Friday, December 23, 2005

'I never thought I'd walk again'


Toni Caban, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

'I never thought I'd walk again'

By Toni Caban for CNN
Friday, December 23, 2005; Posted: 11:33 a.m. EST (16:33 GMT)

CNN) -- MS sufferer Toni Caban was making good progress with a physiotherapy program to regain the use of her lower body until she fell and injured her spine. In April this year, she had a cervical and a thoracic spinal cord stimulator implanted via surgery, which she says have given her back her life. This is her story:

For years I had symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis but no one put them all together. I would have trouble with my co-ordination occasionally, tremors would come and go, I would trip on things and choke on my food. I had blurry vision and my legs would fall asleep while I was walking. One day, seven years ago, I couldn't get out of bed. My top half could move, but my bottom half could not. I was diagnosed with MS about three days later.

The diagnosis came as a shock but I soon learnt that if I didn't learn everything I needed to know about the disease, I wouldn't be able to develop a plan to live. In the meantime, I bought an electric chair, a van with a wheelchair lift, a ramp built outside my house.

After a month, with some modifications in place, I was comfortable enough to return to my work at a not-for-profit child and family agency. I would work 40 to 60 hours a week in my wheelchair. I would go to court, schools, conduct weekly home visits with clients and I was on call 24 hour a day. I was having a lot of physiotherapy to try to regain strength in my back and legs. I was soon able to work 25 feet with my legs in braces, using a crutch.

Then one day at work, I fell in a non-disabled bathroom. I was found unconscious 45 minutes later by my co-workers. I had injured my upper and lower spine, ankle and shoulder, and had concussion.

I was constantly in terrible pain. It hurt to sit in my wheelchair -- I had a terrible pain in my lower back like someone had their foot pressing on it all the time. It felt as if it would snap. Then the pain would run down my leg. If I tried to stand, the pain would intensify in that area. Also, I continued to feel a burning sensation in my ankle and foot, although they were only sprained. This was later diagnosed as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSD).

I couldn't use my crutches because my shoulder and neck would go into severe muscle spasms. The pain would get so bad, it would trigger a MS flare-up. This could mean anything from severe hand or head tremors, choking, partial paralysis of my legs, complete double vision or lack of co-ordination. I needed help with the most basic daily tasks.

You name it, I tried everything. I was in pain management for four years, tried physiotherapy four times but could never get beyond three weeks because of the pain. I was literally confined to bed most of the time and was on pain killers. I saw many neurological specialists to get some help. Everywhere I went, I was sent home with drugs to dull the pain.

Then I started seeing a pain management doctor. He wanted to give me more morphine but I was opposed. I then found a husband-wife team, Dr. Jeffrey Epstein and Dr. Ronit Adler, who seemed like they might be able to help. He is a neuro surgeon, she a pain management specialist.

With their help, I tried several different options to block the pain. Some worked in the short-term, some did not. I then became a candidate for a spinal cord stimulator, where electrical impulses are used to block pain from being perceived in the brain. Instead of pain, the patient feels a mild tingling sensation.

The procedure involves having a small wire with a probe in the area that's causing the pain. It is attached to a remote-controlled transmitter that you wear during a three-day trial, to see whether the treatment works. During the trial, the level of pain dropped by 60 percent.

A month later I had a permanent stimulator implanted. They implanted a battery just beneath my skin, which has a five- to six-year lifespan. I leave it turned on 24 hours a day. Twice a week I wear a Velcro belt which charges up the battery.

Since April this year I now have two stimulators implanted, one in the lumbar area and one in the cervical area. Having these implants has given me back my life. I still have days where my pain is bad, but it is nothing compared to what I once endured. Getting rid of the pain has enabled me to complete my physiotherapy program -- the first time I have been able to do that since being diagnosed with MS. I can now walk 125 feet with no braces and no crutches.

My life has begun again. I still use a wheelchair for shopping but I am back at work full-time, something doctors said would never happen. I also spent most of the summer in my garden, one of my greatest pleasures in life. Without the stimulators none of this would have ever happened.


Original Story @ http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/12/23/toni.cabam/index.html?section=cnn_latest

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Reflex Sympathetic Distrophy Syndrome


Dave's Not Here..., originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Reflex Sympathetic Distrophy Syndrome

I woke up yesterday morning with a dull pain, an ache, in my left foot. The pain was with me all day.

This pain isn't unusual for me. I've had it for years. Ever since I broke my foot just before I got out of the Army. (They didn't call it a break in 95, but the Army doc confirmed it for me today on an X-Ray by showing me "bone callous")

Anyway....the pain has been recurring every few months for rather a long time, and it's something that I'm pretty used to, until today.

I went to the medic today because my foot felt like wood to the touch, and felt absolutely mind-numbingly painful to walk on. Following some checking, some questions, and x-rays, the doctor decided that I have mild Reflex Sympathetic Distrophy Syndrome.

From what he tells me the nerves in the bone that was broken 10 years ago become inflamed and I feel that same pain all over again. Ever since breaking my foot I've had a bit of mild discomfort in my left foot when walking too much, but today's "flare-up" was intolerable.

I've been hobbling around all day long, and I'll be happy when things return to a suitable level of pain.

There will be no photo posting today as I just don't have the patience or energy to work on one.


Original Article: http://www.daves-not-here.net/2005/10/reflex_sympathetic_distrophy_s.php

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Supervisors, activist clash over cops


TimesLeader, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Posted on Sun, Dec. 18, 2005
SUGARLOAF TOWNSHIP
Supervisors, activist clash over cops
Charmaine Maynard complains about police. Supervisor says most gripes without merit.
By STEVE MOCARSKY smocarsky@leader.net

SUGARLOAF TWP. – Supervisors on Tuesday responded to several complaints lodged by a resident about police officials.

Charmaine Maynard, who is also executive director of the grassroots group Citizens Opposing Political Suppression, says township officials need to keep tighter reins on police.

Supervisor Chairman Robert Stanziola said supervisors addressed all of Maynard’s complaints, many of which he said have been proven to be without merit.

He also accused Maynard of lying, and criticized her for bringing false accusations against township officials. He noted she has not paid her property taxes for a decade.

Maynard took the podium during the public comment portion of the monthly supervisors meeting to explain why she had not attended meetings for a year.

As previously reported, Maynard said she learned that Police Chief John Hudson had ordered officer Diane Fisher to remove her from a supervisor meeting if she showed up with her dog.

Maynard, who suffers from mobility problems resulting from reflex sympathetic dystrophy, Minere’s Disease and other ailments, often brings a certified service dog to public meetings to assist her in sitting down, standing up and picking up objects from the floor.

She said the chief put an official reprimand in Fisher’s record for refusing to remove the dog from a previous meeting, according to a lawsuit Fisher filed against the township with the Human Relations Commission.

Maynard said she tried to explain to Hudson that it was illegal to ban a service dog from a meeting, but he refused to listen. She also heard that Hudson planned to confiscate the dog if she brought it to another meeting, so she didn’t attend, she said.

Township solicitor James Schneider recently sent a letter to the commission stating that Maynard was not prohibited from attending meetings with her service dog, and that settled the issue as far as the commission was concerned.

Maynard at the meeting also complained that Hudson recently cited her with parking in a fire zone at the Laurel Mall while she ran into the bank, but refused to ticket vehicles without handicapped parking tags that were taking up the handicapped spaces. She said Hudson told her he can ticket whomever he wants.

She said she was only going to be in the bank a few minutes because she could tell from outside the mall that there were no customers inside the bank.

Stanziola said Hudson denied saying he could ticket whomever he wants, and called Maynard’s story about seeing inside the bank a lie. He said he went to the mall, and the bank interior is not visible from outside the mall.

Maynard said she didn’t tell Stanziola that a bank employee was outside smoking when she arrived and told her there no customers inside.

She didn’t mention the employee because the employee asked her to “keep her name out of it” unless called upon to testify about the ticket, Maynard said.

Stanziola also said Maynard lied about getting documents pertaining to Fisher’s lawsuit from the state. He said the state does not release such documents until a suit has been resolved.

