosenzveig chaired a session with individual SSO’s feedback on national activities and next steps.

Finally, SAFE  had a guest workshop held by our sponsorship partner Boehringer Ingelheim. The workshop was about the next steps in the Angels Initiative project development, with a special focus on new and exciting branding ideas and approaches for a sustainable stroke awareness education of the target audience.

SAFE is appreciating support from the company Boehringer Ingelheim, given to us through an unconditional educational grant. The Boehringer Ingelheim is a sponsor of all this year’s Regional Conferences, the one just being held in Madrid, but also the upcoming two in Dublin (21st June) and Prague (28th June 2018).