Possible new treatment for spinal cord injuries identified in animal studies

An experimental drug has shown promise as a potential therapy for spinal cord injuries in animal studies.

The compound, 4-aminopyridine-3-methanol, works in a similar way as a drug previously developed at Purdue, 4-aminopyridine (4-AP), which has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat multiple sclerosis.

Dr. Riyi Shi, professor in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, who was involved in the development of both drugs, compared the two compounds in both cell cultures and animal models.

“For the first time, 4-aminopyridine-3-methanol is shown to restore function in chronic spinal cord injuries,” he says. “It also reduces neuropathic pain to a greater degree than 4-AP.

Full story at Medical Xpress

What’s the truth about chiropractors?

Chiropractors attend graduate-level health colleges to treat disorders of the bones, nerves, muscles, and ligaments. They graduate as doctors of chiropractic degrees, but they are not medical doctors.

While chiropractors are widely known for treating back and neck pain, they also treat bone and soft tissue conditions.

In this article, we explore myths and truths of chiropractic care. We also describe the training that chiropractors undergo, how safe these treatments may be, and the research behind the practice.

Full story at Medical News Today

Surgical technique improves sensation, control of prosthetic limb

Humans can accurately sense the position, speed, and torque of their limbs, even with their eyes shut. This sense, known as proprioception, allows humans to precisely control their body movements.

Despite significant improvements to prosthetic devices in recent years, researchers have been unable to provide this essential sensation to people with artificial limbs, limiting their ability to accurately control their movements.

Researchers at the Center for Extreme Bionics at the MIT Media Lab have invented a new neural interface and communication paradigm that is able to send movement commands from the central nervous system to a robotic prosthesis, and relay proprioceptive feedback describing movement of the joint back to the central nervous system in return.

Full story at Medical Xpress

Home-based telehealth therapy program effective for stroke rehabilitation, shows study

In-home rehabilitation, using a telehealth system and supervised by licensed occupational/physical therapists, is an effective means of improving arm motor status in stroke survivors, according to findings presented by University of California, Irvine neurologist Steven C. Cramer, MD, at the recent 2018 European Stroke Organisation Conference in Gothenburg, Sweden.

“Motor deficits are a major contributor to post-stroke disability, and we know that occupational and physical therapy improve patient outcomes in a supervised rehabilitation program,” said Cramer, a professor of neurology in the UCI School of Medicine. “Since many patients receive suboptimal therapy doses for reasons that include cost, availability, and difficulty with travel, we wanted to determine whether a comprehensive in-home telehealth therapy program could be as effective as in-clinic rehabilitation.”

Full story at News Medical

Physical Therapy May Help Loosen Up Patients with Scleroderma

Physical therapy may be used to help alleviate some of the symptoms of scleroderma, reduce pain associated with the condition, and improve mobility, according to a news article that appears in Scleroderma News.

Physical therapy exercises could help stretch the skin, muscles, and joints affected by scleroderma. Doing so could help improve the patient’s posture, increase the range of movements that a patient can perform, as well as prevent the loss of muscle mass and strength.

Performing physical therapy could also reduce other symptoms of scleroderma, including gastrointestinal, lymph node, and nervous system problems, the news story continues.

Full story at ptproductsonline.com

How is psoriatic arthritis different from osteoarthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis and osteoarthritis are types of arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that happens to some people who have psoriasis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that occurs when the cartilage at the end of the bone wears away.

Arthritis is a term used to describe over 100 conditions that cause joint pain or joint damage. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis, affecting over 30 million Americans.

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and OA share some common symptoms, but there are also some key differences between the conditions.

Full story at Medical News Today

Failed arthritis drug may prevent opioid addiction

A drug already proven safe for use in people may prevent opioid tolerance and physical dependence when used in combination with opioid-based pain medications, according to a new study in mice.

Researchers have discovered that a compound previously tested to treat osteoarthritis pain appears to block neuropathic pain and decrease signs of opioid dependence.

When drug manufacturer Eli Lilly and Co. conducted human trials of the drug to treat osteoarthritis pain, they found that the drug lacked efficacy. Researchers had not, however, tested the drug’s use in treating other kinds of pain and lessening opioid dependence.

Full story at Futurity

New robotic system interacts with rehabilitation patients to improve task performance

Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Beer-Sheva, Israel have demonstrated for the first time the feasibility of a robotic system that plays Tic Tac Toe with rehabilitation patients to improve real-life task performance.

The interdisciplinary research team designed a game with a robotic arm to simulate “3D Functional Activities of Daily Living”–actions people undertake daily, like drinking from a cup, that are often a focus of rehabilitation. Click here to watch the video.

Designing a social robot to help rehabilitate a patient is a new field which requires much research and experimentation in order to determine the optimal conditions. The research was published in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience.

Full story at news-medical.net

Brushing up on stroke symptoms might mean saving a life

How stroke-aware are you?

Perhaps you know the warning signs — sudden numbness on one side of the body, trouble speaking, sudden blurred vision, trouble walking — or know someone who has experienced a stroke.

There’s never a bad time to brush up on stroke awareness, and May — National Stroke Awareness Month — is a good time to get up to speed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke is our fifth-leading cause of death, accounting for 140,000 fatalities each year. It’s also largely preventable. Although things such as family history and age can increase stroke risk, up to 80 percent of strokes can be sidestepped with lifestyle changes that include controlling blood pressure and quitting smoking.

Full story at The Washington Post

Prosthetic arms can provide controlled sensory feedback

Losing an arm doesn’t have to mean losing all sense of touch, thanks to prosthetic arms that stimulate nerves with mild electrical feedback.

University of Illinois researchers have developed a control algorithm that regulates the current so a prosthetics user feels steady sensation, even when the electrodes begin to peel off or when sweat builds up.

“We’re giving sensation back to someone who’s lost their hand. The idea is that we no longer want the prosthetic hand to feel like a tool, we want it to feel like an extension of the body,” said Aadeel Akhtar, an M.D./Ph.D. student in the neuroscience program and the medical scholars program at the University of Illinois. Akhtar is the lead author of a paper describing the sensory control module, published in Science Robotics, and the founder and CEO of PSYONIC, a startup company that develops low-cost bionic arms.

Full story at Science Daily