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Category Archives: Spinal Cord Injury Treatment

Researchers Provide the First Evidence That a New Kind of Paralysis Treatment Is Effective – Futurism

Posted: June 27, 2017 at 5:47 am

In Brief A new study has revealed the potential for cortical targets to improve motor function in those struggling with paralysis. Cortical targets are relatively unexplored territory for treatment, so building off this research could lead to even more exciting discoveries. A New Target

Monica A. Perez, P.T., Ph. D. and her colleagues at the University of Miami have produced the first evidence that cortical targets could improve motor function in patients who are paralyzed, specifically by spinal cord injury (SCI). The results of their studyhave been published in Brain.

In previous treatments and studies, sites within the central nervous system have been targeted to try to improve motor function. However, whether or not cortical targets areas on the outer layer of the brains cerebrum could improve motor function in patients was unknown.

To explore this potential relationship, the research group noninvasively stimulated the area using magnets. They found that, after this stimulation, the finger muscles of thosewith SCI exerted more force and produced more electromyographic activity, and the patients ability to grasp objects with their hands wassignificantly improved.

Dr. Jonathan R. Wolpaw, M.D. Director of the National Center for Adaptive Neurotechnologies Albany, New York, sees great promise in Perezs groups research.

This study is a major contribution to the realization of a powerful new class of rehabilitation therapies that can target beneficial plasticity to crucial sites in the nervous system, he said in a news release from The Miami Project. By taking advantage of recent scientific and technical advances, Dr. Perezs group produced beneficial change in the cortical circuitry and spinal connections underlying voluntary movement.

This study could be a game-changer for those paralyzed or otherwise coping with SCI. Cortical targets are relatively unexplored territory as far as treatment options are concerned, so asfurther studies are conducted, newways to improve motor function in paralyzed patients could emerge.

Even beyond that, we could learn new information on howcertain cortical targets could be related to motor function in general, and the more we learn about how our brains function, the closer we come to being able to treat all neurological disorders and create advanced brain computer interfaces (BCIs), mind-controlled exoskeletons, and other technologies.

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Global Spine Biologics Market 2016 Industry Analysis & Forecast 2024 – The Legman News

Posted: June 26, 2017 at 10:51 am

Spine Biologics Market

Zion Market Research, the market research group announced the analysis report titled Spine Biologics Market: Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecasts 20162024

Global Spine Biologics Market: Overview

Spine biologics is a treatment that is used during the spine fusion surgery for the treatment of spinal deformities that include spinal cord injuries, trauma, degenerative disc disease, and tumors. It stimulates the growth of the bone formation through different stages which include inflammatory, repair, and remodeling. Spine biologics are used in the treatment of symptomatic deformity to achieve successful arthrodesis. Spine biologics is a minimally invasive method and it requires less time as compared to that of open surgical procedures. Request Free Sample Report @https://www.zionmarketresearch.com/sample/spine-biologics-market

Global Spine Biologics Market: Growth Factors

Major factors that are driving the spine biologics market growth include a rise in the number of geriatric population, benefits provided by spine biologics is faster recovery, minimal postoperative time, and ability to activate cellular growth. Spinal disorders are most common in men and women over 50 years. Spinal injuries can be due to the enlargement of bones & joints, thickening of the band of the tissue, which supports the spine. This is the key factor that is fuelling the market growth in the coming years. People who are at the high risk of spinal deformities need to undergo spinal fusion surgery thus increasing its demand in the global market. However, higher cost of the bone grafts, hostile reimbursement scenario, and concerns regarding the bone grafting procedures is expected to hamper the global spine biologics market growth.

Global Spine Biologics Market: Segmentation

The spine biologics market is segmented on the basis of product, surgery, and region. The product segment is classified into the cell based matrix, spinal allografts, platelet rich plasma, and bone graft substitutes. The spinal allografts segment is sub-segmented into the demineralized bone matrix and machined bones allograft. The bone graft substitute is sub-segmented into synthetic bone grafts and bone morphogenetic proteins. Depending on the surgery, the market is divided into anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, lateral lumbar interbody fusion, transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion, anterior lumbar interbody fusion, and other surgeries. The region wise breakdown of the market includes North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa.

