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Mind-Controlled Wheelchair Brings New Freedom to People With Paralysis

A severely paralyzed person no longer needs to go through brain surgery to try and steer a motorized wheelchair with their mind, researchers report.

Through an electrode-studded cap placed on their head, several people with quadriplegia -- no function in all four limbs -- were able to produce brain waves that guided their wheelchair through a kind of hospital "obstacle course."

The ...

Targeting Key Cells in Spinal Cord Got Paralyzed Patients Walking Again

In an advance in treating spinal cord injuries, researchers have pinpointed nerve cells that are key to allowing people with paralysis to walk again.

The findings come, in part, from nine patients involved in an ongoing Swiss study that is seeking to restore movement to people with paralysis.

All nine rapidly regained the ability to stand and walk with the help of implants that...

Kids Getting Spinal Surgeries May Cut Back on Opioids

Spinal surgery is painful, but fewer addictive opioid painkillers are needed now to help kids and teens manage it, a new study finds.

A research team from Michigan Medicine found that scoliosis patients undergoing spinal fusion can be prescribed fewer opioids and still get adequate pain control after surgery.

Could an Experimental Cancer Drug Help Treat Spinal Injury?

A drug in development as a cancer therapy may also help the body regenerate damaged nerves after spinal injuries, new research suggests.

Scientists at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom report that they used cell and animal models to show that the drug, dubbed

  • By Ellie Quinlan Houghtaling HealthDay Reporter
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  • July 18, 2022
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  • Full Page
  • Injected 'Hydrogel' May Be New Option Against Back Pain

    Like fixing a flat on the roadside, a new injectable hydrogel is showing promise as a remedy for worn-down spinal discs -- pumping them back up and relieving chronic back pain.

    The gel, with the brand name Hydrafil, is injected directly into worn discs using X-rays to guide the needle, said lead researcher Dr. Douglas Beall, chi...

    In Animal Studies, Gene Therapy Shows Promise for Spinal Cord Injury Pain

    An experimental gene therapy for spinal cord pain shows promise in mice, researchers say.

    About half of spinal cord injury patients have neuropathy, which is chronic or debilitating pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness caused by damaged or malfunctioning nerves.

    Treatment of neuropathy can be challenging. For...

    Novel Injection Repairs Severe Spinal Cord Injuries in Mice

    A brighter future could be in store for people with a spinal cord injury if new animal research pans out in humans.

    Mice that were paralyzed due to severe spinal cord damage regained the ability to walk within four weeks of receiving an experimental injectable therapy, say researchers led by Samuel Stupp of Northwestern University in Chicago.

    The research team plans to seek U.S...

    New Technology Restores Movement After Spinal Cord Paralysis

    A motorcycle crash left Michel Roccati with complete lower-body paralysis from a devastating spinal cord injury.

    That was in 2017.

    But now, the Italian native is walking again, courtesy of groundbreaking Swiss research that restores motor function within one day by means of carefully targeted electrical stimulation.

    "At the beginning, I was unable to move the muscles of the l...

    Gun-Related Spinal Cord Injury in Childhood Brings Hardship Later

    Spinal cord injuries in childhood are devastating no matter how they happen, but new research suggests that kids felled by gunshots are even worse off than those who suffer such an injury nonviolently.

    About 13% of spinal cord injuries in U.S. children are gun-related.

    Blood Pressure During Surgery May Be Crucial After Spinal Cord Injury

    Tight blood pressure control -- not too high and not too low -- during surgery for spinal cord injuries may improve patients' outcomes, a new study suggests.

    "Damage to neurons in spinal cord injuries leads to dysregulation of blood pressure, which in turn limits the supply of blood and oxygen to stressed spinal cord tissue, exacerbating spinal neuron death," said co-lead author Abel Torr...

    FDA OKs Virtual Reality System to Ease Back Pain

    A 3-D virtual reality system to treat back pain was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday.

    The EaseVRx system is a prescription device for at-home use that combines cognitive behavioral therapy and other behavioral methods to treat patients 18 and older with chronic lower back pain.

    "Millions of adults in the United States are living with chronic lower back pa...

    Mouse Study Points to Possible Breakthrough Against Spinal Cord Injury

    Severe spinal cord injuries are incurable today in humans, but a new injectable therapy that restored motion in laboratory mice could pave the way for healing paralyzed people.

    The therapy -- liquid nanofibers that gel around the damaged spinal cord like a soothing blanket -- produces chemical signals that promote healing and reduce scarring, researchers report.

