Posts Tagged ‘stroke’
There is a warning out against the use of aspirin in healthy individuals for the prevention of heart attacks and strokes. I find it funny that any healthy person would want to take medication needlessly anyway. I have a hard enough time trying to take a vitamin a day. And aspirin is not a benign drug.
Aspirin has been in use for ages. It’s a pain reliever, an anti-platelet and an anti-inflammatory agent. It became part of the regimen for those with heart disease and strokes to prevent further problems. However, there are some negatives attributes to this simple drug. It may cause ulcers. Therefore, when the risk of bleeding from ulcers is greater than the risk from heart attack and strokes, doctors are cautious about recommending aspirin.
So, it would make sense that in a normal, healthy adult, prophylactic use of aspirin is not indicated and, even worse, may be dangerous. Not just the risk of ulcers – not everyone is prone to ulcers from aspirin. But, because it is a blood thinner due to its anti-platelet effects, bleeding from anywhere is a risk. This includes a bleeding, or haemorrhagic, stroke after a fall.
It’s unclear why anyone would be taking aspirin regularly. Perhaps, they’ve heard that it prevents heart attacks and strokes and have taken it upon themselves to reduce their own risk. Perhaps, their doctor had mistakenly advised them to do so. I have heard of doctors regularly advising those older than 50 to take an aspirin a day, regardless of their risk factors. Perhaps, now, they will think twice about doing so. That is not to say that they can’t take it for pain once in a while.
I like the idea of music therapy. It has long been known that music evokes many responses, some positive, some negative. You hear a song and it brings back memories of events that somehow your brain has linked to that song. Some of those memories may be nostalgic, some happy, some sad. Even a song you might not have liked at the time can bring good memories, which will make you like the song now. Or vice versa – a song you loved brings back painful memories and you do not want to hear it again.
Music can be soothing; that’s why relaxing music is played during yoga. Music can be energising; that may be why loud music is played at ball games. Music can be used to evoke atmosphere and mood; hence music scores in movies, film, and theatre. Music is very important as a stimulus for the mind.
What it triggers in the brain is probably too complex for us to even imagine. That is why there is such variation in tastes in music. There is not one universal genre of music that appeals to everyone, and one person’s taste is generally not limited to one genre. Or, even if it is not to their taste, a person may learn to like a specific genre in certain circumstances. It all depends on what is happening in the brain at the time of listening to the music.
Because music is so important, I have seen it used as therapy in different ways. It is used as entertainment in nursing homes, whether there is a live performer, or music is played on the radio or from records/tapes/CDs. It is used in Hospice programs to help patients relax. You see it in practice in normal every day settings. Parents sing lullabies to their babies to get them to relax or go to sleep.
Some people claim music can help children understand mathematics. They say it is because they need to understand notes and rhythms. But couldn’t it be because the positive, stimulating effects of music actually trigger some of those complex brain activities that help children to learn?
This may be part of what is happening in stroke patients with “visual neglect” who learn to view the neglected side after listening to music. The stroke has damaged areas in the brain that are involved in learning and integrating signals, not vision. Therefore, the patient may see things on the side damaged by the stroke, but they do not understand how to react to them. These patients only dress on side, eat from one side of the plate, etc. A very limited study in three patients with visual neglect found that if they listened to music of their choice, they were able to identify shapes and colour on the neglected side, as compared to when they listened to music they did not like or to silence. It is suggested that the music has helped create positive emotions that trigger the learning and integrating process in that damaged area of the brain.
It is generally accepted that everyone learns better in a positive and stimulating environment, so this idea is not novel. But the fact that music can be useful in such a devastating condition is very encouraging. A world without music is a sad world, indeed.