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Global Spine Biologics Market: Regional Analysis

North America contributed the largest market share in the global spine biologics market due to stable economic growth. North America is followed by Europe. Other factors influencing the market are an increase in the disposal income, growing population, improved medical literacy, and raising awareness regarding newly developed technologies. Spine biologics have a tremendous demand from the regions of America owing to the advancement in the technology and large pool of the patients. The market in Asia Pacific is experiencing growth in the market owing to increase in the patient pool, advanced rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis procedure, availability of the sophisticated diagnostic technique, and growing awareness among the people. Emerging economies such as China, India, Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam are supporting the market due to economic growth, high prevalence, fast disease progression, improving healthcare facility, and insurance coverage.

Global Spine Biologics Market: Competitive Players

Major companies operating in the global spine biologics market are Exactech, Inc., Alphatec Holdings, Inc., Globus Medical, Depuy Synthes, Inc., and Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. Other prominent players include RTI Surgical, Inc., Medtronic Plc., Xtant Medical., Orthofix International N.V., NuVasive, Inc., Nutech, SeaSpine, and Life Spine, Inc.

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Global Spine Biologics Market by Regional Segment Analysis: North America (U.S.); Europe(UK, France, Germany); Asia-Pacific(China, Japan, India); Latin America(Brazil); The Middle East and Africa

Our value reports provide full, in-depth analysis of the parent market including most significant changes in market dynamics; the report also presents a detailed overview on segmentation of this market. We managed to present as many important information in essential form thanks to our report You will learn more about former, on-going, and projected market analysis in terms of volume and value, assessment of niche industry developments and Market share analysis. We have not forgotten to present key strategies for major players, emerging segments and regional markets and last but not least, testimonials to companies in order to fortify their foothold in the market.

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Global Spine Biologics Market 2016 Industry Analysis & Forecast 2024 – The Legman News

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Urinary catheter-associated microbiota change in accordance with treatment and infection status. – UroToday

Posted: at 10:51 am

The use of long-term catheterisation to manage insensate bladders, often associated with spinal cord injury (SCI), increases the risk of microbial colonisation and infection of the urinary tract. Urinary tract infection (UTI) is typically diagnosed and treated based on the culturing of organisms from the urine, although this approach overlooks low titer, slow growing and non-traditional pathogens. Here, we present an investigation of the urinary tract microbiome in catheterised SCI individuals, using T-RFLP and metagenomic sequencing of the microbial community. We monitored three neurogenic patients over a period of 12 months, who were part of a larger study investigating the efficacy of probiotics in controlling UTIs, to determine how their urinary tract microbial community composition changed over time and in relation to probiotic treatment regimens. Bacterial biofilms adherent to urinary catheters were examined as a proxy for bladder microbes. The microbial community composition of the urinary tract differed significantly between individuals. Probiotic therapy resulted in a significant change in the microbial community associated with the catheters. The community also changed as a consequence of UTI and this shift in community composition preceded the clinical diagnosis of infection. Changes in the microbiota due to probiotic treatment or infection were transient, resolving to microbial communities similar to their pre-treatment communities, suggesting that the native community was highly resilient. Based on these results, we propose that monitoring a patient’s microbial community can be used to track the health of chronically catheterized patients and thus, can be used as part of a health-status monitoring program.

PloS one. 2017 Jun 19*** epublish ***

Laetitia Bossa, Kimberly Kline, Diane McDougald, Bonsan Bonne Lee, Scott A Rice

Neuroscience Research Australia (NEURA), Sydney, New South Wales, Australia., The Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering, The School of Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28628622

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Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford has special unit to treat adolescents with spinal cord injuries – Torrington Register Citizen

Posted: at 10:51 am

WALLINGFORD >> Even in a hospital floor full of nurses, a mother of a teenager recovering from a spinal cord or brain injury never wants to be far away.

I can hear mom in my sleep, said Shirleyann Pompea, whose daughter fractured her neck and injured her spinal cord in April. I can get there before the call bell.

Pompeas daughter, Janelle, lived at Gaylord Specialty Healthcare for close to two months while she recovered from the injuries she suffered in a car accident in Redding. And every night of her stay in Wallingford, Pompea or her husband, have been right next door.

