New Device Uses Submarine Technology to Diagnose Stroke Quickly

April 5, 2011 by  
Filed under Healthy Ageing

I am avoiding all references to ‘up periscope’ but this is a wonderful example of the inventiveness of engineers in adapting new technology to different applications.

A medical device using submarine technology has been developed by retired U.S. Navy sonar experts for the detection, diagnosis and monitoring of strokes. This breakthrough was reported at the Society of Interventional Radiology’s 36th Annual Scientific Meeting in Chicago recently. Stroke is a leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the US as when a stroke occurs (when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel breaks) this interrupts blood flow to an area of the brain. When this happens, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs and the faster it can be detected then the more positive is likely to be the outcome for the patient.

All it takes apparently is a laptop-based console and a headset for each type of stroke and brain trauma to be detected, identified and located in just one or two minutes . The device’s portability and speed of initial diagnosis means it can be used virtually anywhere and not just confined to hospital use. Initially both ambulance paramedics and the military have seen its advantages as it allows them to assess situations quickly and efficiently in order to provide patients with the best immediate treatment.

It has been developed from on decades of submarine warfare technology research and application by Kieran J. Murphy, M.D., FSIR, professor and vice chair, director of research and deputy chief of radiology at the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The system is very simple in principle, yet it yields exceedingly rich data and the device’s basis in submarine technology means it works to measure a patient’s complex brain pulsations and to provide information on the type and location of an abnormality in many of the same ways as sonar works on submarines. Both use an array of sensors to measure movement and generate signals to be processed and analyzed, matching the signals to objects or conditions. As sonar sorts out whales and other objects from vessels, the device sorts out cerebral abnormalities such as aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations (AVMs, an abnormal connection between veins and arteries), ischemic strokes and traumatic brain injury from normal variations in physiology.

Murphy said this technology could easily differentiate normal brain from life-threatening conditions, such as swelling and bleeding. “For example, when a physician suspects a stroke, time is of the essence, so doctors could use the system to determine treatment that needs to begin immediately and the device’s continuous monitoring capability — unique in neurodiagnostics — will allow immediate detection of changes in a patient’s condition.

High Fat Diet Linked to Strokes in Post Menopausal Women

March 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Health


This information comes from the US, but it is likely to be highly relevant for all women on a western diet. Before menopause, women have a lower risk of stroke compared to men of similar age, but this situation reverses after menopause and women with a high fat intake at this point in their lives have a 40 percent higher incidence of clot-caused strokes than women on a low fat diet.

This finding was reported at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2010 and the warning bell is for women having more than 7 grams a day of trans fats, mostly found in processed, baked and fried foods.

Ischemic strokes are caused by blockages in blood vessels in or leading to the brain and the researchers reported positive associations between total fat intake and ischemic stroke incidence and between trans fat intake and ischemic stroke incidence. We know from previous studies shows that different types of fat have different effects on the incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD), with trans fat being identified as a risk factor but those were small scale studies. This one involved 87,230 post-menopausal women ages 50 to 79 who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Observational Study, by answering a food frequency questionnaire when they entered the study and were then followed for an average of 7.6 years.

During that time, 1,049 ischemic strokes occurred and the researchers looked for links between dietary fat intake of all types (saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat and trans fat) and ischemic strokes and covered all health variables including physical activity, drug use, smoking, alcohol and hormone therapy. The top 25% of women had an average total fat intake of 86 grams a day and the lowest 25% consumed just 26 grams a day. With a 40% risk of stroke at the top end of fat intake it makes sense to monitor fat intake, and particularly trans fats to keep their levels down.

If you are not sure of how much fat a day you take in, there is a handy way to determine it and the example below is based on the average amount that a woman needs which is a total of 2,000 calories a day, but you can be more accurate by exactly working out your daily calorie intake.

1. Take the number of calories you eat each day and multiply it by 30 percent (.30). For example: 2,000 calories x .30 = 600 calories from fat

2. Divide your answer by 9 because there are 9 calories in each gram of fat. This will give you the number of grams of fat per day that should be your goal.

600 ÷ 9 = 65 grams

You can use a calculator if you need to I certainly did!