    The treatment p...

    One Big Factor for Survival After Spinal Cord Injury: Resilience

    Survivors of spinal cord injuries who develop resilience are able to adapt and thrive despite the challenges, according to a researcher who himself is a resilient survivor.

    "For someone with a cord injury, your margin for surviving even small mistakes when it comes to your health is really thin," said James Krause, professor and associate dean for research in the Medical University of Sou...

    Could Electrode 'Pulses' Cut Back, Leg Pain Without Drugs?

    A new approach to spinal cord stimulation may drastically reduce chronic back pain, a small pilot study suggests.

    The study, of 20 patients with stubborn low back pain, tested the effects of implanting electrodes near the spinal cord to stimulate it with "ultra-low" frequency electrical pulses.

    After two weeks, 90% of the patients were reporting at least an 80% reduction in their pa...

    One Activity Causes 4 Out of 5 Sports-Linked Spinal Injuries

    Football and other contact sports get a lot of attention for their injury hazards. But for most adults, bike riding is the biggest back-breaker, a new study suggests.

    Of more than 12,000 sports-related spinal injuries among U.S. adults, researchers found that a full 81% were due to bicycling mishaps. The injuries mostly included vertebral fractures, often in the neck but also in the middl...

    High-Tech Exoskeletons Improve Bowel Function in People With Spinal Cord Injury

    Digestive issues are common after spinal cord injury and can lead to chronic constipation and incontinence. But robotic exoskeleton-assisted walking can improve matters in people with such injuries, researchers say.

    In an earlier survey, more than a third of men with spinal cord injury said bowel and bladder problems had the most significant effect on their lives after their injury.

    No Evidence Muscle Relaxants Can Ease Low Back Pain

    Although tens of millions of Americans turn to muscle relaxants for lower back pain relief, a new Australian review finds little evidence that such drugs actually work.

    That's the conclusion of a deep-dive into 31 prior investigations, which collectively enlisted more than 6,500 lower back pain patients. Enrolled patients had been treating lower back pain with a wide range of 18 different...

    Can Flotation Tanks Ease Chronic Pain?

    As a means of providing long-term relief from chronic pain, flotation tanks simply don't hold water, new research reveals.

    Nearly 100 people plagued by longstanding pain underwent "flotation restricted environmental stimulation therapy" (REST), and the results were disappointing, at least over the long term, German researchers found.

    The treatment involves floating inside a soundpro...

    Shoulder Pain Can Plague Wheelchair Users, But Their Own Fat Cells Could Be Cure

    People with spinal cord injuries can overwork their shoulders as they move about in a wheelchair, and that often leads to chronic shoulder pain.

    However, a small study suggests that an injection of the patient's own fat cells can help ease the pain.

    The injected cells cushion the joint and may repair it, the researchers explained. Most important, they said that the procedure - calle...

    Biggest Reason Teens Injure Their Spines: Not Wearing Seat Belts

    Two-thirds of spinal fractures suffered by American children and teens occur in car crashes when they aren't wearing seat belts, a new study finds.

    Researchers analyzed data on more than 34,500 U.S. patients younger than 18 who suffered spinal fractures between 2009 and 2014. Teens aged 15 to 17 accounted for about 63% of the spinal fractures, two-thirds of which occurred in motor vehicle...

    These Factors Could Lead to a Real Pain in the Neck

    Neck pain? Poor posture can cause it, but may not be the only reason why, new research suggests.

    Lifestyle is a key culprit -- particularly long periods of time spent hunched over handheld devices or working on computers. So a team at Texas A&M University set out to learn just how big a part personal factors play in neck pain.

    The researchers conducted a series of experiments in whi...

    Drug Shows Promise Against Rare Condition That Stunts Kids' Growth

    A new medication may offer hope to children with achondroplasia, a rare bone growth disorder that causes very short stature coupled with disproportionate limb and trunk size.

    The experimental drug is called vosoritide. By tamping down overactive growth plate signaling that impedes bone growth, the drug seeks to offer affected children the possibility of greater height and improved proport...

    Stem Cell Injections Show Early Promise Against Spinal Cord Injuries

    Spinal cord injuries can be devastating to the more than 17,000 Americans who suffer them each year. But many patients may have new reason for hope: Early research suggests infusions of stem cells could help them regain lost sensation and movement.

    These improvements may occur within days or weeks of receiving the stem cell therapy, and can last at least six months, according to the small...