For the 49 days shes been here, weve been here, Pompea said on a recent day her daughter was set to finally go home.

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The Adolescent Spinal Cord Injury Unit at the Gaylord Hospital was recently recognized by the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerces Health Care Council for its innovative approach to caring for teenagers and their families. Gaylord Specialty Healthcare/Gaylord Hospital serves approximately 1,400 inpatients and 6,000 outpatients every year. The hospital specializes in care for complex injuries where patients require intensive rehabilitation.

The Adolescent Spinal Cord Injury Unit opened last spring and is complete with two family suites that allow parents or other family to sleep right next door to the patient. Kimberly Thompson, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said someone is always waiting to fill a suite as soon as it empties.

The two rooms of the suite are connected by bathrooms, so theres no need to go into a hospital hallway in the middle of the night if the patient needs something, Thompson said.

Youve already had something traumatic happen to your family, Thompson said. The family suites were created to help limit further trauma by letting parents be nearby, she said.

In addition, each patient in the unit has access to Wi-Fi and a Netflix subscription. Theres a game room called The Loft complete with video games, board games, and extra chairs for visiting friends.

Pompea said she and her husband, and sometimes their older sons, took turns staying overnight in the suite so their 16-year-old daughter would never be alone there overnight. Having easy access to their daughter and a place to stay was invaluable for them as a family, especially given her length of stay at the hospital, Pompea said.

Prior to moving into Gaylord Hospital, their daughter spent the 11 days immediately after her car accident in an Intensive Care Unit in New Haven followed by nine days in a burn unit in Bridgeport. Prior to coming to Wallingford, family members had to stay in nearby hotels and couldnt be with her all the time.

The most important thing was keeping her in good spirits, Pompea said. Having that adolescent room, you cant go wrong.

Being able to stay right next door helped Pompea be able to help her daughter get ready for bed each night, and dressed and ready each morning. The comfort of the suite allowed her to stay up and watch television with her daughter until she was ready to go to sleep, paint her nails to keep her spirits up, or even hold pizza parties for her friends

Were definitely catering to (the teenager) population now more than ever, said Heather Hancort, a nurse manager on the adolescent brain and spinal cord unit at Gaylord Hospital. Now, were able to properly care for the patients and their families.

An aspiring interior decorator or event planner, Janelle Pompea said she also spent time to decorate her room and make it feel like her own.

I didnt feel like I was in a hospital, she said. I was not claustrophobic or like I wanted to get out or anything.

But, she also made sure she wasnt spending too much time there. She liked to keep her days full at the hospital, scheduling therapy sessions or time in the gym as often as she could so her days were packed and she avoided just sitting in her room.

Ive wanted to be busy, she said. I was trying to get as much in as possible.

Though Pompea left the hospital, she said she would be back to continue outpatient therapy. Pompea has limited arm mobility, her left arm must stay in a sling, and she still wears a neck brace. Of the seven teenagers that were piled into the car that crashed in April, all without seatbelts on, Pompea is the last to be leaving a hospital.

Since being at Gaylord Hospital, Pompea said she was grateful to have her mom right next door in case she needed anything, especially in the middle of the night.

I prefer my mom helping me, because shes my mom, she said. She kept my company.

Pompeas mom would even scroll through her iPad for her in the evenings when she wanted to use it. At least she did until Pompea learned to use her feet to do it on her own.

As for advice for other teenagers who might find themselves in the brain injury and spinal cord unit of a hospital, Pompea said its always best to think positively.

On the bright side, youre alive, she said. I probably wouldve died if no one was there to get us out of the car.

While she finally got to go home from Gaylord Hospital, 69 days after the accident, Pompea has another countdown going.

On July 12, shell finally get to remove her neck brace, another milestone to look forward to in her long road to recovery.

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Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford has special unit to treat adolescents with spinal cord injuries – Torrington Register Citizen

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Scots researchers lead drive for new generation of Multiple Sclerosis drug – Herald Scotland

Posted: June 25, 2017 at 9:43 pm

RESEARCHERS in Scotland are leading the drive to develop a new generation of multiple sclerosis drugs designed to reverse symptoms in patients with more advanced disability.

The only MS drugs currently available treat the earlier, inflammatory stages of the disease and cannot repair the nerve damage which causes problems with speech and mobility.

