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Related terms: Spinal Cord Injury, Paraplegia, Quadriplegia, Tetraplegia, Paraplegic

Nerve Stimulation Pulls Patient From 15-Year Vegetative State

Posted 26 Sep 2017 by

MONDAY, Sept. 25, 2017 – By stimulating a nerve that stretches from the abdomen to the brain, French researchers have restored a significant measure of consciousness to a brain-damaged 35-year-old car accident victim who had spent 15 years in a vegetative state. This case may change conventional thinking about vegetative states. Currently, it is generally believed that if someone is in a vegetative state for more than a year, it's irreversible, the study authors noted. After implanting a nerve stimulator into the patient's chest, investigators spent a month stimulating the vagus nerve. This nerve is a key pathway in brain-body circuitry. It plays a central role in a number of essential functions, including waking and alertness. "After one month of vagal nerve stimulation [VNS], the patient's attention, movements and brain activity significantly improved," said study author Angela ... Read more

Related support groups: Spinal Cord Trauma, Diagnosis and Investigation

JFK's Long, Silent Struggle With Back Pain

Posted 11 Jul 2017 by

TUESDAY, July 11, 2017 – Contrary to his youthful, vibrant public image, former President John F. Kennedy privately battled chronic, debilitating back pain much of his life. A new report chronicles JFK's pain issues and the many treatments he received throughout the years. The report includes private details – from multiple failed spinal surgeries and narcotic injections, to use of a back brace that some believe may have played a role in his death. "He went through the wringer visiting different surgeons and physicians and experts in their field – well-known people," said study co-author Dr. Justin Dowdy. He is a neurosurgeon and partner at Hot Springs Neurosurgery Clinic in Arkansas. While Kennedy's care would be different today due to advances in surgery and imaging technology, Dowdy doesn't see reason to second-guess clinicians' recommendations at the time. "They did the best they ... Read more

Related support groups: Pain, Surgery, Suboxone, Back Pain, Percocet, Vicodin, Norco, Chronic Pain, Lortab, Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Meloxicam, Advil, Breakthrough Pain, Sciatica, Diclofenac, Aleve, Voltaren, Herniated Disc, Mobic

Music May Soothe the 'Savage Beast' of Post-Op Pain

Posted 7 Apr 2017 by

FRIDAY, April 7, 2017 – Patients recovering from back surgery often struggle with pain and anxiety, but new research shows that music therapy may help ease their discomfort. Medication is commonly used to manage pain for people who've had surgery to treat a spinal problem. For the new study, researchers from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City provided 30 patients who'd had spinal fusion surgery with a 30-minute music therapy session within 72 hours of their operation. The therapy included singing, rhythmic drumming and live music. It helped patients relax and eased their tension, the researchers said, adding that the therapy was used in combination with standard care. Another group of 30 spine surgery patients received only standard care after their procedure and didn't receive music therapy. All of the patients in the study were between 40 and 55 years old. "This study is unique in ... Read more

Related support groups: Anxiety, Anxiety and Stress, Back Pain, Social Anxiety Disorder, Sciatica, Performance Anxiety, Spinal Cord Trauma

Brain-Computer Link Restores Some Movement to Quadraplegic Man

Posted 29 Mar 2017 by

TUESDAY, March 28, 2017 – Grabbing a mug of coffee, having a sip. It's something most people would do without thinking, every day. But for Bill Kochevar, it's a life-changing move. That's because Kochevar, 56, lost all movement below his shoulders eight years ago in a bicycling accident. But now he's the first quadriplegic in the world to successfully use a dual-implant technology to regain some motion. "For somebody who's been injured eight years and couldn't move, being able to move just that little bit is awesome to me," said Kochevar, who lives in Cleveland. "It's better than I thought it would be." The new system that is allowing him to perform simple tasks involves two technologies. First, say researchers at Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University, Kochevar underwent surgery to place two tiny sensors – each about the size of a baby aspirin – in the motor cortex area of his ... Read more

Related support groups: Fracture, bone, Spinal Cord Trauma, Compression Fracture of Vertebral Column

Brain Chip Helps Paralyzed 'Type' With Their Mind

Posted 21 Feb 2017 by

TUESDAY, Feb. 21, 2017 – A microchip implanted in the brain helped paralyzed patients "type" on a computer via mind control, at the fastest speeds yet seen in such experiments. It's the latest step forward in research on "brain-computer interface" systems. Scientists have been studying the technology, with the aim of giving patients with paralysis or limb amputations more independence in their daily lives. In the past several years, researchers at a few universities have given microchip implants to a small number of patients, which allowed patients to control robotic limbs using their thoughts. And just last month, scientists reported on a noninvasive technology – using advanced brain imaging – that allowed four "locked-in" patients (with complete paralysis of all voluntary muscles) to answer yes-no questions. All four patients had advanced amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – ... Read more