Maynard said Stanziola misinterpreted her letter of complaint if he thought she meant that she obtained the documents from the state. She said she was given a copy of the documents by a Times Leader reporter to review for a story on the lawsuit; the newspaper received the documents from an anonymous source, and Fisher confirmed for the newspaper that the lawsuit was filed.

Stanziola also said Maynard’s complaint that officer Tim Brown didn’t have a General Educational Development diploma was investigated by the state and found to be untrue.

Maynard said the complaint was based on information she received, and she said supervisors did not address other complaints she lodged against Brown.

After the meeting, Maynard said supervisors have not yet addressed all of her complaints because the township has not released a copy of Hudson’s contract after it was requested about three months ago.

Stanziola said a member of COPS was given two public document request forms for the contract request and would not release it unless they were completed and returned.

Maynard said her attorney advised her not to fill out the forms because they asked the reason for the request, which, according to state law, she does not have to provide. She also felt that by signing the request forms, she would be indicating her agreement to pay $1 per page for a copy of the contract.

Courts have ruled that such a high photocopy fee violates the state Right to Know Law.



Original Article: http://www.timesleader.com/mld/timesleader/news/local/states/pennsylvania/counties/luzerne_county/cities_neighborhoods/hazleton/13434712.htm

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Edgewood offers treatment program for peripheral neuropathy


PortClintonNewsHerlad, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Edgewood offers treatment program for peripheral neuropathy

Edgewood Manor Nursing Center has announced a new program which will benefit those suffering from peripheral neuropathy, a common complication which can be heredity or the result of diabetes, chemotherapy, cardiovascular disease or alcohol abuse.

PN is characterized by damage to the vast communication system that transmits information from the brain to the central nervous system to every part of the body. Like static on a telephone, PN distorts and sometimes interrupts messages to the skin and muscles causing pain, weakness and swelling.

Edgewood Manor and Accelerated Care Plus, the premier solutions provider, have coordinated and completed training for their clinicians with the Neuroprobe 500.
The Neuroprobe 500 provides painless sub-sensory or sensory electrical stimulation in combination with near red light therapy.

This probe can also be used along with adjunctive therapy for complex regional pain syndrome, scar tissue, carpal tunnel, acute and chronic lower back pain, CVA should pain, headaches, TMJ, tinnitis, acute traumatic pain, muscle spasm reduction, myofacial trigger point pain, neuropathy, tendonitis and ligament sprains.

This service can be provided on an in-patient or out-patient basis. For information, contact Adam Eibling, Edgewood Manor, director of public relations at 419-734-5506.

Originally published December 13, 2005


Original Article @ http://www.portclintonnewsherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051213/NEWS01/512130318/1002

Friday, December 09, 2005

Couple caring for grandkids...


Tennessean, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Friday, 12/09/05
Couple caring for grandkids finds help through Gallatin organization

By KATE HOWARD
Staff Writer

GALLATIN — Richard Polk displays two of the things he's most proud of on the mantel of his trailer.

One is a plaque from Peterbilt in Madison, thanking him for 19 years of dedicated service on the company's assembly line and in the warehouse. He says he'd still be working there until he was 95 years old if he could.

The other is a certificate his grandson Michael, 8, got when he made the honor roll. Polk and his wife Anita care for Michael and his 3-year-old brother, Nicholas, on their income from Social Security checks since he had to stop working. His daughter is in and out of trouble, Polk said.

"After you raise your kids and they're grown, you don't expect to raise your grandkids," Polk said.

When he still worked at Peterbilt, Polk said he never needed anything from anybody. But an ankle injury led to reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, a malfunction of the nervous system that causes chronic pain. He walks with a limp, bent over from the pain in his back. His wife is home with the children most of the time.

"I'm just trying to do the best I can with these two kids," Polk said. "I'm trying to raise them up in a good environment."

If it weren't for the help from local charity Gallatin C.A.R.E.S., Polk said, he wouldn't make it on his fixed income. The organization helps with groceries and utility payments, even the payment on his trailer when creditors threatened to repossess it.

"I've never had to ask for help like this. I never wanted to depend on anybody," Polk said. "It really makes me cry to go down (to Gallatin C.A.R.E.S.) and ask for food for my grandbabies, but I have to do it for them." •


Original Article: http://tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051209/NEWS01/512090405/1006/NEWS

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Inflammation linked to chronic pain


University of Toronto, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Inflammation linked to chronic pain: study
Proteins imprint painful response in brain even after stimulus is removed
Dec 6/05
by Karen Kelly (about) (email)

An inflamed injury may increase levels of a protein responsible for persistent pain, causing the brain to mimic pain long after its source has disappeared, says U of T research. The findings could have serious implications for the millions of Canadians who suffer from chronic pain.

The study, published in the current issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, shows how inflammation in mice increases NR2B proteins - proteins that facilitate nerve cell communication - and imprint a painful response in brain even after the stimulus is removed. "What we're interested in uncovering are the molecular mechanisms that can turn early pain into persistent pain," says Professor Min Zhuo of physiology, EJLB-CIHR Michael Smith Chair in Neurosciences and Mental Health and lead author of the study. "We believe that the body's inflammatory response helps to etch the initial pain into our memory."

Normally when a mouse or a person experiences a painful event, receptors in the injury site send an electrical impulse up the spine and to the brain. The signal triggers receptors called glutamate AMPA and kainate, which flare up initially but do not directly alter the physiology of the cells. When the painful event also triggers inflammation, the nerves send extra information to the normally dormant NR2B receptors - receptors that receive messages and then produce physiological effects in the cell.

In the study, researchers injected a chemical irritant into the hind paws of mice, causing inflammation. They then tracked brain activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) - a region of the brain associated with pain and other functions such as decision-making and emotion. In tests performed one hour, six hours and one day after injection, they found that NR2B protein levels had increased over time. Previous research had already established a link between the protein and chronic pain. In an earlier study, Zhuo demonstrated that mice initially genetically enhanced with NR2B to boost memory and learning abilities also became acutely aware of minor pain for long periods of time. "Persistent pain caused by injury, learning and memory share the same common molecular mechanisms," Zhuo says. "By identifying these mechanisms we can greatly facilitate the treatment of chronic pain."

Zhuo hopes the findings will one day be used to create therapeutic solutions to conditions such as allodynia - a condition where even a gentle touch produces pain. Currently, pain-blocking drugs also target other brain activity - not just NR2B receptors - and can also block acute pain that acts as a body's warning system.

"It's essential that therapies don't block the body's entire pain system as pain often plays a valuable role," Zhuo says. "For instance, acute and immediate pain often tells us to remove ourselves from harm such as accidentally touching a hot plate. The key is to find a way to develop drugs that target only persistent pain thereby improving the patient's quality of living."

The research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the National Institutes of Health, the EJLB-CIHR Michael Smith Chair in Neurosciences and Mental Health, and the Canada Research Chair program.

Contact:

Min Zhuo, Dept. of Physiology, 416-978-4018; e-mail: min.zhuo@utoronto.ca


Original Article @ http://www.news.utoronto.ca/bin6/051206-1884.asp

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Georgia Pain Physicians Opens Office In Dalton


Dr. Robert E. Windsor, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Georgia Pain Physicians Opens Office In Dalton

posted November 22, 2005

Georgia Pain Physicians, PC, under the guidance of Dr. Robert E. Windsor is opening its newest location at 1434 Broadrick Dr., Dalton, Ga.

Georgia Pain Physicians, PC is "a nationally recognized pain management practice with a new commitment to the community and surrounding areas of Dalton."

Over the last 20 years, Dr. Windsor has developed successful practices in Calhoun, Marietta, Midtown Atlanta, Forest Park and Cumming, Ga., it was stated.

