Tag Archives: stroke

Researchers share work on regeneration, reconstruction #ahcj13

In a Health Journalism 2013 panel focused on research taking place in regenerative medicine, Dany Adams, Ph.D., an associate research fellow at Tufts University, described her research with African frogs.

Through her research with bioelectricity, or electrical signals, she has proven that African clawed frogs can regenerate tails. She added that this particular species of frogs was a good candidate for the research, as the regeneration happens with a minimum risk of infection. What was most surprising when it came to the tail regeneration in the African clawed frogs is that the muscle, skeleton and spinal cord regenerated on their own, without the need of any additional therapies. She also shared that children can re-grow finger tips before the age of 10.

Adams said the possible implications for human benefits are great and implored journalists to cover such research so the public and legislators, who decide on funding for the continuation of such research, know about it. Continue reading

Doctors certified to use strokebuster don’t

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s John Fauber used data from the Joint Commission to discover that a clot-busting drug that could help patients mid-stroke is not being used in between 30 percent and 60 percent of the situations in which it should be effective. It’s a meaty story package, rich in background and context. As always, Fauber did his homework.

The clot-dissolving agent, known as tissue plasminogen activator, or t-PA, is the only approved drug for treating a stroke by stopping it and significantly reducing the risk of disability.

blocked-artery

Image from gandhiji40 via Flickr

Yet the number of patients who get t-PA has remained dismally low, about 5% of all stroke patients, ever since the drug was approved 14 years ago. Much of that is because patients fail to recognize their symptoms and get to the hospital within the 4 ½ -hour window during which the drug can be administered.

Fauber writes that part of physicians’ reluctance to deploy t-PA can be attributed to built-in financial disincentives. In a small number of cases it can cause bleeding that might attract malpractice lawsuits, and it’s reimbursed at as low as $200 a use.

As a weird offshoot from this incentivization, Fauber found that the “Primary Stroke Center” certification has enough cachet that physicians while go through the motions of t-PA certification just to get the fancy label, yet have no intention of really using the drug.