Daily Archives: December 18, 2006
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — On most days, a tumor on Zvulun Muola’s spinal cord keeps him confined to a wheelchair, but today he is standing on a small, wooden dinghy gliding downstream, navigating between the islands of a tropical paradise.
Muola, whose legs are partially paralyzed, is among a handful of disabled patients in Israel using the Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment. The virtual-reality system puts patients at the helm of a life-size video game, forces them to use atrophied muscles and teaches the basic skills necessary to recover from severe injuries and disorders.
WASHINGTON – Needing a wheelchair isn’t always the biggest complaint of people left paralyzed by spinal cord injury — it’s also the loss of bladder control. On Monday, Michigan doctors began a unique experiment to see if rerouting patients’ nerves just might fix that problem.
It’s a delicate operation: Surgeons cut open a spot on the spine and sew two normally unrelated nerves together — one from the bladder to one from the thigh — with a single hair-thin stitch. It will take months for this new nerve bridge to heal, an anxious waiting period for the first volunteers.