Georgia Pain Physicians, PC "has achieved acclaim for its innovative and groundbreaking uses of pain management treatments with a detailed understanding of the cause and natural history of a wide variety of pain syndromes. Dr Windsor is a prolific author and orator who sponsors and directs the Emory School of Medicine/Georgia Pain Physicians fellowship program and has done so since its inception in 1993. This program enables physicians from all over the world to train directly under the tutelage of Dr. Windsor. This program is noted as the most competitive and sought after of its kind in the country. Dr Windsor is board certified in pain management, pain medicine, electrodiagnostic medicine, and physical medicine and rehabilitation."

Conditions treated include: Neck/Back Pain, Headache, Pinched Nerve, Spinal Compression Fracture, Failed Back Surgery Syndrome, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Radiculopathy, Cervical and Lumbar Stenosis, Sacroiliac joint pain, Myofascial pain and Pelvic Pain.

Treatments include: Selective spinal injections such as Epidural Cortisone Injections and Facet Joint Injections, Medical Management, Spinal Cord Stimulation, Peripheral Nerve Stimulation, and Intrathecal Pump Implantation.

The patient or a physician can schedule an appointment at (706) 226-0522, (706) 629-5333, or (800) 624 8940.

The clinic will also be offering neurological testing including EMG/NCV/SEP of all extremities and testing for carpal tunnel syndrome. The physician will receive the report with a two-day turnaround maximum. In most cases the report will be delivered the same day as the exam, it was stated.

An open house will be Tuesday, Nov. 29, between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.



Original Article @ http://www.chattanoogan.com/articles/article_76310.asp

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Pain relief all done with mirrors


The Weekend Australian, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Pain relief all done with mirrors
Anjana Ahuja
November 19, 2005

PAIN may be caused by a mismatch between what the brain expects and what information it receives, according to a new scientific theory.

Through a series of ingenious experiments, scientists have begun to theorise that pain may be an outward sign of a mismatch akin to the momentary shock people get when they put their foot on a step in the dark and stumble when the surface is not where they thought it would be.

The so-called cortical model of pain would help to explain such enigmas as phantom limb pain, in which an amputee is tormented by aches in a missing limb. It would also illuminate why people frequently report pain in the absence of an obvious clinical cause.

Intriguingly, researchers have discovered that the pain can be cured by using mirrors.

Candy McCabe and David Blake, at the University of Bath, enlisted patients with a condition called complex regional pain syndrome. This describes an ache that sets in after nerve injury; it lingers and often escalates long after the break has healed. The agony can be so excruciating that patients request amputation.

Dr McCabe angled a full-length mirror up against each patient, so that the damaged side was out of view and only the healthy side was reflected. She then asked them to do symmetrical exercises, such as lifting both arms. Half the patients reported a reduction in pain. The effect could not be replicated using a white board – suggesting relief lay, somehow, in the reflection.

Since the damaged limb is hidden, and replaced by the mirror image of the healthy one, McCabe speculates that the brain is fooled into believing that all the limbs are moving normally. The brain-body mismatch disappears – and the pain with it. "It sounds bizarre until you see it, and then it's fantastic," she says. The research, funded by the Arthritis Research Campaign, is published in the journal Clinical Medicine .

McCabe explains that injury disrupts communication between brain and limb – in other words they do not "talk" to each other as they normally do. "Plaster casts also reduce the sensory input from a limb. In some people – we don't know who or why – the system doesn't correct itself after healing. We think that pain is the alert mechanism, and it then sets off other alert mechanisms, so the area becomes hypersensitive and even more painful.

"But the mirror gives the brain a normal-looking arm, and gives the patient the feeling that their limb belongs to them again." The mirror exercises apparently help to repair the broken loop between brain and limb – some patients on this therapy find that their pain disappears permanently.

The Times


Original Article @ http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,17286912%255E23289,00.html

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Beach-goer sues Sentosa


Adam Hamzah, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Tuesday November 15, 2005

Beach-goer sues Sentosa

A beach-goer is suing Sentosa Development Corporation after he stepped on a poisonous stonefish at one of the island’s beaches and ended up with a rare permanent pain condition that cost him a career.

Adam Hamzah, 31, was afflicted with reflex sympathetic dystrophy, which affects a nerve and causes persistent pains of varying intensity every day.

The reef stonefish – reputedly one of the most venomous fish in the world – punctured the sole of Adam’s left foot in two places while he was wading in waist-high waters at Tanjong Beach in February.

The well-camouflaged greenish-brown creature has dorsal spines that discharge poison if stepped on.

Adam’s wife, Eidza Jumanis, alerted a lifeguard as he hobbled ashore and he was taken to hospital, where doctors had to cut open his sole to draw out the poison on two occasions over about a month. Adam underwent two foot operations and racked up a S$20,000 (RM44,400) medical bill.

The father of three is suing Sentosa Development for compensation for the suffering he underwent and losses he suffered. The case came up for a pre-trial hearing in the subordinate courts last week, and was postponed for further mention on Dec 5.

In an interview, Adam said Sentosa did not seek to settle out of court.

“They think I should have worn shoes, but everybody goes barefoot on the beach. Everybody knows Sentosa is the cleanest, best-kept resort and the beach is man-made and not natural. They maintain it well and that is why I trusted Sentosa and went there always,” he said.

A sign near the lifeguard’s post on the Sentosa beach warns bathers to “beware of uninvited guests,” referring to stonefish and jellyfish.

“During the monsoon season (November to January), stonefish are occasionally sighted in our tropical seawater as they migrate closer to shore,” it says.

Court documents filed show that the location of the signboard is at issue. Adam claims that the sole signboard was nowhere in the vicinity where he had parked his car. He claims that he had walked from his car directly to the beach and had not seen the sign.

Adam, who is represented by lawyer Andrew Hanam, said he decided to seek compensation because of “the suffering I had been through and the job that I lost.”

He said: “After I lost my job, I went down with a lot of debt; even my car was impounded. I used to be a volunteer citizen on patrol, but I can’t do that any more. Every night, I’m woken up by the pain. I feel there are about 10 nails in my feet. I can’t run, squat or even bend the way I used to in order to pray any more.”

He lost his job as a trainer in the firm where he was also a shareholder. He found a sales job in July, after several other attempts failed.

A spokesman for Sentosa Development declined to comment. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network


Original Article @ http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2005/11/15/asia/12590094&sec=asia

County closes case in fraud trial


The Daily Journal, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

County closes case in fraud trial
Daily Journal wire report
Closing arguments were presented Monday in San Mateo County Superior Court in the case of a county collections employee whom prosecutors believe was caught red-handed defrauding the state and county.

Yolanda Dobkins, 54, filed a workers’ compensation claim on Feb. 7, 2001, after being hired as a county collections officer in 1998, Deputy District Attorney Kathryn Alberti said.

According to Alberti, Dobkins, who faces nine felony counts including attempted perjury, has exaggerated her condition more than once throughout the course of the trial.

“This trial is about misconceptions and false statements,” Alberti said Monday.

Dobkins maintains that she suffers from reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome. It is a neurological syndrome often characterized by debilitating pain, according to the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association’s Web site.

“RSD is supposed to be worse then carpal tunnel syndrome,” Alberti said.

Dobkins, who first made mention of the pain in October 1998, said that the ailment specifically hindered her ability to use her right hand, and that she was unable to lift objects, drive her car or even shake people’s hands, according to Alberti.

The county denied Dobkins’ claim, but did compensate her for her medical expenses, which totaled $10,000, Alberti said.

“This is the county of San Mateo,” Alberti said to the jury. “That money comes from our property taxes.”

The largest amount of money collected by Dobkins came from the state, which gave her $24,000, Alberti said.

Immediately after the claim was filed, Alberti said the county hired private investigators who repeatedly videotaped Dobkins doing things that she claimed she was physically incapable of doing.

“We have tape of her washing her car by hand and she shows no pain or resistance,” Alberti said. “She washed her car for an hour and 45 minutes.”

Dobkins’ defense attorneys, Kathleen McCasey and Lou Ann Bassan, claim that people suffering from RSD can have good days and bad days, but Alberti said that was highly unlikely.

“Is it a coincidence that every bad day was in a medical office, and every good day was at home?” Alberti said.