Related support groups: Muscle Spasm, Muscle Twitching, Spinal Cord Trauma, Diagnosis and Investigation

Specially Designed Video Game Might Ease 'Phantom Limb' Pain

Posted 2 Dec 2016 by

THURSDAY, Dec. 1, 2016 – Amputees who experience what is known as phantom limb pain may benefit from playing a virtual reality game that simulates the movement of missing limbs, a small study suggests. "Phantom limb pain is a difficult condition to treat that can seriously hinder patients' quality of life," said study lead author Max Ortiz Catalan. He is an assistant professor at Sweden's Chalmers University of Technology. Phantom limb pain occurs when amputees feel painful sensations that appear to be coming from limbs that no longer exist. In about one-third of cases, the pain can lead to poor mental health and worsening disability, the study authors noted. "The results from our study suggest that it may be useful to 'exercise' the phantom limb," Catalan explained. "Our treatment offers an engaging way to do this while also providing a non-invasive and non-pharmacological treatment, ... Read more

Related support groups: Neuropathic Pain, Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, Spinal Cord Trauma, Autonomic Neuropathy, Central Nervous System Disorders, Upper Limb Spasticity, Lower Limb Spasticity

Scientists Restore Leg Movement in Paralyzed Monkeys

Posted 9 Nov 2016 by

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 9, 2016 – Using a wireless brain-spinal connection, scientists report they restored leg movement in paralyzed monkeys. This is the first time this type of system – called a neural prosthetic – has restored walking movement directly to the legs of nonhuman primates (a pair of rhesus macaques), according to the researchers. "The system we have developed uses signals recorded from the motor cortex of the brain to trigger coordinated electrical stimulation of nerves in the spine that are responsible for locomotion," said study co-lead author David Borton. He is an assistant professor of engineering at Brown University in Providence, R.I. "With the system turned on, the animals in our study had nearly normal locomotion," he said in a university news release. The research could lead to the development of similar systems for people with spinal cord injuries, the scientists ... Read more

Related support groups: Pain, Spinal Cord Trauma, Diagnosis and Investigation, Paralytic Disorder

Nerve Stimulation Restored Sense of Touch to Arm Amputees

Posted 26 Oct 2016 by

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 26, 2016 – Direct stimulation of the nervous system produced realistic sensations of touch in two arm amputees, researchers report. Both men lost their arms after traumatic injuries. They received implanted devices containing electrodes that were attached to the nerves of the arm. These nerves would normally carry signals to and from the hand. "If you want to create a dexterous hand for use in an amputee or a quadriplegic patient, you need to not only be able to move it, but have sensory feedback from it," said researcher Sliman Bensmaia. He's a neuroscientist and associate professor of organismal biology and anatomy at the University of Chicago. "To do this, we first need to look at how the intact hand and the intact nervous system encodes this information, and then, to the extent that we can, try to mimic that in a neuroprosthesis [a device that supplants or ... Read more

Related support groups: Spinal Cord Trauma, Chronic Spasticity, Central Nervous System Disorders, Spasticity

Long Spaceflight Seems to Weaken Spinal Muscles

Posted 25 Oct 2016 by

TUESDAY, Oct. 25, 2016 – After months in space, the muscles supporting an astronaut's spine shrink, a new study finds. And, the muscles don't return to normal even after the astronaut is back on Earth for several weeks, researchers from the University of California, San Diego, discovered. But there were no changes in astronauts' spinal disc height, according to the study. The researchers assessed six NASA astronauts who spent four to seven months on the International Space Station. The researchers said the study offers new insight into increased rates of back pain and spinal disc disease among astronauts on long space missions. "These findings run counter to the current scientific thinking about the effects of microgravity on disc swelling," said study author Dr. Douglas Chang. He's an associate professor of orthopedic surgery and chief of physical medicine and rehabilitation service ... Read more

Related support groups: Muscle Pain, Spinal Cord Trauma, Spinal Spasticity

Trauma Patients Not to Blame for Opioid Epidemic: Study

Posted 20 Oct 2016 by

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 19, 2016 – Patients who survived major trauma may not be a significant factor in the U.S. opioid epidemic, a new study suggests. Almost 75 percent of major trauma patients who were prescribed narcotic painkillers such as OxyContin and Percocet had stopped using them a month after leaving the hospital. And only 1 percent were still taking the drugs on a prescription basis a year later, researchers found. "We were really surprised by how low the numbers were for long-term opiate use," study senior investigator Dr. Andrew Schoenfeld said in an American College of Surgeons news release. "It appears that traumatic injury is not a main driver for continued opioid use in patients who were not taking opioids prior to their injuries," said Schoenfeld, an orthopedic surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Misuse of prescription pain drugs has become a serious health ... Read more