However, scientists in Edinburgh and Glasgow are now leading projects funded by MS Society Scotland which they hope will eventually produce treatments which can repair myelin – the protective sheath around nerve cells which is destroyed in MS.

Dr Anna Williams, a neurologist at Edinburgh University’s Centre for Regenerative Medicine, said: “Myelin is like the insulation on wires – it’s there to make your nerves conduct electricity better. If it comes off, your nerves don’t conduct electricity well so you might want to move your leg but find it more difficult to do so because the electrical impulse isn’t being transmitted properly from the brain to the muscle. In the longer term if the myelin isn’t there then the nerve itself dies and people get stuck with disability.

“What we want to do is persuade the brain to put the myelin back on these nerves and stop them from dying.”

The three-year project is focused on a protein called fractalkine which appears to guide repairs in the brain by first attracting macrophage cells to damaged areas to “hoover up the mess” and then instructs oligodendrocytes – the cells which carry out myelin repair – to get to work.

The scientists will analyse samples of brain tissue donated by deceased MS patients to test their theory.

“If one lesion has a lot of fractalkine then we would expect to find a lot of ‘repair cells’ as well, and ones that ones with less fractalkine would have fewer,” said Dr Williams. “If so, that will give us an indication of whether fractalkine is important in humans.”

The scientists will then attempt to use fractalkine to repair myelin in mice brains designed to simulate MS. Although fractalkine occurs naturally in humans and there is evidence that some myelin repair already takes place, it always stalls before the repair is complete. The scientists hope that by gaining a better understanding of the protein, they will eventually pave the way to a drug which can either mimic the effect of fractalkine or encourage it to work more effectively – thereby promoting myelin repair and preventing nerve cell death, a major breakthrough for MS patients.

Meanwhile, researchers in Glasgow, Liverpool and Munich are looking at how a chemical better known for its blood thinning properties could also offer clues to myelin repair.

The study is using heparin – a type of sugar normally associated with breaking down clots – but which has been modified instead to block a type of scarring response associated with MS and other nervous system damage, including spinal cord injuries. The team found that when these modified heparins were added to cell cultures in the lab designed to mimic MS, they encouraged myelin repair.

The next phase will test the response directly in mice which have been fed cuprizone, a toxin which will trigger the destruction of myelin in the rodents’ brains. Once this has been achieved, the modified heparin will be administered to the mice either by an IV drip or directly by injections into the affected regions of the brain.

Afterwards the tissue will be dissected to assess whether the myelin has been restored.

Sue Barnett, professor of cellular neuroscience at Glasgow University, said: “If we can keep nerves in MS patients myelinated for longer then it might have some consequence on the progression of the disease. It could alleviate symptoms.”

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Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford has special unit to treat adolescents with spinal cord injuries – New Haven Register

Posted: at 9:43 pm

WALLINGFORD >> Even in a hospital floor full of nurses, a mother of a teenager recovering from a spinal cord or brain injury never wants to be far away.

I can hear mom in my sleep, said Shirleyann Pompea, whose daughter fractured her neck and injured her spinal cord in April. I can get there before the call bell.

Pompeas daughter, Janelle, lived at Gaylord Specialty Healthcare for close to two months while she recovered from the injuries she suffered in a car accident in Redding. And every night of her stay in Wallingford, Pompea or her husband, have been right next door.

For the 49 days shes been here, weve been here, Pompea said on a recent day her daughter was set to finally go home.

Advertisement

The Adolescent Spinal Cord Injury Unit at the Gaylord Hospital was recently recognized by the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerces Health Care Council for its innovative approach to caring for teenagers and their families. Gaylord Specialty Healthcare/Gaylord Hospital serves approximately 1,400 inpatients and 6,000 outpatients every year. The hospital specializes in care for complex injuries where patients require intensive rehabilitation.

The Adolescent Spinal Cord Injury Unit opened last spring and is complete with two family suites that allow parents or other family to sleep right next door to the patient. Kimberly Thompson, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said someone is always waiting to fill a suite as soon as it empties.

The two rooms of the suite are connected by bathrooms, so theres no need to go into a hospital hallway in the middle of the night if the patient needs something, Thompson said.