The tapes also reportedly show Dobkins jumping into the back of a truck and moving a large box containing what looked like a grill, with both hands, according to Alberti.

“If you truly have RSD then you are truly in pain,” Alberti said. Dobkins “looks fine on the tapes.”

Dobkins was offered a plea bargain by the court that would have put her in county jail for a maximum of one year, but she rejected it, Alberti said.

If Dobkins is convicted of the nine felony counts, she could face up to five years in state prison, Alberti said.

Original Article @ http://www.smdailyjournal.com/article_preview.php?id=51045

Designs for better access


TimesLeader, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Posted on Tue, Nov. 15, 2005

A DAY IN THE LIFE: Alaine Chang

Designs for better access

Architecture student’s goal is to be educator who would help future designers see needs of disabled.

By JON FOX jfox@leader.net


WILKES-BARRE – She’s not asking you to walk a mile in her tan Velcro sneakers. But she wants you to think about it.

She’s not asking you to roll a mile in her wheelchair. But she wants you to consider the challenges in getting around that way – especially if you happen to be an architect.

“The world is by and large inaccessible,” Alaine Chang, who struggles with reflex sympathetic dystrophy, said recently.

The 51-year-old has become an unlikely architecture student who hopes to change the way we think about buildings.

“Designers should be talking to people with all different facets of disabilities,” she said.

After suffering nerve damage in one of her arms eight years ago, Chang developed the chronic pain disorder also known as complex regional pain syndrome.

It’s the result of a sympathetic nervous system gone haywire.

Following an injury, sympathetic nerve impulses cause blood vessels in the skin to contract, forcing blood deep into muscle tissue to minimize blood loss. Ordinarily the sympathetic nervous system shuts down within hours of an injury, but in Chang’s case that hasn’t happened.

An inflammatory response causes more pain, which in turn sparks further inflammation. Her legs have swollen, the skin on her hands is cracked, her vision is affected, and her doctors have told her that her condition will only worsen.

Chang’s disability has become both obstacle and motivation.

She recalls a trip to Philadelphia with her husband. They spotted an Asian grocery store and they both wanted to go inside to take a look. Her husband could, but Chang, in her wheelchair, couldn’t make it.

In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law. It requires government buildings, services and programs to be accessible to those with disabilities, but 15 years later local governments are still working to cut ramps into sidewalks and retrofit older buildings.

And, of course, the world of small grocery stores, cafes and even her doctors’ offices is a different matter, Chang said.

Her life is a maze of narrow hallways, doors that aren’t automatic, and doors that are difficult to open, and that’s something she wants to change.

Two years ago in September, Chang returned to school at Luzerne County Community College to begin studying architecture.

This semester she’s enrolled in a construction material class that recently visited the downtown theater project to take a tour and sketch the structure.

Sitting in a coffee shop surrounded by her much younger classmates, Chang acknowledges that she has a long way to go before she achieves her goal.

She plans to get an associate’s degree in architecture and engineering and then go on for a master’s degree – one day she even hopes to be in a position to teach the next generation of architects.

Sipping a diet soda, she describes a row of dominoes as an analogy to explain her desire to be a teacher.

By becoming involved as an educator she hopes to get design students to consider the challenges of the disabled.

That’s like flicking the first domino, she explains, a small gesture that will create momentum and radiate change.

“It’s something that needs to be done,” she said, adding that “retirement’s far overrated. It’s boring.”

In her first go around with college, she got a political science degree from Wilkes University and then ran a dance school and later a retail store.

But that’s not something she relishes discussing.

“That’s the past, and now is now,” she said.

This semester, she’s thrown herself into drawing and detail work that has strained her eyes and left streaks of blood in her notebook.

She normally wears thin white gloves to protect the skin on her hands, made delicate and prone to splitting by her disorder.

Pulling a notebook out of a bag slung on the back of her wheelchair, she flips through pencil sketches of construction sites.

“Drafting is nasty,” she said. “On the computer it’s OK, but drafting with pencils and rulers when your hands are bleeding is not fun.”

Next semester she plans to take two classes, but she doesn’t really know when or where she’ll end up in a graduate program.

She’s dedicated, but her kids think she’s crazy.

A grown son and a daughter hundreds of miles away in Boston and New York can’t understand why their mother, who has nearly as many doctors as fingers, is back in school.

“They think I’m insane,” she said.

There’s no time to debate. It’s early afternoon and time for her class to meet at the construction site.

Along with her classmates, Chang, in her wheelchair, rolls to the half-completed theater. She’s concerned the site may not be wheelchair friendly, but that’s a minor blip on the way to her ultimate goal.

“You can overcome practically anything, the only thing you have to do is want to,” she said.


Original Article @ http://www.timesleader.com/mld/timesleader/news/local/13170044.htm

Sunday, November 20, 2005

WHY I WANT TO DIE


Yvonne Haines, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

WHY I WANT TO DIE
15.11.2005

By ZOE SATHERLEY

zsatherley@northernstar.com.au

YVONNE HAINES is wracked with pain and just wants to die with dignity.

The 67-year-old Shaws Bay woman, who suffers from a debilitating incurable illness, has already tried to end her life five times.

Yesterday, she was one of about 50 people who turned up at the Lismore Workers Club to hear controversial pro-euthanasia campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke’s ideas on taking control over death.

"People must be allowed the right to choose how and when they die if they are of sound mind and are in terrible suffering," Dr Nitschke said.

Dr Nitschke gave very explicit instructions on how to end your life using a variety of options, including manufacturing your own ‘peaceful pill’ — a barbiturate that can kill within minutes.



Yvonne, who has a rare condition called chronic complex regional pain syndrome, said she had already suffered the humiliation and defeat of trying to unsuccessfully end her life and was sick of being alive.

Her crippling condition, which followed an injury to her hand, has no cure and causes continuous, intense burning pain and swelling, which gets worse rather than better over time.

She needs help with many facets of personal care which she finds demeaning and degrading.

Yvonne said her most recent attempt at ending her life — going into the surf after a medication overdose — was thwarted by her partner, who had unexpectedly rescued her.

"I came here today to learn how I could end my life without once again failing in the attempt," she said.

"I have had this extremely painful condition for 15 years and I am on high doses of morphine to control the pain, but it doesn’t take it away.

"People who haven’t lived with chronic pain have no idea what it’s like. My life is a nightmare and it’s getting worse every day. I’ve just had enough."


Original Story: http://www.northernstar.com.au/storydisplay.cfm?storyid=3660925&thesection=localnews&thesubsection=&thesecondsubsection=

Friday, November 18, 2005

Chronic Pain - Silent Epidemic in Canada

Chronic Pain - Silent Epidemic in Canada

By Wire Services
Nov 7, 2005, 15:11

For almost six million Canadians who experience some form of chronic pain, the results of a recent public opinion survey will be discouraging. A recent survey, completed by Decima Research (November 2005) for the Canadian Pain Coalition (CPC) involving more than 1,000 adults in all provinces, highlights the confusion and lack of awareness about pain and those it affects.

Twenty-one percent of respondents indicated they suffered from chronic pain while 46% indicated they knew someone with the disease. Only 47 per cent of Canadians surveyed fully believe that chronic pain is real.

"We have a long way to go in order to change the way the general public, even health care professionals, think about pain and how it affects the lives of Canadians," says Helen Tupper, President of the CPC who has experienced neuropathic and other forms of chronic pain for almost 30 years. "People with pain are constantly dealing with the stigma of their illness. They may miss work, spend more time in hospital and visit their doctors more frequently. It can take several years for some of us to get the right diagnosis and treatment."

Chronic pain is pain that continues a month or more beyond the usual recovery period for an injury or illness or that goes on for months or years due to a chronic condition. The pain may not be constant but it can interfere with daily life at all levels. Neuropathic pain or "nerve pain" is a disease caused by injury or dysfunction of the nerves in the body's pain sensing system. It is frequently described as a stabbing, burning, tingling or shock-like sensation. It is estimated that 500,000 Canadian chronic pain sufferers have neuropathic pain.

