Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Frogs and Salt to Cure Spinal Cord Injury

People with severed limbs, spinal cord injuries and other traumatic wounds may someday be able to regrow lost nerves and tissue with the help of sodium, a new study suggests.

By using drugs to prompt a flood of sodium ions into injured nerve cells, biologists from Tufts University were able to regenerate severed tadpole tails — complex appendages containing spinal cord, muscle and other tissue. The study was published Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience.

"We certainly feel this will be relevant for human medicine," said lead researcher Michael Levin, the director of the Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology at Tufts. "The name of the game is to control the ionic content of the wound, which is able to kick-start the whole process of regeneration. You can initiate the whole cascade of repair."

Like humans, who can regrow fingertips only as children, tadpoles lose the ability to regenerate their tails with age, the researchers said. In this study, so-called refractory tadpoles, which normally cannot regrow their tails, began growing a duplicate after an hour-long infusion of a specific combination of drugs.

The frog tail is a good model for human regeneration, Levin said, because it repairs injury in the same way, with each tissue making more of itself. Tail regeneration takes about seven days for both young and sodium-treated refractory tadpoles, he said.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Poor Poor Lady - Next Time Don't Park in the Handicapped Spot

Lost Lexus

Martena Clinton drove to the Congressional Black Caucus dinner at the Washington Convention Center on Saturday with high expectations. A friend had arranged a ticket, and Clinton wore a special diamond pendant over her black dress. She parked in a handicapped spot close to the intersection of 9th Street and Mount Vernon Place and glanced in the mirror. She decided the diamond pendant didn't go with her dress, took it off and put it in a console.

She displayed a handicapped tag prominently, locked her car and checked with a police officer who happened to be parked right behind her. He assured her the spot was legal. Clinton put her credit cards, cash and makeup in a pocketbook and left it in the trunk, carrying a small purse into the dinner. It was 5:30 p.m.

When she emerged from the dinner at 11:30 p.m., her black 1994 Lexus was gone.

The police officer who responded to Clinton's distressed call told her that the Secret Service had done what many Washingtonians have grown begrudgingly used to:

They ordered numerous cars removed from the area as a security precaution because President Obama was speaking at the dinner.

It should have been simple for Clinton to find her car - police told her that relocated vehicles are typically towed to different spots within a few blocks - but this time police had not kept track of where they had moved it. The Lexus was lost.

District police searched for the car for two hours Saturday night, circling the neighborhood again and again. Clinton, who is a travel consultant, and Gardine Tiggle, the friend who invited her to the dinner, waited at the spot immediately outside the convention center where Clinton had parked the Lexus. Clinton has the handicapped tag because her husband suffered a stroke.

By 1:30 a.m., police had searched a one-mile radius of the convention center and found not a trace of the car.

Embarrassed about the missing vehicle, an officer called area hotels and helped Clinton find a room for the night. On Sunday morning, police resumed the search. Still nothing.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rugby Spinal Cord Injuries Decline in Scotland

A rise in the spinal injury incidence rate in school rugby in Scotland appears to have been stopped after new rules were brought in.

The Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) was concerned that the number of schoolboys suffering spinal injuries was on the rise after seven incidents in the space of three years.

Since the rule changes were brought in last year, there have been no serious spinal injuries among schoolboy players.

The rules prevent boys aged under 16 years from playing in under-17 and under-18-level matches.

In addition, all coaches, teachers and referees now have to undergo a safety training course.

The outcomes of the rule changes are to be presented at the British Orthopaedic Association Congress in Glasgow later this week.

Scotland international rugby star Thom Evans was forced to retire from the game recently after her sustained a severe spinal injury in a collision with Wales player Lee Byrne.


New Trend of Pole Dancing Leading to Spinal Cord Injury

If you thought the only danger in pole dancing was std you were wrong.

A MOTHER-OF-TWO from York has been left paralysed after a freak accident during a pole-dancing exercise class.

Debbie Plowman, 32, of Haxby, suffered devastating injuries when she fell, breaking her neck and severely damaging her spinal cord.

After initial neck and head immobilisation at York Hospital, she was transferred to Hull Royal Infirmary for specialist care and surgery on her spine and head.

She was then transferred by air ambulance to the spinal injury unit at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield, where she remains on a ventilator to enable her to breathe. At the moment, she is struggling to communicate and is doing so through a computer that tracks her eye movements.

Debbie is hoping to move closer to home next month through a transfer to the Lascelles neurological rehabilitations unit in Harrogate, where she is likely to remain for another six months.

Now her plight has inspired a massive fund-raising drive by relatives and friends, including a Three Peaks walk, a sports dinner at York Racecourse this autumn and a sponsored ascent of Kilimanjaro next autumn. Money raised will go to a Trust fund being set up to help Debbie, and also for Spinal Research UK.

Debbie, who worked at the Tesco store at Clifton Moor and has two young children, Jack, five, and Ruby, two, had been doing pole-dancing exercise classes for two years before the accident happened.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Good News: Brain Controlled Wheelchair

Bad: You must be bald and wear a silly white hat

The smart researchers over at the EPFL in Switzerland have come up with a cool brain-controlled wheelchair. This wheelchair will rely on EEG readings to detect specific brain patterns and when combined with artificial intelligence will allow for shared control of the wheelchair. The artificial intelligence will get input from a pair of cameras and some image processing software which is capable of differentiating between different types of objects, helping the wheelchair avoid obstacles.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Spinal Cord for Spinal Cord?

A judge in Saudi Arabia is considering paralyzing a criminal as a punishment. More than two years ago Abdul-Aziz al-Mutairi was attacked and paralyzed. He eventually lost his foot as a result of his injuries.

Paralyzing Considered Equivalent Punishment Under Islamic Law

The victim has implored the judge named Saoud bi Suleiman al-Youssef, to invoke an equivalent punishment, which is available under Islamic law according to Yahoo News. The judge began his research into the issue of paralyzing the criminal by calling area hospitals to find out if such an injury as a punishment is possible. At least one hospital declined, but another told the judge that it could be done, but that it must be at a different hospital.

Judges in Saudi Arabia often invoke an eye for an eye punishment. However, King Abdullah has tried to put a stop this type of extreme punishment. Right now Saudi Arabia is actually trying to modernize the country, but these types of old fashioned punishments seem out of sync with the modern world.

An Eye for an Eye?

One of the reasons the victim and his family are asking for the ancient type of punishment is because the attacker, who has not been identified, was sentenced to 14 months in prison, but he was released after seven months. Now, the attacker is a school teacher. Obviously this punishment seems too short. However, the punishment that has been requested is unbelievably extreme. The family of the victim is so committed to the attacker getting an eye for an eye type punishment, that they are willing to send the man abroad to receive the punishment.

If this type of punishment actually happens, it is against international conventions and standards for human rights. It is unbelievable. Of course the victim deserves justice, but this extreme request is way too far. Other extreme punishments have been carried out such as teeth pulled out for a criminal who had smashed out somebody else’s teeth. Also, a person was sentenced to blindness after causing another person to become blind. This is unbelievable -- seriously and completely unbelievable.