Youve already had something traumatic happen to your family, Thompson said. The family suites were created to help limit further trauma by letting parents be nearby, she said.

In addition, each patient in the unit has access to Wi-Fi and a Netflix subscription. Theres a game room called The Loft complete with video games, board games, and extra chairs for visiting friends.

Pompea said she and her husband, and sometimes their older sons, took turns staying overnight in the suite so their 16-year-old daughter would never be alone there overnight. Having easy access to their daughter and a place to stay was invaluable for them as a family, especially given her length of stay at the hospital, Pompea said.

Prior to moving into Gaylord Hospital, their daughter spent the 11 days immediately after her car accident in an Intensive Care Unit in New Haven followed by nine days in a burn unit in Bridgeport. Prior to coming to Wallingford, family members had to stay in nearby hotels and couldnt be with her all the time.

The most important thing was keeping her in good spirits, Pompea said. Having that adolescent room, you cant go wrong.

Being able to stay right next door helped Pompea be able to help her daughter get ready for bed each night, and dressed and ready each morning. The comfort of the suite allowed her to stay up and watch television with her daughter until she was ready to go to sleep, paint her nails to keep her spirits up, or even hold pizza parties for her friends

Were definitely catering to (the teenager) population now more than ever, said Heather Hancort, a nurse manager on the adolescent brain and spinal cord unit at Gaylord Hospital. Now, were able to properly care for the patients and their families.

An aspiring interior decorator or event planner, Janelle Pompea said she also spent time to decorate her room and make it feel like her own.

I didnt feel like I was in a hospital, she said. I was not claustrophobic or like I wanted to get out or anything.

But, she also made sure she wasnt spending too much time there. She liked to keep her days full at the hospital, scheduling therapy sessions or time in the gym as often as she could so her days were packed and she avoided just sitting in her room.

Ive wanted to be busy, she said. I was trying to get as much in as possible.

Though Pompea left the hospital, she said she would be back to continue outpatient therapy. Pompea has limited arm mobility, her left arm must stay in a sling, and she still wears a neck brace. Of the seven teenagers that were piled into the car that crashed in April, all without seatbelts on, Pompea is the last to be leaving a hospital.

Since being at Gaylord Hospital, Pompea said she was grateful to have her mom right next door in case she needed anything, especially in the middle of the night.

I prefer my mom helping me, because shes my mom, she said. She kept my company.

Pompeas mom would even scroll through her iPad for her in the evenings when she wanted to use it. At least she did until Pompea learned to use her feet to do it on her own.

As for advice for other teenagers who might find themselves in the brain injury and spinal cord unit of a hospital, Pompea said its always best to think positively.

On the bright side, youre alive, she said. I probably wouldve died if no one was there to get us out of the car.

While she finally got to go home from Gaylord Hospital, 69 days after the accident, Pompea has another countdown going.

On July 12, shell finally get to remove her neck brace, another milestone to look forward to in her long road to recovery.

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Survivor of Kalamazoo bike crash participating in first 80-mile ride – Fox17

Posted: June 24, 2017 at 8:47 am

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — One of the survivors of the deadly Kalamazoo bike crash tragedyis set to be one of the thousands of bicyclists participating in the Gran Fondo bike event Saturday in Grand Rapids.

Paul Gobble suffered from a head injury, spinal cord damage, and a fractured fibula in the crash last Junewhen an erratic driver drove into the group of bicyclists called ‘Chain Gang’ killing five people.

Since that crash Gobble has been working with professionals at Mary Free Bed Hospital to recover.

It will mark completion of a full circle for me, Paul said. Im looking forward to that ride.

The 80 mile ride today will be his first.

Ive never done an 80-mile ride before, so Im a little nervous about it, Gobble said. But what better way to tackle the challenge than to do it alongside your very own Mary Free Bed physical therapist? I just cant say enough about how thankful I am for Mary Free Bed.

He says if there is one thing he wants people to know it`s to wear a helmet when riding your bike.

Even if you are a very safe rider and youre not riding hard for sport, you need a helmet in case someone else makes a mistake, he said. The day I was struck by a truck on the road while cycling, I did a lot of things right to keep me safe. But the only thing I did that really helped me, that saved my life, was to put on my helmet before I started to ride.

