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

Specially Designed Video Game Might Ease 'Phantom Limb' Pain

Posted 1 day 10 hours ago by Drugs.com

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 Drugs.com

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 Drugs.com

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 Drugs.com

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 Drugs.com

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, Hydrocodone, Methadone, Percocet, Tramadol, OxyContin, Vicodin, Norco, Fentanyl, Morphine, Codeine, Lortab, Opana, Subutex, Dilaudid, Opana ER, Roxicodone, MS Contin, Butrans

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

Posted 13 Oct 2016 by Drugs.com

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 Drugs.com

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 Drugs.com

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 Drugs.com

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 Drugs.com

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

Why Americans Have Shorter Lifespans Than People in Similar Nations

Posted 9 Feb 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Feb. 9, 2016 – Car crashes, shootings and drug overdoses, which cause more than 100,000 deaths a year in the United States, may explain why Americans' life expectancy is lower than in similar countries, a new study suggests. Americans' life expectancy is about two years shorter than residents of Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. For U.S. men, that difference translates into 76.4 years versus 78.6 years, while it means 81.2 years versus 83.4 years for women, the researchers reported. "About 50 percent of the gap for men and about 20 percent for women is due just to those three causes of injury," said lead researcher Andrew Fenelon. He is a senior service fellow at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. Although shootings, car crashes and ... Read more

Related support groups: Infections, Cancer, Major Depressive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Head Injury, Spinal Cord Trauma

Paralyzed Man Walks Using Technology That Bypasses Spinal Cord

Posted 24 Sep 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Sept. 24, 2015 – A paralyzed 26-year-old man has walked for the first time in five years, thanks to an electrical system that connects his brain and legs, bypassing his injured spine, researchers are reporting. The unidentified man is the first person to show that a system like this might help people with a spinal cord injury regain some ability to walk, the researchers said. "The work does offer exciting promise," said Randy Trumbower, an assistant professor in the department of rehabilitation medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, who was not involved with the research. That said, it "must overcome several hurdles before it may be applicable to a broad population of persons with spinal cord injury," he added. Study authors An Do and Zoran Nenadic, both at the University of California, Irvine, said they don't yet know how the system will work in a larger ... Read more

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

Focus on Healthy Backs for Back-to-School

Posted 23 Aug 2015 by Drugs.com

SATURDAY, Aug. 22, 2015 – With the new school year here, parents might think about measures to protect their children's spinal health, an expert says. "Parents should be attentive to the amount of time children devote to their devices, be sure they are using their backpacks appropriately, and take any complaint of back pain seriously," said Dr. Hargovind Dewal, an orthopedic surgeon with Long Island Spine Specialists and the Peconic Bay Medical Center in New York. Limit backpack weight to 10 to 15 percent of the child's body weight, he advised. For example, the backpack of a 100-pound child should weigh no more than 10 to 15 pounds, he said. Using both shoulder straps will evenly distribute the weight of the backpack, keep the weight close to the body, and help the spine stay aligned, he added. Research shows that for every inch the head tilts forward, pressure on the spine doubles, ... Read more

Related support groups: Back Pain, Sciatica, Herniated Disc, Scoliosis, Spinal Cord Trauma

Noninvasive Stimulation Gets Legs Moving After Spinal Cord Injury

Posted 31 Jul 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, July 31, 2015 – A noninvasive procedure might help people with paralysis move their legs without the need for surgery or implanted devices, new research suggests. The treatment approach is called transcutaneous stimulation, where a device delivers an electrical current to the spine through electrodes placed on the outside of the lower back. In a recent trial of the device, five paralyzed men were able to generate steplike movements. The men didn't walk, but moved while their legs were suspended in braces hung from the ceiling. This enabled them to move without resistance from gravity. "These encouraging results provide continued evidence that spinal cord injury may no longer mean a lifelong sentence of paralysis, and support the need for more research," Dr. Roderic Pettigrew, director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, said in an institute news ... Read more

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

Rugby Takes Toll on Spine, Scans Show

Posted 21 Jul 2015 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, July 21, 2015 – Retired professional rugby players have more symptoms of cervical spine degeneration than those who don't play the sport, a new study finds. French researchers compared 101 men, aged 35 to 47, who were retired professional rugby players with a control group of 85 people of similar ages who never played a professional sport. "A few years after the end of their careers, professional rugby players seem to have more degenerative symptoms and lesions on the cervical spine. These symptoms are exceptionally disabling [3 of 101 cases in this study," said study author Dr. David Brauge. The former rugby players reported chronic neck pain and reduced neck mobility far more often than those in the control group – more than 50 percent versus nearly 32 percent. However, both groups had similar levels of pain in an evaluation of neck pain. MRI scans showed that the former ... Read more

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

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