There is currently a shortage of specialized health care services for people with pain. In some cities, this can result in waits of up to five years for an appointment at a multi-disciplinary pain clinic. The vast majority of respondents to the Decima survey say pain is an important health issue in this country that should receive more funding for research, specialized pain centres and medications.

"People with pain often struggle to have their family, friends and co-workers believe their pain is real. Not only are they suffering because of the pain, they often face a lack of support to help them deal with it," says Celeste Johnston CPC board member and Professor at the McGill School of Nursing. This was confirmed in the survey results as 46 per cent of those surveyed did not fully believe pain was a real health issue for people they knew.

For pain patients living in Quebec the news was more concerning when compared to the national results. Only 37 per cent (compared to 47 per cent in the rest of Canada) said they fully believed a friend or co-worker when told about their pain.

Treating pain is another issue that leads to confusion and prevents patients from seeking out and following treatment regimes. Sixty-four per cent of respondents believe pain patients should continue to seek a medical opinion to resolve their pain however 38 per cent of Canadians believe they should seek non-narcotic alternatives to relieve pain, while another 8 per cent believe those with pain should avoid taking pain medications in case they become addicted.

"While the CPC has chosen this week to highlight the issues surrounding pain in Canada, it is around 52 weeks of the year," says Helen Tupper. "It is a non-stop job to educate people about pain. We hope that by raising awareness we will give a voice to the six million Canadians impacted by this illness and the people committed to helping them."


Original Article: http://www.halifaxlive.com/artman/publish/chronic_071105_117.shtml

Monday, November 14, 2005

MANDRELL SELLS HER THEATRE


Dolly Parton, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Country icon LOUISE MANDRELL is set to bring the curtain down on her Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, theatre on New Year's Eve (31DEC05) after deciding to sell the venue.

The singer has performed regularly at the concert hall, which is close to DOLLY PARTON's Dollywood theme park, for the past eight years and will end her residence there with her annual Christmas shows.

In a posting on her website, Mandrell explains she has decided to sell-up in order to spend more time in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband JOHN, who suffers from reflex sympathetic dystrophy.

Original Article: http://www.contactmusic.com/new/xmlfeed.nsf/mndwebpages/mandrell%20sells%20her%20theatre





Related Story:

Louise Mandrell Leaving Pigeon Forge

Louise Mandrell will leave her Pigeon Forge, Tenn., theater at the end of 2005 following eight years of performances. A series of Christmas shows begins Thursday (Nov. 3), and her last performance at the venue will be held on New Year's Eve. Mandrell has sold the theater to Fee Hedrick Entertainment. In a letter posted on her Web site, Mandrell writes that she moved to the area to raise her daughter, Nicole, and now plans to return to Nashville to be with her husband, John, who has reflex sympathetic dystrophy.


From: http://www.cmt.com/news/articles/1512846/11022005/mandrell_louise.jhtml

Sunday, November 13, 2005

How pain is cured by looking in a mirror; painting by numbers


www.TimesOnline.co.uk, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

How pain is cured by looking in a mirror;
Science Notebook by Anjana Ahuja
I HATE missing a step, and not just intellectually. That stumble at the bottom of the stairs, when the ground beneath one’s feet doesn’t conform to expectations and brain and body are uncoordinated for an instant sends a shiver of surprise through me.

Through a series of ingenious experiments scientists have begun to theorise that pain may be an outward sign of a similar brain-body mismatch. The so-called cortical model would help to explain such enigmas as phantom limb pain, in which an amputee is tormented by aches in a missing limb. It would also illuminate why people frequently report pain in the absence of an obvious clinical cause. Intriguingly, researchers have discovered that the pain can be cured by using mirrors.

Dr Candy McCabe and Professor David Blake, at the University of Bath, enlisted patients with a condition called complex regional pain syndrome. This describes an ache that sets in after nerve injury; it lingers and often escalates long after the break has healed. The agony can be so excruciating that patients request an amputation.

McCabe angled a full-length mirror up against each patient, so that the damaged side was out of view and only the healthy side was reflected. She then asked them to do symmetrical exercises, such as lifting both arms. Half the patients reported a reduction in pain. The effect could not be replicated using a white board — suggesting that relief lay, somehow, with the reflection.

Since the damaged limb is hidden, and replaced by the mirror image of the healthy one, McCabe speculates that the brain is fooled into believing that all the limbs are moving normally. The brain-body mismatch disappears — and the pain with it. “It sounds bizarre until you see it, and then it’s fantastic,” she says. The research, funded by the Arthritis Research Campaign, is published in Clinical Medicine.

McCabe explains that injury disrupts communication between brain and limb — in other words they do not “talk” to each other as they normally do. “Plaster casts also reduce the sensory input from a limb. In some people — we don’t know who or why — the system doesn’t correct itself after healing. We think that pain is the alert mechanism, and it then sets off other alert mechanisms, so the area becomes hypersensitive and even more painful.

“But the mirror gives the brain a normal-looking arm, and gives the patient the feeling that their limb belongs to them again.” The mirror exercises apparently help to repair the broken loop between brain and limb — some patients on this therapy find that their pain disappears permanently.

McCabe has also found that when healthy volunteers carry out asymmetrical mirror exercises — in other words, the hidden limb moves in a way that does not correspond to the reflected one — they sometimes experience aches, numbness, pins and needles and a cold sweat.

The findings have important implications: new plaster casts for old injuries may worsen, rather than ease, discomfort; and patients afflicted by mysterious pains will be relieved to know that, in a manner of speaking, their ailment is not all in the head.


Original Article: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,20909-1860449,00.html

Saturday, November 12, 2005

A mirror can trick your brain to relieve your pain!


WebIndia123, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

London November 03, 2005 2:47:47 PM IST

The next time your'e at your wits end with pain in your hand, foot or limb for which your doctor can find no direct cause,just look in the mirror and trick your brain into believing your body is free of pain.

Scientists in the latest edition of the medical journal, Clinical Medicine,say that a treatment is being developed by the University of Bath and the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases(RNHRD) to relieve people experiencing pain in their hand, feet or limbs. The treatment is based on the theory that the normal awareness and experience of our limbs is often based on what the brain predicts rather than what the actual state is.

However, the brain's image of the body can, at times, become faulty, resulting in a mismatch between the brain's movement control systems and its sensory systems. This can cause a person to experience pain on the movement of a particular part of the body.

According to the journal, an investigation was carried out to determine whether with the use of mirrors,the brain could be tricked into believing that the body is healthy. As a part of this, researchers asked a number of people suffering from complex regional pain syndrome, to exercise routinely in front of mirrors. It was found that more than half of the people felt a relief from the pain during and after exercising in such a manner.

Dr Candy McCabe, from the University of Bath's School for Health and the RNHRD said that the experiment confirmed that the brain can be tricked into correcting the imbalance between the brain's sensory systems and its movement control systems.

"By using a mirror reflection of a normal limb to convince the brain that everything is alright, we have found that we can correct this imbalance and help alleviate pain in complex regional pain syndrome." ,Dr Candy McCabe said

Earlier in the year, the journal Rheumatology, published an article about a separate study conducted by researchers from Bath,Cardiff and Exeter which showed that it is possible to create sensations and feelings in one limb by looking at a reflection of the other limb in a mirror.

The study was conducted on a volunteer group of 41 people who were asked to sit at right angles so as to see only one side of the body.They were then asked to move their limbs in first one and then the opposite direction at the same time, while viewing the mirror reflection of one hand in their view.

It was discovered that more than two-thirds of the volunteers felt sensations like numbness, pins and needles, a change in temperature and moderate aching in the limb not in their view.

Dr McCabe said,"Some people felt pain in their arm after as little as twenty seconds but not all of our volunteers experienced these disturbances.It would appear that innate susceptibility plays a part, with some individuals more vulnerable to, or simply better at detecting, these sensations." (ANI)


Original Article: http://news.webindia123.com/news/showdetails.asp?id=153070&n_date=20051103&cat=Science

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Mirrors to trick the brain...


world-map, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

News-Medical.Net

Mirrors to trick the brain could help people with persistent pain

Medical Research News

Published: Tuesday, 1-Nov-2005

Looking in a mirror at a reflection of their healthy hand could help people with persistent pain ease their symptoms and eventually overcome their problem, say scientists in the latest edition of the journal Clinical Medicine.