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UT Health San Antonio Partners With Chinese Company For Millions – Texas Public Radio

Posted: at 8:47 am

UT Health San Antonio has entered into a licensing agreement with a Chinese pharmaceutical company that translates into millions of dollars. Its the most financially significant deal of its kind in the universitys history.

In a lab at UT Health San Antonio, scientists are working on new therapies for devastating medical conditions — specifically spinal cord injuries and breast cancer that has spread to the bone.

Now, that promising research is going global. The university signed two licensing agreements with CSPS Pharmaceutical Group, one of the top therapeutic brands in China. A subsidiary, Alamab, will locate in San Antonio, building on biologic therapies targeting these bone-related health issues.

“These biologics will be developed into novel, first in class therapies,” explained UT Health San Antonio President William Henrich, MD. “Should these agents prove successful, then the prospect of mitigating or even curing these debilitating conditions becomes possible.”

UT Regent Board Member Rad Weaver says discoveries made in labs here are grabbing national and international attention. “The UT System ranks eighth in patents issued in 2016,” Weaver said. “Of the 162 patents granted last year, ten were here at UT Health San Antonio.”

Bioscience start-up Alamab is paying an initial $4.5 million to license these new technologies. If the biologic therapies are approved for sale and marketed, UT Health could earn up to $114 million.

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New York Senate passes bill allowing medical marijuana to treat PTSD – New York Daily News

Posted: June 22, 2017 at 2:46 pm

N.Y. Senate approves medical marijuana as PTSD treatment

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Updated: Tuesday, June 20, 2017, 3:56 PM

ALBANY The GOP-controlled state Senate on Tuesday easily approved legislation that allows medical marijuana to be used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

Patients in New York State should have the option to try what works for them, Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island), the bill’s sponsor, told the The Daily News.

The Senate voted 50-13 in favor of the measure despite arguments from some critics, including Sen. Thomas Croci, (R-Suffolk County), chair of the Senates veterans committee, that there was not enough evidence that medical marijuana was effective in treating PTSD.

I think we are premature, Crocci said during the debate.

Medical marijuana could help vets: VA secretary

The Senates approval means the bill now heads to Gov. Cuomos desk, where its fate is uncertain.

Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for the governor, said Cuomo will review the legislation.

The Democrat-controlled Assembly passed the measure earlier this year and Savino, with the backing of veterans’ advocates, had been pressing the Senate to follow suit.

“I think it is time that we start taking care of the people that have PTSD,” Bob Becker, legislative chairman of the State Council of Veterans Organizations told The Daily News earlier this month.

Currently, medical marijuana can be used in New York to treat only a handful of serious illnesses and conditions, including cancer, HIV and AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, epilepsy, some spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis. In December, the state added chronic pain to the list of conditions.

The Legisaltures move to add PTSD to the list of ailments comes as medical marijuana is coming under greater scrutiny at the federal level. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is vehement opponent of marijuana use.

Meanwhile, U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said earlier this month that medical marijuana could help veterans and suggested the VA will look into studying what effects medical marijuana is having on veterans in states where it’s legal.

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Spinal Cord Injury: Levels, Symptoms & Treatment

Posted: June 18, 2017 at 2:46 am

Shown here is the nervous system, containing the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves.

A spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage to any part of the spinal cord, the bundle of nerves that runs from the brain down the vertebral column, or disease.

“Spinal cord injury is basically any trauma to thespinal cordthat interrupts the flow of [electrical] information from the brain to wherever the nerves are going,” said Dr. Salvatore Insinga,chief of neurosurgery at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, New York.

The injury can prevent motor signals from reaching the muscles, resulting in paralysis, or sensory information from reaching the brain. “Its a two-way conduit,” Insinga told Live Science.

The occurrence of spinal cord injury among survivors is about 40 cases per million in the United States, or about 12,000 new cases per year, according to a 2013 report by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC). An estimated 273,000 people are living with spinal cord injury in the United States, in a range from 238,000 to 332,000.

About 80 percent of spinal cord injuries reported to the national database happen in men. Nearly half of all injuries occur in young people between the ages of 16 and 30, but the average age of injury has steadily increased since the 1970s, to 42.6 years since 2010.