Related support groups: Suboxone, Oxycodone, Tramadol, Hydrocodone, Methadone, Percocet, OxyContin, Vicodin, Norco, Fentanyl, Morphine, Codeine, Lortab, Opana, Subutex, Dilaudid, Nucynta, Opana ER, MS Contin, Roxicodone

Brain Chips Help Paralyzed Man Regain Sense of Touch Using Robotic Arm

Posted 13 Oct 2016 by

THURSDAY, Oct. 13, 2016 – Picking up a delicate piece of cake is very different from picking up a sturdy box of cake mix. And that owes to your sense of touch – you know from touching each that one is much more fragile than the other. This has been one of the great hurdles to creating a realistically functioning prosthetic arm, but it's a challenge that researchers in Pittsburgh are starting to overcome. A set of four brain implants – chips half the size of a dress shirt button – have allowed a 30-year-old man to not only control a robot arm but also feel sensations from the individual fingers of the arm, researchers with the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center report. "I can feel just about every finger – it's a really weird sensation," patient Nathan Copeland said about a month after the surgery that implanted the chips. "Sometimes it feels ... Read more

Related support groups: Spinal Cord Trauma, Diagnosis and Investigation

'Brain Training' Helps 8 Paralyzed People Regain Some Movement

Posted 11 Aug 2016 by

THURSDAY, Aug. 11, 2016 – A regimen of brain training has restored partial sensation and muscle control in the legs of eight people paralyzed by spinal cord injuries, researchers report. The step-by-step training appears to jump-start the connection between brain and body through the use of virtual reality walking simulations, specially designed exoskeletons and tactile feedback, said senior researcher Dr. Miguel Nicolelis. He is director of the Duke University Center for Neuroengineering. Weekly training with these machines re-awakened undamaged but unused spinal cord nerves that had survived the car crashes, falls and other accidents that caused paralysis, he said. "These patients didn't have any movement of their limbs and they didn't have any tactile feeling below the level of their injury," Nicolelis said. "After one year of training, half of these patients had to be reclassified ... Read more

Related support groups: Spinal Cord Trauma, Diagnosis and Investigation, Paralytic Disorder

For Aging Blacks, 'Golden Years' Often Marred by Disability

Posted 10 Aug 2016 by

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 10, 2016 – While Americans are living longer than ever, a new study finds there's still an important racial gap in health: Older black people are more likely than older white people to live their final years with disabilities. "In 2011, at age 65, whites could expect to be free of disability for 15 out of their nearly 20 remaining years of life – about three-fourths of the time," said study lead author Vicki Freedman. In contrast, "blacks could expect to live 12 out of 18 years – or about two-thirds of remaining years of life – without disability. The gap was a similar size in 1982," she said. Freedman is a research professor with the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research. It's not clear why this difference exists, but the study authors said older black women seem particularly at risk. "The gaps persisted in part because of the lack of progress for ... Read more

Related support groups: Fracture, bone, Spinal Cord Trauma, Compression Fracture of Vertebral Column, Prevention of Fractures

Better Care Could Cut Deaths From Trauma by 20 Percent: Report

Posted 17 Jun 2016 by

FRIDAY, June 17, 2016 – Improved care could prevent one in every five deaths currently lost to traumatic injuries in the United States, a new federal report finds. Injuries from car crashes, gun violence, falls and other incidents remain the leading cause of death among Americans younger than 46, a committee from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine noted. Trauma's aftermath also costs the United States about $670 billion in medical care and lost productivity in 2013, the group said. And with incidents of domestic and international terrorism and "mass casualty" events increasingly in the spotlight, the United States could learn from the military's response to such incidents, the panel said. "With the decrease in combat and the need to maintain readiness for trauma care between wars, a window of opportunity now exists to integrate military and civilian trauma ... Read more

Related support groups: Head Injury, Fracture, bone, Spinal Cord Trauma, Compression Fracture of Vertebral Column, Radiation Injury of Bone

Early Rehab May Help Spinal Cord Injury Patients

Posted 19 Feb 2016 by

FRIDAY, Feb. 19, 2016 – Beginning rehabilitation soon after a spinal cord injury seems to lead to improvements in functioning for patients, according to a new study. Researchers analyzed data from nearly 4,000 people in the United States who suffered a spinal cord injury between 2000 and 2014. The patients' average age was about 41 and the average time to start rehabilitation was 19 days. Early rehabilitation was associated with better physical functioning when patients left the hospital and during the following year. The study findings were to be presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the Association of Academic Physiatrists, in Sacramento, Calif. "This study shows, following spinal cord injury, patients might benefit from entering inpatient rehabilitation at the earliest, clinically appropriate opportunity," said lead investigator Kurt Herzer, a fellow in the Medical Scientist ... Read more

Related support groups: Spinal Cord Trauma, Heterotopic Ossification - Spinal Cord Injury

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