SEATTLE, Wash. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Recovering from a stroke or TBI can be a tough, long road. Sometimes lasting for decades. However, a non-profit in Seattle is now offering something surprising. Tango Stride
Gus Koerber loves to dance. He says, “I’m 30 and had my traumatic brain injury when I was 19 years old.”
Gus and a group of TBI, stroke and mobility impaired friends are using a new dance-based walking program. Founder, Gabriela Condrea calls the class Tango Stride.
Condrea says, “Our goal is to, to help people with their balance, strength and stamina, and coordination in their walking.”
Condrea, a trained dancer, came up with the idea years ago. She says, “I actually saw somebody who had suffered a traumatic brain injury and was really heavily leaning on a cane. It was kind of a seed of an idea.”
The results, so far, have been a revelation.
Condreas says, “One student who had come in a wheelchair, he hadn’t walked in on his own in 20 years.”
Stroke sufferer Barbara Winters has also seen progress. She says, “It’s been so helpful with coordination. And just that being able to get up out of the wheelchair and learn to take steps.”
Condreas explains, “It’s really about getting the student to do as much as they can on their own and then giving them some resistance.”
Sarah Devine, Neurology Nurse Practitioner at Harborview Medical Center says, “Gabriella’s way of thinking about Tango is perfect for people who have had a stroke or other problems walking or moving. You’re creating joy and connection and communication. All those things that the brain needs to be alive, and to heal and to learn.”
Gus says, “It’s nice to feel good. I really enjoy dancing.”
Gabriela says the only requirement for new students to her class is that they can bear weight for at least a few seconds. From there, they are able to work on posture, balance and ultimately dance.
Contributors to this news report include: Jennifer Winter, Producer; Joe Alexander-Short, Videographer, Bob Walko, Editor.
TANGO STRIDE: A STROKE OF LUCK
BACKGROUND: Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. Strokes kill more than 130,000 Americans each year and many people who survive become temporarily or permanently disabled. There are two major types of strokes. The more common type is ischemic stroke, which happens when blood flow through the artery that supplies oxygen-rich blood to the brain becomes blocked.
The second major type is called hemorrhagic stroke. In this type of stroke an artery in the brain leaks blood or ruptures and floods the brain tissue with blood. In addition to the two major types of stroke, there is another type called a transient ischemic attack, or TIA, also known as a mini-stroke. In this type of stroke, blood flow to the brain is blocked for only a short time, usually no more than 5 minutes, which usually limits the damage that is done to the brain.
STROKE RECOVERY: The typical length of a hospital stay after a stroke is five to seven days. During this time, nurses and doctors will evaluate the effects of the stroke, which will determine the rehabilitation plan. The long-term effects of stroke, which vary from person to person, depending on the stroke’s severity and the area of the brain affected, can include cognitive symptoms like memory problems and trouble speaking; physical symptoms such as weakness, paralysis and difficulty swallowing; emotional symptoms like depression and impulsivity; and heavy fatigue and trouble sleeping. Physical and occupational therapy can determine which areas of the brain are affected by completing various tasks, like walking or brushing hair. Speech-language therapy is also important for patients who have trouble swallowing due to stroke or aftereffects of having a breathing tube. Therapy sessions are conducted up to six times a day while the patient is at the hospital, which helps evaluate the damage and jump-start the recovery process.
NEW TREATMENT OPTION FOR STROKE PATIENTS: The University of Houston has tested a new low cost, portable brain-computer interface (BCI) that connects the brain of stroke patients to powered exoskeletons for rehabilitation purposes. The device reads your mind, interpreting the brain’s activity to initiate robotic movement. Brain-machine interfaces based on scalp electroencephalography (EEG) also have the potential to promote cortical plasticity following stroke, which has been shown to improve motor recovery outcomes. “Most commercial EEG-based BCI systems are tethered to immobile processing hardware or require complex programming or set-up, making them difficult to deploy outside of the clinic or laboratory without technical assistance or extensive training. A portable and wireless BCI system is highly preferred so it can be used outside the lab in clinical and non-clinical mobile applications at home, work, or play,” said Professor Jose Luis Contreras-Vidal, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor of electrical and computer engineering.
* For More Information, Contact:
Free weekly e-mail on Medical Breakthroughs from Ivanhoe. To sign up: http://www.ivanhoe.com/ftk