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Spasticity 101: A debilitating yet treatable common condition after a stroke



(Family Features) In the year following a stroke, about 1 in 3 stroke survivors will experience spasticity, a common post-stroke condition which causes muscle stiffness due to involuntary muscle contractions. Most commonly affecting the elbow, wrist and ankle, the condition may make it difficult to do activities people were able to do before their stroke like dressing, brushing their teeth or walking.

More than 3 million stroke survivors may wrestle with reduced independence and increased reliance on caregivers due to spasticity. The condition is particularly common in younger stroke survivors.

After a stroke, the way your brain communicates with your muscles may change. Muscles may be stiff or resistant to stretching. They may involuntarily contract or have a smaller range of motion.

“While there’s no cure for spasticity, working with your care team to find the best treatment options for you can help provide comfort, relief and independence,” said Richard D. Zorowitz, MD, volunteer past chair of the American Heart Association’s Stroke Council Rehabilitation and Recovery Committee and chief medical informatics officer and outpatient attending physician at MedStar National Rehabilitation Network.

Some common symptoms include painful muscle spasms; difficulty stretching muscles; stiffness in the arm, hand, leg and ankle; an arm folded and pressed against the chest with a curled wrist and fingers; an involuntary tight fist; pointed foot; curled toes; and overactive reflexes.

If left untreated, spasticity can cause painful and debilitating bone and joint deformities. Experts stress seeing a doctor as soon as symptoms develop. Assessment of the condition is critical in developing a treatment plan based on individual needs and goals, the severity of the condition and overall health.

Management plans may include targeted injections of botulinum toxin, oral medications, intrathecal baclofen pump therapy, physical therapy or other methods to improve the muscles’ ability to stretch and regain range of motion. Home modifications such as assistive devices and other adaptations to increase independence and safety may also help.


If you or a loved one is dealing with spasticity after a stroke, talk to your doctor or health care team about options to treat and manage it. Find resources and tools to help at Spasticity education made possible through funding by Ipsen.

Knowing the Signs of Stroke Saved One Man’s Life

When Herbert “Hub” Miller worked as a global leader for an international agriculture science company, his boss ended every meeting with a reminder of the “FAST” acronym to recognize the signs of stroke: Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties and Time to call 911.

“I’d sit back and think, ‘Here comes the whole FAST speech again; let’s move on,’” Miller said. “I didn’t know I’d ever use it on myself.”

In April 2021, Miller was working from home when he experienced throbbing head pain. As other symptoms began appearing, the 42-year-old remembered those meetings and checked off the symptoms: His face was numb, his left arm drooped and he struggled to form words.

It turned out to be a hemorrhagic stroke, a ruptured blood vessel bleeding into the brain. Miller’s odds of surviving weren’t good, but it wasn’t until he was recovering in intensive care that he understood the full impact of the stroke. It caused abnormal increases in muscle tone causing stiffness, pain and spasms known as spasticity, leaving him with mobility and cognitive challenges.

After the stroke, Miller struggled with once-simple tasks like drawing a clock, completing a word puzzle and playing memory games.


“Spasticity changed my life and added an additional hurdle to my stroke recovery,” Miller said. “Without being able to open and close my left hand, I can’t write, type or drive like I used to. Those are things most of us take for granted until we can’t do them.”

Miller worked on his penmanship at the same time his youngest son learned to write in the first grade. Miller asked the teacher to send home extra worksheets, and father and son did homework together.

“I don’t measure my success day by day, but when I look back to a year ago and where I am today, I am grateful every day how far I have come,” he said.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (patient undergoing physical therapy)

American Heart Association


Observing World Cancer Day



World Cancer Day is an international day marked on 4 February to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its preventiondetection, and treatment. World Cancer Day is led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration, written in 2008. The primary goal of World Cancer Day is to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancer and is an opportunity to rally the international community to end the injustice of preventable suffering from cancer. The day is observed by the United Nations.

World Cancer Day targets misinformation, raises awareness, and reduces stigma. Multiple initiatives are run on World Cancer Day to show support for those affected by cancer. One of these movements are #NoHairSelfie, a global movement to have “hairticipants” shave their heads either physically or virtually to show a symbol of courage for those undergoing cancer treatment. Images of participants are then shared all over social media. Hundreds of events around the world also take place. (wikipedia)

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FDA Concludes that Existing Regulatory Frameworks for Foods and Supplements are Not Appropriate for Cannabidiol, Will Work with Congress on a New Way Forward



Statement From:Janet Woodcock, M.D.
Principal Deputy Commissioner – Office of the Commissioner

January 26, 2023

Given the growing cannabidiol (CBD) products market, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration convened a high-level internal working group to explore potential regulatory pathways for CBD products. Today we are announcing that after careful review, the FDA has concluded that a new regulatory pathway for CBD is needed that balances individuals’ desire for access to CBD products with the regulatory oversight needed to manage risks. The agency is prepared to work with Congress on this matter. Today, we are also denying three citizen petitions that had asked the agency to conduct rulemaking to allow the marketing of CBD products as dietary supplements.  