The treatment, being developed by researchers from the University of Bath and the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD), is based on a new theory about how people experience pain even when doctors can find no direct cause.

This 'cortical' model of pain suggests that the brain's image of the body can become faulty, resulting in a mismatch between the brain's movement control systems and its sensory systems, causing a person to experience pain when they move a particular hand, foot or limb.

Researchers believe that this kind of problem could be behind a host of pain-related disorders, such as complex regional pain syndrome and repetitive strain injury.

In an investigation of whether this system can be corrected using mirrors to trick the brain, researchers asked a number of patients with complex regional pain syndrome (a chronic debilitating condition affecting 10,000 - 20,000 patients in the UK at any one time) to carry out routine exercises in front of a mirror.

More than half experienced pain relief during and after the exercise and further investigations showed that even greater improvements can be achieved if the tasks are practiced beforehand.

"By using a mirror reflection of a normal limb to convince the brain that everything is alright, we have found that we can correct this imbalance and help alleviate pain in complex regional pain syndrome," said Dr Candy McCabe who works in the University of Bath's School for Health and the RNHRD.

"We think it is the same system that is triggered when you are running down stairs, miss the last step and then feel a jolt of surprise.

"In missing that bottom step, you jar the prediction that your brain had made about what was going to happen, triggering an alert to the body that things are not as you expected, hence the feeling of surprise.

"This is because in most cases normal awareness and experience of our limbs is often based on the predicted state rather than the actual state.

"When the two do not match we think sensations are generated to alert the body that things are not as it thought - rather like an early warning mechanism.

"If the discrepancy is very large [like in the mirror experiment described below] then pain may be experienced, as pain is the body's ultimate warning mechanism.

"We think that this system may be responsible for a range of disorders where patients feel pain for apparently no clinical reason.

"Somehow the brain's image of the body differs from what it senses. When the patient moves their hand, foot or limb, they experience pain as a result.

"This could have important implications for the therapeutic management of people with chronic pain."

In a separate study published in the journal Rheumatology earlier this year, researchers from Bath, Cardiff and Exeter showed that it is possible to create sensations and feelings in one limb by looking at a reflection of the other limb in a mirror.

They asked 41 healthy people to sit with a mirror at right angles in front of them so that they could only see one side of their body at a time.

The volunteers were then asked to move their limbs in the same direction at the same time, and then in opposite directions whilst viewing the mirror reflection of one hand.

Within 20 seconds of starting, more than two thirds of people involved in the trial reported some kind of sensation in their hidden limb when the movement they were seeing in the mirror was different to what they were feeling in the hidden hand, for example by moving their hands in different directions.

These sensations included numbness, pins and needles, a change in temperature and moderate aching, despite receiving no neural damage to that limb.

"Some people felt pain in their arm after as little as twenty seconds but not all of our volunteers experienced these disturbances," said Dr McCabe.

"It would appear that innate susceptibility plays a part, with some individuals more vulnerable to, or simply better at detecting, these sensations."

http://www.bath.ac.uk/


Original Article: http://www.news-medical.net/?id=14187

Mirror can trick your brain into easing pain


News.Telegraph, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Mirror can trick your brain into easing pain

By Celia Hall, Medical Editor
Filed: 01/11/2005)


People with unexplained pain in an arm or leg may be helped by exercising the unaffected limb in front of a mirror, scientists reported yesterday.

The method has the effect of tricking the brain and stopping pain in the affected limb.

Researchers at the University of Bath say that "complex regional pain syndrome" experienced by 10,000 to 20,000 Britons is often felt after a fracture. Although the bone has healed, people continue to experience pain.

Dr Candy McCabe from the university and the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Disease, Bath, says in the journal Rheumatology that normal awareness of our limbs is often based on the predicted state rather than the actual state.

"When the two do not match we think sensations are generated to alert the body that things are not as it thought, rather like an early warning mechanism," she said.

If the mismatch between the predicted state and the actual state is large, pain may be experienced.

In an experiment reported earlier this year healthy patients sat in front of a mirror so that they could only see one side of their body and exercised the hand they could see.

More than two thirds reported sensations in the hidden, still hand.


Original Article: http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/11/01/nmirr01.xml

Trick mirror treatment developed


BBC News UK Ed. (brain), originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

A treatment using mirrors to trick the brain into healing pain is being developed by researchers.

It is based on a theory where the brain's image of the body becomes faulty, causing pain.

Looking at a reflection of a healthy hand could help people ease symptoms of persistent pain, say the scientists.

The findings by the University of Bath and the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases researchers appear in the journal Clinical Medicine.

Warning mechanism

The researchers asked a number of patients with the debilitating condition called complex regional pain syndrome to carry out routine exercises in front of a mirror.

More than half experienced pain relief during and after the exercise and further investigations showed that even greater improvements could be achieved if the tasks were practiced beforehand.

"By using a mirror reflection of a normal limb to convince the brain that everything is alright, we have found that we can correct this imbalance and help alleviate pain in complex regional pain syndrome," said Dr Candy McCabe who works in the University of Bath's School for Health and the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases.

"In most cases normal awareness and experience of our limbs is often based on the predicted state rather than the actual state.

"When the two do not match we think sensations are generated to alert the body that things are not as it thought - rather like an early warning mechanism. If the discrepancy is very large then pain may be experienced, as pain is the body's ultimate warning mechanism.

"We think that this system may be responsible for a range of disorders where patients feel pain for apparently no clinical reason.

"Somehow the brain's image of the body differs from what it senses. When the patient moves their hand, foot or limb, they experience pain as a result."

The research is funded by the Arthritis Research Campaign.


Original Article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/somerset/4393234.stm

Monday, November 07, 2005

O'Fallon woman guilty of bilking agencies


BellevilleNewsDemocrat, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Posted on Wed, Nov. 02, 2005

O'Fallon woman guilty of bilking agencies

BY BETH HUNDSDORFER

News-Democrat

An O'Fallon woman will spend three years and one month in federal prison for bilking the Department of Veterans Affairs and Social Security Administration of more than $244,000.

Barbara L. Larrubia, 44, of 106 Sherryl Court, pleaded guilty in federal court in East St. Louis to mail fraud charges and making false statements to the Social Security Administration.

Larrubia received a medical discharge from the Air Force based on a diagnosis of reflex sympathetic dystrophy in 1994.

Later that year, she applied for VA benefits, stating that she injured her right knee while in the Air Force and the condition was worsened by nerve damage during surgery to repair the knee.

In October 1996, Larrubia falsely represented to the VA that she could not longer walk and was confined to a wheelchair. The VA increased her payments.

In May 1997, Larrubia filed for Social Security benefits and stated she was unable to walk or drive. She began receiving Social Security benefits.

The Drug Enforcement Administration searched Larrubia's home while investigating her for illegally obtaining prescription drugs on Feb. 9, 2001. When the investigative team learned about her VA disability status, they reported to the agency that Larrubia could walk.

On Nov. 28, 2001, the VA set Larrubia's disability level at 20 percent. She appealed.

On Sept. 4, 2003, Larrubia told a Social Security employee that she was totally disabled and unable to walk or drive. But during her trip to the Social Security Administration, agents conducted surveillance and spotted her stopping at two gas stations. Later, she was spotted shopping at a grocery store, according to court records.

Larrubia was ordered to pay $244,455 in restitution.

Contact reporter Beth Hundsdorfer at bhundsdorfer@bnd.com or 239-2570.


Original article: http://www.belleville.com/mld/belleville/news/13058531.htm

More than 56,500, or about 1 percent of the 5.4 million people ...


kyodo news, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Wednesday November 2, 1:00 PM

More than 56,500, or about 1 percent of the 5.4 million people ...

