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