The use of CBD raises various safety concerns, especially with long-term use. Studies have shown the potential for harm to the liver, interactions with certain medications and possible harm to the male reproductive system. CBD exposure is also concerning when it comes to certain vulnerable populations such as children and those who are pregnant. 

A new regulatory pathway would benefit consumers by providing safeguards and oversight to manage and minimize risks related to CBD products. Some risk management tools could include clear labels, prevention of contaminants, CBD content limits, and measures, such as minimum purchase age, to mitigate the risk of ingestion by children. In addition, a new pathway could provide access and oversight for certain CBD-containing products for animals.


The FDA’s existing foods and dietary supplement authorities provide only limited tools for managing many of the risks associated with CBD products. Under the law, any substance, including CBD, must meet specific safety standards to be lawfully marketed as a dietary supplement or food additive. 

The working group, which I chair, has closely examined studies related to the CBD-based drug Epidiolex, published scientific literatureinformation submitted to a public docket, as well as studies both conducted and commissioned by the agency. Given the available evidence, it is not apparent how CBD products could meet safety standards for dietary supplements or food additives. For example, we have not found adequate evidence to determine how much CBD can be consumed, and for how long, before causing harm. Therefore, we do not intend to pursue rulemaking allowing the use of CBD in dietary supplements or conventional foods. 

CBD also poses risks to animals, and people could be unknowingly exposed to CBD through meat, milk and eggs from animals fed CBD. Because it is not apparent how CBD products could meet the safety standard for substances in animal food, we also do not intend to pursue rulemaking allowing the use of CBD in animal food. A new regulatory pathway could provide access and oversight for certain CBD-containing products for animals.

The FDA will continue to take action against CBD and other cannabis-derived products to protect the public, in coordination with state regulatory partners, when appropriate. We will remain diligent in monitoring the marketplace, identifying products that pose risks and acting within our authorities. The FDA looks forward to working with Congress to develop a cross-agency strategy for the regulation of these products to protect the public’s health and safety.

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American Society of Nephrology Statement on U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Draft Research Plan on Screening for Kidney Diseases



90% of Americans with kidney diseases are unaware that they are affected.

Newswise — Washington, DC (January 20, 2023) —The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) is encouraged by the recent U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) announcement to solicit comment on USPSTF’s draft research plan on screening for kidney diseases. This development follows more than a decade of advocacy in support of more kidney health screening by ASN and other stakeholders dedicated to intervening earlier to slow or stop the progression of kidney diseases.

More than 37 million Americans suffer from kidney diseases that impact virtually every aspect of their lives as well as their families and communities. Kidney diseases are the ninth leading cause of death in the United States, yet 90% of Americans with kidney diseases are unaware that they are affected. Prevention and early detection are key to preventing kidney failure and achieving kidney health.

People with a family history of kidney diseases and people with diabetesobesity, or other health issues, are at a higher risk of kidney diseases. Older adults, people with lower incomes, and people who are Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, Native/Indigenous American, Native Alaskan, Asian, and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander are also most at risk for kidney diseases and kidney failure. Dialysis, the most common therapy for those with kidney failure, has a 5-year mortality rate worse than nearly all forms of cancer and requires billions of dollars annually to manage and treat. The recent approval of numerous therapies that successfully slow or stop the progression of kidney diseases mean it is more important than ever to screen Americans who are at-risk so they can access these effective, novel drugs as soon as possible.

“Early screening to drive faster more comprehensive intervention are critical components of a holistic prevention strategy for kidney diseases,” said ASN President Michelle A. Josephson, MD, FASN. “We fully support USPSTF and their efforts to advance the research agenda on this critical public health priority.” Dr. Josephson added, “The entire kidney community has contributed to this decades-long effort and ASN is committed to continuing our work with other advocates, including the Coalition 4 Kidney Health, and the USPSTF to prioritize screening for kidney diseases as USPSTF finalizes its draft research plan.”

For more information, please visit

About ASN


Since 1966, ASN has been leading the fight to prevent, treat, and cure kidney diseases throughout the world by educating health professionals and scientists, advancing research and innovation, communicating new knowledge and advocating for the highest quality care for patients. ASN has more than 20,000 members representing 132 countries. For more information, visit and follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram.

Source: American Society of Nephrology (ASN)

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