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Strokes leading cause for disability worldwide

TUCSON – Every year 800 thousand people in the U.S. suffer strokes. It is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

While it is unlikely that you’ll die from a stroke, you could end up being handicapped.

According to Tucson Neurologist Mateja De Leonni Stanonik, a stroke is a clot to the brain like a heart attack is a clot to the heart.

She just returned from the European Stroke Conference in Italy.

She said they discussed several clinical trials including extending the window from when the symptoms begin.

“They are extending the time window from 4 and a half hours to 9 hours to be able to do the I.V. Thrombolysis,” De Leonni Stanonik said.

That’s a treatment that dissolves dangerous clots in blood vessels to improve blood flow and prevent damage to tissues and organs.

Andrew Karic was in his 50’s when he had a stroke in 2010.

He said he was sitting down to have a glass of wine and the next thing he knew his left leg felt like it was 200 lbs. He said he couldn’t move his arm nor his leg.

In 2014, he started seeing Dr. De Leonni. She has helped him with his depression and managing his pain.

Part of the treatment was art therapy. It has now become a passion.

Karic has become an artist. He sculpts concrete, tile, rocks and rebar. All items he was familiar with when he ran a $60-million dollar construction company.

His art is displayed in art galleries in Tucson and Tubac.

He told News 4 Tucson one of the big reasons that helped him pull out of his depression was the art therapy.

He said it gave him focus, as well an outlet to express himself.

While he still has pain on the left side, he said he’s learning to manage it. He added, he is thankful because he knows there are people out there who are worse off.

Dr. De Leonni said there are a lot of ongoing trials including one she’s currently participating in where they are putting stem cells in the injured areas of the brain to recover from a stroke.




Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

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