Saturday, August 15, 2020

Monthly Archives: April 2009

One Degree of Separation: Paralysis and Spinal Cord Injury in the United States

Published: April 21, 2009

onedegree_smchild_200x200According to a study initiated by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, there are nearly 1 in 50 people living with paralysis — approximately 6 million people. That’s the same number of people as the combined populations of Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. And that number is nearly 40 percent higher than previous estimates showed.

It means that we all know someone — a brother, sister, friend, neighbor, or colleague — living with paralysis. These aren’t strangers. They are only one degree of separation from all of us. But their lives are different. They live with a condition that affects their family life, their ability to work, and their capacity to enjoy even the most routine everyday activities that others take for granted. The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation wants to change that.

More are paralyzed in U.S. than previously thought

Published: April 21, 2009

paralysis21_vaAbout 5.6 million Americans have some degree of paralysis — far more than previously thought, according to the findings of a telephone survey released today by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

The 2008 survey of more than 33,000 U.S. households defined paralysis as “a central nervous system disorder resulting in difficulty or inability to move” arms or legs. Mobility problems from muscular dystrophy, obesity, arthritis or diabetes, which aren’t central nervous system disorders, weren’t counted.

Local veteran isn’t letting paralysis keep him down

Published: April 20, 2009

shawn-ritchhart-smRecent trip to winter sports clinic just one way man keeps active

Shawn Ritchhart always thought of himself as kind of a loner. However, after a rodeo accident in 2004 paralyzed him, the 35-year-old is telling others with disabilities to not be a “hermit.”

“There’s no reason to be a hermit. Get out and do stuff. That’s the only way to start getting better,” said Ritchhart, a Navy and National Guard veteran.

The quest for a cure: Stem cells’ potential for 10 vexing illnesses

Published: April 20, 2009

With President Barack Obama’s recent lifting of the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, scientists now have new prospects for developing medical treatments. Excitement over the embryonic cells comes from their remarkable ability, as biological blank slates, to become virtually any of the body’s cell types. Many observers believe the president’s move will accelerate the hunt for cures for some of our most vexing diseases.

However, the benefits are largely hypothetical, given the infancy of the field, and are offset by some real obstacles: The risks of embryonic stem cells, as well as cells programmed to become like them, include the possibility they will actually cause cancers in people who receive them.

Avon Lake grad fights through spinal cord injury

Published: April 20, 2009

Avon Lake High School grad Keith Concar wanted to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, but while volunteering near New Orleans in 2006, he suffered a devastating accident.

Concar, then 27 years old, was attending Kent State University when he decided to travel south with a group of volunteers to stay at the Baptist Church of Slidell, La., just north of New Orleans. With a background in construction, he uses his skills to help people whose homes had been destroyed.

Researcher use brain interface to post to Twitter

Published: April 20, 2009

twitter_brain_20090421124438945_320_240In early April, Adam Wilson posted a status update on the social networking Web site Twitter – just by thinking about it.

Just 23 characters long, his message, “using EEG to send tweet,” demonstrates a natural, manageable way in which “locked-in” patients can couple brain-computer interface technologies with modern communication tools. See video of Wilson using the brain-computer interface to post to Twitter.

A University of Wisconsin-Madison biomedical engineering doctoral student, Wilson is among a growing group of researchers worldwide who aim to perfect a communication system for users whose bodies do not work, but whose brains function normally. Among those are people who have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), brain-stem stroke or high spinal cord injury.

US lifts some restrictions on embryonic stem cells

Published: April 18, 2009

When President Barack Obama eased limits on taxpayer-funded embryonic stem cell research, the big question became how far scientists could go. Friday, the government answered: They must use cells culled from fertility clinic embryos that otherwise would be thrown away.

Draft guidelines released by the National Institutes of Health reflect rules with broad congressional support, excluding more controversial sources such as cells derived from embryos created just for experiments.

“We think this will be a huge boost for the science,” said Acting NIH Director Raynard Kington. “This was the right policy for the agency at this point in time.”

High school seniors with disabilities get helping hand in job market

Published: April 16, 2009

David Renz works as a manager at Ownbey Enterprises even though he uses a wheelchair because of a spinal cord injury from a fall several years ago.

The Dalton resident said he wants his younger counterparts with disabilities to have employment opportunities as well. Beginning this August, they will.

Up to 12 high school seniors with disabilities are expected participate in a new internship program called Project SEARCH. It’s a joint program of Dalton Public Schools, Whitfield County Schools and Hamilton Health Care System and is sponsored by Cross Plains Community Partner and the local Department of Human Resources Vocational Rehabilitation office. It aims to help students with disabilities get jobs, while also allowing businesses fill positions.

Nonprofit to Open Florida Facility for Spinal Cord Injury Patients

Published: April 15, 2009

Patient necessity in southeast US affects innovative center

SANFORD, FL – A promising new resource with a proven methodology of recovery is now available for spinal cord injury persons living throughout the southeastern United States. Step It Up Recovery Center, Inc. in Sanford, Florida is now accepting clients for an innovative, exercise-based program modeled after the successful Project Walk® Spinal Cord Injury Recovery program in Carlsbad, CA.

“Step It Up Recovery Center, Inc. has been established to help those living with a spinal cord injury (SCI) improve their daily living – and perhaps ultimately walk again – through a proven, specialized and comprehensive exercise-based program,”

Magnesium efficacy in a rat spinal cord injury model Laboratory investigation

Published: April 14, 2009

Object: Magnesium has been shown to have neuroprotective properties in short-term spinal cord injury (SCI) studies. The authors evaluated the efficacy of magnesium, methylprednisolone, and magnesium plus methylprednisolone in a rat SCI model.

A moderate-to-severe SCI was produced at T9–10 in rats, which then received saline, magnesium, methylprednisolone, or magnesium plus methylprednisolone within 10 minutes of injury.