Money, Money, Everywhere But Where It Should Be! Stroke Survivors Beware

Reading two articles that recently appeared in the Naples Daily News on preventing a type of stroke called atrial fibrillation through the use of anticoagulant drugs, I was most interested that the article was focused on preventing stroke with elegant new drugs that had millions of dollars behind them. The article was focusing on the effect of large sums of money and industry relationships that suggest “an old boy’s club”.

Bob with Dr. Dale Corbett

Dr. Dale Corbett – Scientific Director and CEO – Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery at the 2014 Partnership Scientific Meeting

In my book, Stroke Victor, How to Go from Stroke Victim to Stroke Victor I discuss the drug approval process from a patient perspective and that the FDA plays a critical role. When I am speaking to an audience, many of whom are stroke survivors like myself or stroke caregivers a common question is “What is the state of rehabilitation research?” To which I answer – “The field is amazingly underserved considering that stroke is the number one long-term disabler disease.”

There is puzzlement in the audience to which I explain that most stroke rehabilitation is more physiological and mechanical and does not require drugs where the big research money is. Therefore, rehabilitation research is more dependent on government funding which has declined on a non inflationary dollar basis over the past ten or fifteen years. Unfortunately, even in the Government sector, stroke does not get its fair share which I will discuss further in a future blog post.

I am sometimes chastised for discussing the sorry state of stroke research however one knowledgeable administrator at a US Government clinical research site wrote me while I was editing the book, “Are we deficient in having sufficient rehab options and preventive strategies for people – absolutely! But that is another problem…”

As the recent Founder of The Stroke Research Foundation, Inc., a 501c3 headquartered in Naples we are focused on this problem – this conundrum! We seek to improve post-stroke lifestyles by developing strategies and technologies to maximize stroke recoveries of our neighbors in SW Florida, and nationally, many of whom are affected by this dreaded disease.