Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Trading Places

Standing room: Some buses missing half of seats
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Some Port Authority riders have been surprised to board buses this week and find all of the seats missing from the front.

The authority has modified 22 buses to serve next week's 31st National Veterans Wheelchair Games, which is holding ceremonies and events at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown, and venues on the North Shore and in Oakland, Fox Chapel, Jefferson Hills and Whitehall.

Spokesman Jim Ritchie said some of the buses have been needed to fill service in recent days because half of the fleet is going through semiannual inspections and bus shuttles have been needed during work on the Light Rail Transit system and closures of the Monongahela Incline.

The modified buses are being used for regular service only as a last resort, he said.

The wheelchair games are presented by the Paralyzed Veterans of America and Department of Veterans Affairs and hosted by the Keystone Paralyzed Veterans of America and VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. Nearly 600 athletes from 46 states, Puerto Rico and Great Britain will compete from Monday through Saturday.


Disabled Can Do Any Occupation Given the Opportunity

Wheelchair Guy Robs $70K from Bank

Police are searching for a gunman who robbed a bank in a wheelchair disguise.

Detectives say the man rolled into AmTrust Bank near Chandler Boulevard and 40th Street Tuesday morning.

The suspect demanded money from a teller at gunpoint.

The teller complied and he placed the cash it in what appeared to be a laptop bag.

The suspect got away with $70,000.

He was last seen getting out of the wheelchair and running away from the bank.

According to police, witnesses said he may have driven away in a newer model red Ford Taurus.

He was wearing a long-sleeved pinstripe shirt, a tan Fedora hat with a red and blue stripe, jeans and black boots.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic man, about 5' 7" to 5' 9" tall. He has a slim build, weighing about 180 pounds and in his late 20s to early 30s.

Surveillance images have not yet been released.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police or Silent Witness.

Gunman in Wheelchair Robs Phoenix Bank of $70K: MyFoxPHOENIX.com


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lady Gaga Now in a Wheelchair

Miley used a stripper pole for on sex appeal but Gaga uses a wheelchair
She has been criticised for her use of religious symbolism, slammed for some of her song lyrics and had animal rights groups up in arms over her meat dress.

But Lady Gaga might have pushed her critics over the edge last night after she came on stage in Australia in a wheelchair.

The able-bodied star has caused outrage among disability groups after she wheeled herself on in front of 1,000 people at the Sydney Town Hall.
Artistic or a wheely bad joke? Lady Gaga comes on stage in a wheelchair during her concert at the Sydney Town Hall in Australia last night

Artistic or a wheely bad joke? Lady Gaga comes on stage in a wheelchair during her concert at the Sydney Town Hall in Australia last night

Six songs into the ten song set, Gaga went off for a costume change and came on in a wheelchair wearing a PVC mermaid tail before launching into her single You And I.

But although her fans went crazy for the performance, it was met with disapproval from some disability organisations and advocacy groups.

In a statement to RadarOnline, Jesse Billauer, founder of the Life Rolls On Foundation, fumed: 'I haven’t seen Lady Gaga’s performance, but respect her artistic expression as an artist.
Outrage: But this was not the first time Gaga had used a wheelchair as a prop - and she wasn't the first star to do so either

Outrage: But this was not the first time Gaga had used a wheelchair as a prop - and she wasn't the first star to do so either

'Since this isn’t the first time she has used a wheelchair in her performances, I invite her to learn more about the 5.6 million Americans who live with paralysis.

'I extend a personal invitation to Lady Gaga to attend one of our Life Rolls On events where quadriplegics and paraplegics surf, skate, and snowboard, so she can see how much is possible beyond a wheelchair.

'Maybe that will be most shocking to her of all. They, like me, unfortunately, don’t use a wheelchair for shock value.'


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Breathing Restored in SCI Rats

Neuroscientists reported on Wednesday they had made inroads against spinal injury by restoring breathing in lab rats whose key cervical nerves had been severed.

The technique has yet to be tested on humans, but if it works could ease one of the biggest problems for people with catastrophic damage to their spinal cord, they said.

Damage above the fourth cervical vertebra in the neck invariably interrupts breathing. The patient has to be put on a ventilator, and this carries a recurrent danger of respiratory infection.

Under normal circumstances, the rate and depth of breathing are controlled automatically by nerve cells in the brain stem.

To do this, these neurons in turn control specialised motor cells located from the third to the sixth cervical vertebrae.

These cells develop farther down into the so-called phrenic nerve, which causes the muscles of the diaphram to relax and contract and the lungs to fill and empty.

A team led by Jerry Silver, a professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Ohio, report on an experimental way of bridging damage in the key cervical area.

They injured rats' spinal cords at the second cervical level to paralyse one-half of the diaphragm, and grafted in a tiny section of peripheral nerve from the rodents' limbs, attaching it both before and after the damage site.

The idea was to use the peripheral nerve as a bridge on which the precursor cells for the phrenic nerve could grow.

The technique had been tried before but was hampered by molecules which build up at the site of spinal cord injuries and inhibit regrowth of nerves.

To get around this, the researchers injected an enzyme called chondroitinase ABC at both ends of the graft to degrade the inhibitors and open up avenues in the scar tissue through which the nerves could -- hopefully -- grow.

After three months, tests showed that between 80 and 100 percent of breathing function had been restored, a performance that was maintained at the six-month mark.