Just 2 scant decades ago, the stroke exhibit at the Museum of Science
and Industry in Chicago, Ill, featured wheelchairs, braces, and various other
devices that aided mobilization of patients with paralysis after strokes.
While these aids help improve function for those with residual impairment,
prevention and treatment were not addressed. Not surprisingly, stroke was
then and remains today the single disease that older individuals most fear.
No one wants to spend their crowning years dependent on others and with impaired
mental and physical faculties. Even so, during the first three quarters of
the 20th century, stroke was a disorder of little medical interest. Most physicians
thought there was little that could be done to prevent stroke or treat patients
with stroke. Few physicians were interested in stroke. Therapeutic nihilism
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