Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bionic Legs

"1, 2, 3 stand," said John Greer's physical therapist.

It's providing hope.

"In over 20 years I never walk and for the first hour I got up and walking it's pretty incredible," said John Greer.

We met John and his wife Chris Greer last November.

They are paraplegics raising an able-bodied child in Dylan.

Both were involved in traffic accidents as young adults.

John is a Castle High School graduate. He was 19 when the truck he was riding in flipped.

Chris is from the United Kingdom and was on the back of a motorcycle when it crashed. She suffered a broken back. She was 20.

They haven't walked since, until now.

"I'm always optimistic so I would think that one day I would bust out of these braces I'd be running and somebody will say run Forest run!" said John.

Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific is one of the 10 leading rehab hospitals in the country. It has partnered with Berkeley Bionics to conduct trials on eLEGS Pro, a wearable, battery-powered exoskeleton that allows wheelchair users to stand and walk.

"Within these four walls we have really one of the best rehab center in the world," said Berkeley Bionics CEO, Eythor Bender.

John and Chris were the first to try it.

"To actually move and take steps, yeah indescribable and it's been a long time since I've done that and it's almost like being a baby again when you retrain yourself," said Chris. "You know to shift your weight and starting all over again but amazing, amazing feeling."


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Diving Injuries Increasing

Lynne and Julian Lamoureux have been through a nightmare.

The parents of three from Dwight, Ont., spent the last month in Toronto by their son’s hospital bedside.

Bradon Lamoureux, 23, was swimming with friends on July 21 in the Lake-of-Bays area when he dove through a Hula Hoop headfirst into about a metre of shallow water. Bradon’s chin hit first and he severed his spinal cord and damaged his vertebrae from C3 to T1, leaving him a quadriplegic.

“We’re taking it day-by-day,” Lynne, 53, said. “He has a little bit of shoulder movement. We’re hoping to strengthen his diaphragm muscles so he can breathe on his own.”

Bradon is one of seven young people in their 20s and 30s who have been treated at St. Michael’s Hospital for diving-related spinal cord injuries since May.

Dr. Michael Cusimano, a neurosurgeon and director of St. Mike’s Injury Prevention Research Centre, said during the past decade there was only one diving-related spinal cord injury per year.

“For the nine years before this year we only had nine patients and for three years we had none. Now this summer we’ve had seven catastrophic spinal cord injuries, which have rendered young, healthy people quadriplegics and changed their lives drastically,” Cusimano said.

“It’s very tragic and alarming and our staff as well, have to deal with patients trying to get their lives back together again. Young people think they are invincible and it’s not going to happen to them,” Cusimano said.

Cusimano said the increase in diving-related spinal cord injuries could be related to the warm weather we’ve been enjoying, and unwise choices.

“Unfortunately, the vast majority of diving accidents are preventable. People need to know the risks and we need to raise awareness that this problem is happening,” Cusimano said.

“There’s a large number of people who underestimate the depth of water or are unfamiliar with the depth of water. People should jump in feet first or walk in and see that there’s no rocks or sharp objects and that the water is twice the height of a diver with a minimum of nine feet,” Cusimano said, adding alcohol and swimming also do not mix.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Look Younger and Pee: Is Botox for Me?

Urinary incontinence in spinal cord injury patients could be treated using Botox, new evidence suggests.

Allergen Inc has announced that the Irish Medicines Board supports the use of this treatment to treat urinary incontinence in spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis patients.

Many patients with these conditions have neurogenic detrusor overactivity, meaning their bladders contract during the filling stage, when they should be relaxed.

Injecting Botox into the bladder muscle causes the involuntary contractions to subside, increasing bladder activity and cutting urinary leaking incidents.

Douglas Ingram, chief executive officer of European Allergan, said: "For many people with spinal cord injury or multiple sclerosis, gaining effective control over their bladder and staying dry can be a significant step towards improving daily functioning and overall quality of life."