    Fetal Surgery Is Changing Lives for Kids With Spina Bifida

    Spina bifida is a diagnosis no parents-to-be want to hear as they await their child's birth, and the idea of performing surgery on a baby while it is still in the womb can be terrifying. But new research shows that performing the delicate procedure before the baby is born, and not after, is worth it.

    The findings showed that children with myelomeningocele (the most severe form of spina bi...

    Nerve Drug Might Curb Spinal Cord Damage, Mouse Study Suggests

    The nerve pain drug gabapentin might reduce damage after a spinal cord injury, research in mice suggests.

    The drug prevented harmful structural changes in injured spinal cords, as well as cardiovascular changes and immune suppression caused by spinal cord injury, according to the study.

    "Gabapentin is often prescribed as a treatment for pain, but if it is given early after injury --...

    Brain May Age Faster After Spinal Cord Injury

    A new study supports the theory that people who suffer a spinal cord injury may also have accelerated brain aging that affects how fast they process information.

    Those "cognitive deficits" are similar to those in older adults, according to research from the nonprofit Kessler Foundation in New Jersey.

    Individuals with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI) have an increased risk for cognit...

    Simple Move May Boost Spinal Fusion Outcomes

    WEDNESDAY, Nov 25, 2020 (HealthDay) -- A new approach that could revolutionize spinal fusion surgery does away with the need to "flip" patients from their back or side onto their stomach midway through the operation -- a switch researchers say dramatically improves outcomes.

    The new technique -- dubbed Single Position Lumbar Surgery (SPLS) -- lets surgeons complete the entire spinal fusio...

    AHA News: Strokes in the Spine Are Rare – But Dangerous

    Weighing in at about the same as when he graduated high school, Brian Muscarella, 62, eats a healthy diet and enjoys plenty of physical activity. Indeed, he has completed the New York City Marathon four times.

    But at 53, Muscarella's life changed dramatically when he had a spinal stroke, which accounts for just over 1% of all strokes.

    "I had great blood work, I was in shape,...

    What Works Best to Ease the Pain of Sciatica?

    Surgery can cut pain intensity by more than half among patients struggling with long-term sciatica, researchers report.

    "Sciatica is the symptom of pain that radiates down the leg and is caused by compression of a nerve root in the spinal canal by a disc herniation," explained study author Dr. Chris Bailey. He's an associate professor of surgery with the Bone and Joint Institute at We...

    Doctors' Ratings Tank When Patients Are Kept Waiting: Study

    Tick-tock: A long delay in the waiting room annoys some patients so much that they give their doctors lower ratings, a new study finds.

    "Waiting to see the doctor is not like waiting in line for a fun ride at Disney World," said senior author Dr. Oren Gottfried, a professor of neurosurgery at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C.

    He and his colleagues analyzed 1...

    Shovel That Snow, but Spare Your Back

    Almost everyone gets stuck shoveling snow at some point during the winter. To prevent back pain and strain, one spinal expert has some advice.

    Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Srinivasu Kusuma, from the University of Chicago Medicine Medical Group, noted it's all in the precautions you take before you tackle your snow-covered driveway.

    • Decide if it's safe to shovel. If y...

    Spinal Fusion Outcomes Worse for Black Patients, Large Study Finds

    Black Americans who have lower spinal fusion surgery have more complications, spend more time in the hospital and have higher costs than white patients, new research shows.

    For the study, the researchers analyzed the discharge records of nearly 268,000 patients in California, Florida, New York, Maryland and Kentucky who had this common surgery from 2007 through 2014.

    Of thos...

    Patients, Not Hospitals, Most Important to Spinal Fusion Outcomes

    Individual patient characteristics -- not the quality of care provided by surgeons and hospitals -- account for most differences in spinal fusion surgery outcomes, according to a new study.

    The study included 737 patients, average age 63, who had spinal fusion surgery at 17 U.S. hospitals between 2012 and 2018. Fifty-eight surgeons did the operations.

    One year after surgery...

    Cause of Paralyzing Illness in Kids Remains Elusive

    There is still no clear cause for a mysterious paralytic condition that has been striking U.S. children over the past five years, government health officials report.

    Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspect that a virus of some kind is the culprit. But the specific germ causing the outbreaks remains unknown, according to the report published online Oc...

    Life in Space May Take Toll on Spinal Muscles

    Astronauts tend to complain of back pain after returning to Earth. Now, researchers think they can explain that discomfort.

    Long stays in space can cause spinal muscles to shrink and become more fatty, they found.

    In some of those muscles, increased fat levels last for years, said study author Katelyn Burkhart, of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and her colleagues.