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!!! Strokes and Neuroplasticity

 
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My mom requested I write this post. She's in her 80's and watching too many people she cares about be crippled for life by strokes. She found an e-book and is reading it, it talks about how to regain your function after a stroke. Stroke of Luck: NOW!: Fast and Free Exercises to Immediately Begin Mastering Neuroplasticity Following Stroke - Right Now!   by Bob Dennis

Why is this relevant to Permaculture? Because a lot of us live a lifestyle where other people can't or won't just step in and deal with our life for us. Someone who offers "tell me if there's anything I can do!" is probably not going to be willing to show up at 5 AM every morning and milk the cows. It's part of self reliance and resilience to be able to continue in our chosen lifestyle even with medical setbacks. No one who lives like we do wants to hear our family say "look, you HAVE to move out of your home," the healthier we can stay, and the better we can recover, the less chance we have of ever hearing it. And you do not have to be older to have a stroke.

(Quotes from How to Optimize Your Recovery After a Stroke on Mercola.com)

Stroke is a massively pervasive problem in the U.S., with an estimated 795,000 strokes occurring each year. It's the fifth leading cause of death, killing an estimated 142,000 annually. It's also a leading cause of long-term disability in the U.S. Strokes are also becoming more prevalent in younger people. An estimated 10 percent of all strokes occur in people under the age of 50.


My opinion on why the age is getting lower has to do with low nutrient diets and smoking, both are known to increase stroke risk, and I think a lot of people are hitting their toxic overload point earlier than their grandparents did. One of the things the guy who wrote this book said is when he asked doctors after his stroke what he could do, several said "Consider trying a Mediterranean diet." Since that's a low junk food, high real food diet, it's already pretty Permie-ish.

The author, Bob Dennis, in the Mercola link above, said

I was like, 'You know what? Somebody needs to start telling people [that] as soon as you have a stroke, make sure you start doing things, especially the things they've asked you to do when they're assessing you. Because those things are safe. They're effective. They zero in on your problem, and you can do them without any special equipment.


He summarized the most important parts of the book at the beginning, so if you read the free preview on Amazon, you will get a lot of information.

The things that stand out for me: Start moving as soon as you can, neuroplasticity is how your brain to develops alternate pathways to bypass the damaged neurons, and the sooner you do it after the damage has been incurred, the more effective it will be. Make sounds, move your hands, anything to keep your brain having to learn through the bad part of a stroke.

Learning all the time helps keep your brain in shape for learning easier, just as using your muscles and staying in shape makes it easier if you have to suddenly do something that requires effort, so continuing to always learn new things will help recovery if you have a stroke.

The main thing I got out of what I read is having a stroke does not have to be totally incapacitating, and the thing that can change the outcome most is what you do before and after it. Interesting book! I recommend reading at least the free preview and the Mercola link above. There's also video on that link, if you learn better that way.

:D


 
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There is a book titled "The Brain that changes itself" I read about ten yeas ago, stories of recovery.

We don't yet know all the body, and the mind, are capable of.
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:
Learning all the time helps keep your brain in shape for learning easier, just as using your muscles and staying in shape makes it easier if you have to suddenly do something that requires effort, so continuing to always learn new things will help recovery if you have a stroke.



Learning new things throughout life will help us deal with any brain problems as we age, including Alzheimer's as well as stroke.
 
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I realize this is focused on recovery (although protection through diet could start yesterday!) I do want to state that there is a lot of treatment for what used to be called "a stroke in progression". If you ever experience unprovoked numbness, lack of motor control, speech slurring or any other possible indications of a blood clot or leak in the brain, please seek medical attention immediately. Please don't "wait to see if it gets better". The medical staff need to see the symptoms, and there really is far more they can do to identify and treat the problem to reduce the amount of permanent damage than there was even a few decades ago.

From my *very* old experience in hospitals (I always call it my BC days - before children) there are different stages of recovery from strokes. There's the "nerve cells that were injured but not killed" improvement that has the cells recovering and doing their job again. There's the "near-by cells" putting out connections to take over the job of killed cells - one cell will try to do the job that used to be done by two cells sort of thing - and that takes a little longer. Then there's the full-blown trying to get nerve cells to take over jobs they really didn't use to do and that process can carry on for a very long time so long as the cell owner is committed to doing the exercises/activities that demand that the brain adapt! As Pearl said above - start with whatever you can as soon as you can and keep on with it, but be realistic also. If the nurse says you need a walker so you don't fall on a hard hospital floor, you'll get more support if you listen. That doesn't mean you have to put a lot of weight on that walker - just have it ready to take that weight if your leg falters or spasms, for example. Start with the small skills that can be joined up into bigger, more complicated tasks. Particularly at first, make sure you only repeat a movement a couple of times, then if you feel fine an hour later, do so again. This is *much* better for the healing cells than tiring them out completely. For example, when you can lift your toes up twice each hour, then move on to 3 times each hour, then 4 times, rather than trying to do it 20 times once a day.

Being positive and setting little, achievable goals will help you progress each day. Having a big goal that you realistically recognize is a ways down the path, will keep you working when it seems boring, frustrating or too simple. It's good to have both types of goals. Doctors and therapists can help you, but you have to do the work.
 
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Hi Pearl, Pearl's Mom, Jay and all Contributors.
Thank you for this critical post.
Please take 40 minutes and watch the video "A Teachable Moment" that supports everything you are saying. It streams on Amazon and some other sites. You'll never forget the acronym FAST developed by UK healthcare workers.
https://www.ateachablemoment.film
Thank you for this teachable moment.
Amy
 
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This is only laterally relevant, but deals with neuroplasticity from a preventative standpoint.

I will try to find the article to link to, but I was recently reading that bilingualism, while it doesn't prevent incidences of alzheimers, certainly delays onset of symptoms; multilingualists were even further buffered from those effects.

From what I could gather, not being a neurologist, bilingualism and multilingualism kept the brain more plastic as a function of needing to focus on a single language and ignore the rest, suggesting that while the progression of alzheimers had already commenced, the increased mental plasticity resulted in adaptation to the changed neural circumstances; the brain started working around the alzheimers, recircuiting the brain as it progressed to maintain function.

How this could help post-stroke is uncertain, but I am sure that a more plastic brain would respond and adapt faster to both injury and therapy.

So who's for learning more languages? My other one is French, and I have a little Polish, which I am working on. Klingon, anyone?

-CK
 
Jay Angler
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Chris Kott wrote:

So who's for learning more languages? My other one is French, and I have a little Polish, which I am working on. Klingon, anyone?

Heck I'm struggling with just one. Some brains are better at learning multiple languages and retaining them than others. Yes - it's *very* good for your brain to try but if it's not working, anything that keeps you engaged, learning, problem solving and active physically will do the job. (I swear I'm the only human out there that can mix up French and Japanese!)
 
This looks like a job for .... legal tender! It says so right in this tiny ad:
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
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