(Kyodo) _ More than 56,500, or about 1 percent of the 5.4 million people who donated blood in Japan in the year that ended in March this year, suffered injury, dizziness, nausea or other health problems after the donation, the health ministry said Wednesday.

Of the sufferers, 802 people received compensation from local blood centers for the ensuing medical expenses and transportation fees. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is considering standardizing such compensations, as the local blood centers currently decide on the amount individually.

Nerve damage from needles was the most frequent complaint, accounting for 29 percent, followed by hemorrhage under the skin with 17 percent.

Passing out or getting dizzy from being nervous about donating blood, a phenomenon called vasovagal reflex, accounted for 12 percent, and falling down as a result of the shock accounted for 15 percent.

Of the 802, 1 percent suffered muscle contractions from injury to the nerves caused by the needle, a phenomenon called reflex sympathetic dystrophy.

Six of the 802 were hospitalized.


Original article: http://asia.news.yahoo.com/051102/kyodo/d8dk4g2o1.html

Looking in the mirror cures pain in limbs


Hindustan Times, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Indo-Asian News Service

London, November 2, 2005

If you are suffering from chronic pain in your limbs, take a good look at yourself at a mirror - it may help you recover, says a study that has found an unlikely source of relief.

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) occurs in about one-third of people who fracture their wrists: they suffer unexplained persistent pain in their hand, arm or shoulder once the supportive plaster cast is removed.

The pain can be so bad that some patients beg for their arm to be amputated, says Candy McCabe, who developed the novel mirror therapy at Britain's University of Bath, reports the online edition of New Scientist.

McCabe and team studied eight CRPS patients who sat in front of long mirrors. These were placed so each person could see only the healthy half of their body, along with another reflection of the same half.

The result was that the side of the body with the painful arm was hidden from their view and it appeared to the patients as if they had two healthy arms.

The patients were told to concentrate hard on the image and try to believe that what they saw was a true depiction of themselves.

"Three of them were cured instantly; the others took a little longer," says McCabe. "But once the mirror was removed, the pain returned."

With continued mirror therapy, six people were completely cured. The two exceptions had conditions complicated by limb ulcers and actual physical distortions.

McCabe believes the pain results from a mismatch in the way the brain perceives the body and the actual condition of the body.

The brain is constantly sending signals to the body, predicting things like the shape and weight of the limbs, and their location. The sensory nervous system responds by sending information back, allowing the brain to refine its body image.

"When the arm is immovable in a plaster cast a mismatch occurs," McCabe says. "The brain sends out signals to the arm, but gets nothing back, so it triggers its own pain sensation in response."


Original Article: http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1535196,0050.htm

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Ease pain by taking a good look at yourself


New Scientist, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Ease pain by taking a good look at yourself

* 13:10 01 November 2005
* NewScientist.com news service
* Gaia Vince

Some patients suffering chronic pain in their limbs have found an unlikely source of relief – mirrors. Researchers say the drug-free treatment works on people with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and repetitive strain injury (RSI) because it tricks the brain into correcting its distorted image of the body.

CRPS occurs in about one-third of people who fracture their wrists: they suffer unexplained persistent pain in their hand, arm or shoulder once the supportive plaster cast is removed. The pain can be so bad that some patients beg for their arm to be amputated, says Candy McCabe, who developed the novel mirror therapy at the University of Bath in the UK.

In the study, eight CRPS patients sat in front long mirrors. These were placed so that each person could see only the healthy half of their body, along with another reflection of the same half.

The result was that the side of the body with the painful arm was hidden from their view and it appeared to the patients as if they had two healthy arms. They were told to concentrate hard on the image and try to believe that what they saw was a true depiction of themselves.

“Three of them were cured instantly; the others took a little longer,” says McCabe. “But once the mirror was removed, the pain returned.” However, with continued mirror therapy, six people were completely cured. The two exceptions had conditions complicated by limb ulcers and actual physical distortions.
Refined body image

Since the experiment, McCabe says she has successfully treated many other CRPS, and RSI patients, with the technique. She believes the pain results from a mismatch in the way the brain perceives the body and the actual condition of the body.

The brain is constantly sending signals to the body, predicting things like the shape and weight of the limbs, and their location. The sensory nervous system responds by sending information back, allowing the brain to refine its body image.

“When the arm is immovable in a plaster cast a mismatch occurs," McCabe says. "The brain sends out signals to the arm, but gets nothing back, so it triggers its own pain sensation in response." When the cast is removed, most people recover from the confusion spontaneously, but a third continue to feel pain. "The mirror tricks the brain into resetting its body image and stops the pain,” she says.

She thinks a similar mismatch occurs in people who develop RSI. "When a typist stares at a still screen, or a violinist at sheet music, while their hands move rapidly, it causes confusion,” McCabe says.
Mild tingling

In a further study to test their brain mismatch theory, McCabe and colleagues at Bath Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases conducted an experiment on 41 healthy volunteers. As before, each was sat in front of a mirror which bisected them in two, giving them a symmetrical image of their body, and were asked to believe that the image truly represented them.

They were asked to move their two arms in different directions while watching their reflection – creating a mismatch between the actual motion of the hidden arm and the apparent motion viewed in the mirror.

“Almost instantly they began to feel sensations in the arm they couldn’t see, which ranged from mild tingling through to uncomfortable levels of pain, McCabe said. “Some found it too painful to last the 20-second test duration.”

Peter Buckle, an RSI expert at Robens Centre for Health Ergonomics at Surrey University, says it is well-known that the brain can be confused by creating a difference between actual and apparent motion. But he does not believe this is a factor in RSI. “RSI has been around for hundreds of years and describes very real physical symptoms including inflammation and nerve damage," he says.


Original Article: http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn8246&feedId=online-news_rss20

Mirrors can trick the brain into recovering from persistent pain..


Innovations Report, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Mirrors can trick the brain into recovering from persistent pain, research suggests


Looking in a mirror at a reflection of their healthy hand could help people with persistent pain ease their symptoms and eventually overcome their problem, say scientists in the latest edition of the journal Clinical Medicine.

The treatment, being developed by researchers from the University of Bath and the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD), is based on a new theory about how people experience pain even when doctors can find no direct cause.

This ‘cortical’ model of pain suggests that the brain’s image of the body can become faulty, resulting in a mismatch between the brain’s movement control systems and its sensory systems, causing a person to experience pain when they move a particular hand, foot or limb.

Researchers believe that this kind of problem could be behind a host of pain-related disorders, such as complex regional pain syndrome and repetitive strain injury.

In an investigation of whether this system can be corrected using mirrors to trick the brain, researchers asked a number of patients with complex regional pain syndrome (a chronic debilitating condition affecting 10,000 – 20,000 patients in the UK at any one time) to carry out routine exercises in front of a mirror.

More than half experienced pain relief during and after the exercise and further investigations showed that even greater improvements can be achieved if the tasks are practiced beforehand.

“By using a mirror reflection of a normal limb to convince the brain that everything is alright, we have found that we can correct this imbalance and help alleviate pain in complex regional pain syndrome,” said Dr Candy McCabe who works in the University of Bath’s School for Health and the RNHRD.

“We think it is the same system that is triggered when you are running down stairs, miss the last step and then feel a jolt of surprise.

“In missing that bottom step, you jar the prediction that your brain had made about what was going to happen, triggering an alert to the body that things are not as you expected, hence the feeling of surprise.

“This is because in most cases normal awareness and experience of our limbs is often based on the predicted state rather than the actual state.

“When the two do not match we think sensations are generated to alert the body that things are not as it thought – rather like an early warning mechanism.

“If the discrepancy is very large [like in the mirror experiment described below] then pain may be experienced, as pain is the body’s ultimate warning mechanism.

“We think that this system may be responsible for a range of disorders where patients feel pain for apparently no clinical reason.

“Somehow the brain’s image of the body differs from what it senses. When the patient moves their hand, foot or limb, they experience pain as a result.

“This could have important implications for the therapeutic management of people with chronic pain.”

