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Not so Silly Putty: UM researchers use one of its components to turn stem cells into spinal cord cells

Published: April 13, 2014 | Category: News

Stem cells differentiated into neuron cellsCrain’s Detroit Business is long overdue for a story or blog on Silly Putty. Better late than never, here we go:

As it turns out, a main component in silly putty helps stem cells that are being grown in culture turn into the specialized cells researchers need.

The component is called polydimethylsiloxane, and it provides a sponginess that aids stem-cell differentiation, according to a study by University of Michigan researchers published Sunday in the online journal Nature Materials.

The researchers coaxed human embryonic stem cells to turn into working spinal cord cells more efficiently by using a soft, ultrafine carpet of the silly stuff than by using other media. Continue Reading »

Spinal injury proves no barrier to competing in sport

Published: April 13, 2014 | Category: News

Mark Bonnar Inter Spinal Unit GamesA MAN left paralysed after a diving accident in Tenerife has made a five hundred mile round trip to compete in the Inter Spinal Unit Games.

Marc Bonnar, who was paralysed after the accident in a swimming pool in 2012, was part of the team from the North of England Spinal Cord Injury Centre in Middlesbrough who travelled to Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire.

The 24-year-old animation design graduate from Ingleby Barwick joined other patients from around the country and the Republic of Ireland to take part in the 27th Inter Spinal Unit Games organised by WheelPower – the national charity for wheelchair sports. Continue Reading »

Man’s idea for big wheels lets him hit the sand rolling

Published: April 13, 2014 | Category: News | Spinal Cord Injury:

The Sand RiderVIRGINIA BEACH Bill Fertig struggled with beach vacations for years. A motorcycle wreck 14 years ago left him a paraplegic. On a trip to Nags Head one summer, Fertig relied on a cumbersome wheelchair that even the strongest member of his family could barely push through the sand.

Fertig stayed back at the house so he wouldn’t be a burden while everyone played near the water.

Frustration fueled his desire to invent a new, lightweight, manageable sand wheelchair. Continue Reading »

Doctors use gaming to mend spinal injuries

Published: April 13, 2014 | Category: News

NEW DELHI: The rehabilitation department of Indian Spinal Injuries Centre has introduced a new and engaging form of rehabilitation: video games. This new form of virtual reality therapy has helped patients become more motivated and engaged during rehabilitation.

In a crowded rehab room, Vinod Kumar diligently stands on a balance board-a game console-and stares at the TV screen. He leans to the left, and on the screen the skier copies his movements. The goal of the skiing game is to reach the end of the slope and avoid obstacles, but the true goal is for Kumar to practice his balance. Continue Reading »