Motor vehicle accidents account for 36.6 percent of spinal cord injuries since 2010, followed by falls (28.5 percent), violence (14.3 percent), sports (9.2 percent), and other or unknown causes (11.4 percent), according to the NSCISC.

SCI usually starts with a sudden blow to the spine that fractures or dislocates the vertebrae, the discs of bone in the spine. The fragments of bone, discs or ligaments bruise or tear the spinal cord, crushing the nerves, according to the National Institutes of Health. During the weeks following the injury, bleeding, swelling, inflammation and fluid buildup in or near the spinal cord often cause further damage.

Diseases such as arthritis, cancer, inflammation, infections or degeneration of spinal discs can also result in a spinal cord injury, according to the NIH. Depending on the severity of the injury, the victim may make a full recovery or become completely paralyzed.

Spinal cord injuries vary in their location and severity. The “level” of injury refers to the lowest part of the spinal cord with normal function. Higher-level injuries affect the arms, hands, trunk, legs and pelvic organs, whereas lower-level injuries affect only the legs, pelvic organs, and trunk, according to the NIH. These can result in paralysis of all four limbs (known as quadriplegia or tetraplegia), or paralysis of the lower limbs (known as paraplegia).

The severity of the injury is classified as either complete, in which nearly all movement and sensation below the level of the injury is lost, or incomplete, in which some residual movement and sensation remains.

Symptoms of spinal cord injury include: loss of movement; loss of sensation (sense of touch, heat or cold); loss of bowel or bladder control; exaggerated reflexes or spasms; changes in sexual function or sensitivity; pain or stinging due to nerve damage; and difficulty breathing, coughing, or clearing the throat.

Emergency symptoms of an injury include severe pain or pressure in the neck, head or back; weakness, lack of coordination or paralysis of part of the body; numbness, tingling or loss of feeling in the hands and feet; loss of bladder or bowel control; difficulty walking or balancing; difficulty breathing after the injury; or a twisted neck or back. People with these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.

Find out about the workings of the brain and nerves.

Treatment options for spinal cord injury are limited, but rehabilitation and experimental technologies have been found to help maintain or improve remaining nerve function in some people.

Immediately after an accident, emergency responders immobilize the spine using a stiff neck collar and carrying board in order to transport the patient.

Maintaining blood pressure is critically important after an injury, Insinga said, because “the spinal cord heals better when it has blood flow.” A drop in blood pressure can be catastrophic, because it can extend the damage beyond where it started, he said.

Other emergency treatment involves maintaining breathing ability, preventing shock, keeping the neck immobilized, and preventing complications such as blood clots.

In some patients, steroid medications, such as methylprednisolone (Medrol), have been found to cause mild improvement, if taken within eight hours of injury. However, high doses of steroids can have negative side effects such as bone loss or low blood sugar.

Doctors may use traction (often by attaching metal braces and weights to the skull to prevent it moving) to stabilize the spine and/or realign it. Surgery may be needed to remove fragments of bone, herniated discs, fractured vertebrae or foreign objects, or to stabilize the spine to minimize pain or future deformity.

“If a piece of bone or spinal cord is under pressure, relief of that pressure is of utmost importance,” Insinga said.

After initial treatment, the patient will typically begin a program of rehab.

A team of therapists and specialists work with patients during their early stages of recovery. Physical therapists focus on having the patient maintain and strengthen existing muscle function, while occupational therapists, rehab psychologists and others help the patient learn basic tasks and new skills.

Moderntechnology for paralysiscan provide some independence to individuals living with spinal cord injury. Assistive equipment includes wheelchairs, computer adaptations, electronic aids, robotic gait training and electrical stimulation.

An experimental technique known asepidural spine stimulationhas helped a small number of patients regain the ability to flex their toes and ankles in a pilot study.

Roboticexoskeletonshave been used in studies for rehabilitation, allowing some patients to sit or stand upright and take a few steps, with assistance. Researchers are also developing neural prostheses, known as brain-computer interfaces. Electrodes worn on the scalp or implanted in the brain record electrical signals from neurons and translate them into control of a computer or prosthetic limb.

These technologies are still in their early stages, however, and not approved for widespread use.

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Spinal Cord Injury: Levels, Symptoms & Treatment

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