In a separate study published in the journal Rheumatology earlier this year, researchers from Bath, Cardiff and Exeter showed that it is possible to create sensations and feelings in one limb by looking at a reflection of the other limb in a mirror.

They asked 41 healthy people to sit with a mirror at right angles in front of them so that they could only see one side of their body at a time.

The volunteers were then asked to move their limbs in the same direction at the same time, and then in opposite directions whilst viewing the mirror reflection of one hand.

Within 20 seconds of starting, more than two thirds of people involved in the trial reported some kind of sensation in their hidden limb when the movement they were seeing in the mirror was different to what they were feeling in the hidden hand, for example by moving their hands in different directions.

These sensations included numbness, pins and needles, a change in temperature and moderate aching, despite receiving no neural damage to that limb.

“Some people felt pain in their arm after as little as twenty seconds but not all of our volunteers experienced these disturbances,” said Dr McCabe.

“It would appear that innate susceptibility plays a part, with some individuals more vulnerable to, or simply better at detecting, these sensations.”

The research is funded by the Arthritis Research Campaign.


Original Article Online:
http://www.innovations-report.com/html/reports/medicine_health/report-51013.html

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Chronic pain patients 'born again' with spinal stimulator


magcover, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Chronic pain patients 'born again' with spinal stimulator

By Celia Milne

ROD A'COURT OF Truro, N.S., has a bad back. In 1985, when he was only 31, he injured it while adjusting a snow plow on his truck. He ignored the burning pain in his spine and continued to work, but from that day onward, he was often in pain. After three back surgeries, he was still able to work as an electrician on heavy machinery, but in 1996, he suffered a re-injury and "things started spiralling downward, a vicious cycle of chronic pain and debilitating pain killers," he told a Halifax reporter.

Finally, in the fall of 2003, he was referred to Dr. Ivar Mendez, professor and head of the division of neurosurgery at Dalhousie University and the Queen Elizabeth II Health Science Centre, for a type of therapy called neuromodulation. It is considered to be a last resort for chronic pain.

A'Court is now the happy recipient of an implanted spinal stimulator, thanks to the team at the Neuromodulation Chronic Pain Program led by Dr. Mendez. A computer that was surgically implanted in A'Court's abdomen in April 2004, produces electrical stimulation, while an electrode sits atop his spinal cord. A remote control device allows A'Court to tailor the degree of stimulation he needs. "These impulses inhibit the pain impulses so the patient does not feel pain but rather vibration," explained Dr. Mendez. "The fibres that conduct vibration travel faster than the fibres that conduct pain."

The neuromodulation program was established eight years ago to give hope to patients struggling with chronic pain conditions such as failed back syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, injuries to specific nerves or intractable occipital neuralgia.

"This is a difficult population," said Dr. Mendez. "They suffer quite a bit, and usually they are young. For some, the pain has such an impact on well-being that they'd rather die than live with the intractable chronic pain.

"Ten years ago there was nothing for them, except narcotics."

The Halifax team has done more than 100 spinal cord stimulations, the results of which have been monitored. Expectations are that about 80% of patients with spinal cord stimulation will reduce by 80% their pain medications, and some will stop altogether, said Dr. Mendez. About 25% of patients who were employed before will be able to go back after the procedure, many of them to heavy work.

The implant is a sophisticated computer about 5 cm in diameter and 6 mm thick that goes in the abdomen. The computer sends electrical impulses into the area of the body where the stimulator is, which in the past has usually been on top of the spinal cord. Now, the team is experimenting with lodging the stimulator elsewhere. "We have now started putting the stimulator on the occipital nerve itself, with very promising results," said Dr. Mendez.

The success of the program is based on three key elements, said Dr. Mendez: having a devoted team of experts, ongoing research as the program proceeds and careful screening of candidates. Before embarking on this surgery, a multidisciplinary team of experts explores all elements of the patient's treatment to date—surgeries, medication and the patient's lifestyle and support systems are taken into account. Besides Dr. Mendez, the team includes neurosurgeon Dr. Rob Brownstone, anesthesiologist Dr. Ian Beauprie, neuropsychologists Drs. Doug Cane and Mary McCarthy, and program co-ordinator Paula Chiasson. Before patients get a permanent implant, they receive a temporary computer hooked up to their back for three or four days to see if it provides relief.

"We have a good feel for who will benefit," said Dr. Mendez.

When someone does benefit, it is immensely gratifying for the doctors involved. "These people tell you they have been born again. Their facial expressions change. I feel personally very satisfied being able to make a positive impact on individuals who suffer in silence. It is incredibly satisfying for the whole team," said Dr. Mendez.

Rod A'Court calls Dr. Mendez a medical genius. He is thrilled to have this state-of-the-art device inside him that allows him to work again for the first time in 10 years—even if it does set off alarms in airports!

Original article: http://www.medicalpost.com/mpcontent/article.jsp?content=20051017_205405_5280

Monday, October 17, 2005

"I love being alone on the water"


Hilary Lister, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

'I love being alone on the water'

By Hilary Lister for CNN
Monday, October 17, 2005; Posted: 10:16 a.m. EDT (14:16 GMT)

(CNN) -- Hilary Lister, 33, suffers from a degenerative form of the disorder 'reflex sympathetic dystrophy'. In August 2005 she became the first quadriplegic sailor to cross the English Channel -- the longest solo voyage by a quadriplegic sailor.

I started to lose the use of my legs when I was 11. I was very active as a child, playing hockey and rugby, but when I started getting sore knees I just ignored it, thinking it was growing pains. By the time I was 15 I couldn't even put one leg in front of the other.

It wasn't until about six or seven years ago that I really lost the use of my hands. Having been so active as a paraplegic -- being able to drive, swim and play the clarinet -- it was very hard to deal with.

I couldn't wash or feed myself or do any of the basic things in life. I was in very bad place where I was assessing the quality of my life and wondering whether it was worth continuing.

Then, a couple of years ago a neighbor told me about Westbere in Kent, where they take disabled people sailing. I wanted to do it immediately and the experience really has changed my life.

When I first announced that I was planning to sail across the Channel, I had no idea whether it was manageable or not, but I was frustrated that everyone around me was learning to sail and I was still a passenger.

It wasn't easy to convince people it could be done, but my family and friends were just pleased to see me excited about something again. I'd gone for a long time with nothing to talk about and life was pretty dull.

At the start of the year, I managed to get in touch with some people who could help me make it happen, and was loaned a boat by Pindar, one of my main sponsors. We adapted it to allow me to sail on my own, and I did some training in Cowes.

The sip-puff system, which allows me to control the boat, is actually built using the controls from my old wheelchair. It's basically just two plastic straws that are connected to motors. One moves the tiller, which controls your direction. The other controls the winches that adjust the sail, setting your speed. I sip or puff down each of them to sail the boat.

Matt Debicki, (of the Inventure Trust, who take severely disabled people sailing) adapted the boat for me, and did a great job.

The boat is a 26-foot Olympic Class 'Soling' that is usually sailed by thee big blokes hanging out on the rail. I needed the sails to be cut down, to make the boat manageable by just me.

Matt managed to take a few old wheelchair parts, a few yards of elastic and some pulleys and build them into a working sip-puff boat for me.

Even on the day itself Matt was down on the jetty, tinkering, -- it was that sort of operation.

The whole thing was a blast -- I loved every second, it was so exhilarating. Now I'm hoping to be able to sail round Britain. It's quite scary, but the more I talk about it the more I want to do it.

We'll need a bigger boat than the Soling, one that has somewhere to make a hot drink, and space to sleep. The boat will use sip and puff technology too, but it'll be a bit more high-tech; there will be more electronics and less elastic!

The technology has huge applications, not just for sailing but also for driving cars. I would love to be able to drive again. It makes you so much more independent. I just love being completely alone on the water. The whole point is having that complete freedom to control your own destiny.

-- For more information about Hilary Lister and the Channel Challenge visit http://www.hilarylister.co.uk/da/18355/external link


Original Article: http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/09/20/hilary.lister/
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