Doug walking his dog


Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Patient and Physician Featured in AARP Article on Stroke Recovery


In a recent news article published by AARP, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab patient Doug N. shared reflections about his rehabilitation and recovery journey following a stroke in 2015.

The stroke, which Doug experienced while on vacation in Florida, left him unable to use the left side of his body. After becoming medically stable, he flew home to Chicago for rehabilitation, including in Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s outpatient clinic.

Stroke recovery can take several years, as was the case for Doug. The AARP article explores factors impacting the timeline and stages of stroke recovery — ­with insight from Richard Harvey, MD, clinical chair of the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Brain Innovation Center

In the article, Dr. Harvey noted that how much progress a person can make and the timeline for their recovery depend on the type and location of the stroke and the patient’s age and overall health.

During four months of outpatient rehabilitation, Doug’s speech improved and he regained partial movement of his left hand and arm. Eight years after his stroke, he underwent vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) paired with rehabilitation, a novel treatment used to further boost his arm and hand function.

Today, Doug has regained most of his ability. He is also a peer mentor at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab to encourage and support other stroke survivors. “Hard work is your best strategy for maximizing your functional recovery,” he said.


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