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April 17, 2014

A Fine Balance: Disability, Discrimination, and Public Safety

(The Conversation) – A recent discrimination case has highlighted the difficulty of balancing the rights of disabled medical students with the rights of the community to safe medical and health care. In the BKY v The University of Newcastle, a New South Wales tribunal found the university had discriminated against a medical student by refusing her an extension to complete the five-year medical course beyond the usual maximum of eight years.

April 15, 2014

Pressure Sensors to Help Prevent Pain for Amputees

(BBC) – Researchers have developed a new type of pressure sensor – dubbed a “second skin” – which they say could prevent dangerous sores. The technology is being developed initially for amputees who suffer rubbing against their artificial limbs. If the Southampton University work is successful the sensors may also be used for others at risk, such as wheelchair-users and those confined to bed.

Pregnant Women Who Took Antidepressants Linked to Higher Autism Risk in Boys

(UPI) – Boys, whose mothers took antidepressants such as Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac or Zoloft while pregnant, were almost three times more likely to have autism spectrum disorder.  Rebecca A. Harrington and Li-Ching Lee of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dr. Rosa M. Crum of Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Dr. Andrew W. Zimmerman of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Irva Hertz-Picciotto of the University of California, Davis, said the study involved a total of 966 mother-child pairs.

April 9, 2014

Could Gene Therapy Switch Off Paralysis?

(The Epoch Times) – Researchers have identified a coding gene that has a profound effect on the central nervous system. They say the finding could shed light on paralysis, stroke, and other disorders of the central nervous system, including Alzheimer’s disease. Coding genes contain DNA sequences that are used to assign functions required for development and maintenance within a cell. These coding genes articulate how a fingernail grows, help develop nerve cells responsible for chewing, and are vital in helping the spinal cord facilitate movement in arms or legs.

April 8, 2014

Paralysed Men Move again with Spinal Stimulation

(BBC) – Four paralysed men have been able to move their legs for the first time in years after electrical stimulation of their spinal cords, US doctors report. They were able to flex their toes, ankles and knees – but could not walk independently. A report, in the journal Brain, suggests the electricity makes the spinal cord more receptive to the few messages still arriving from the brain.

April 4, 2014

‘Transhumanists’ Are Planning to Upload Your Mind to a Memory Stick…

(The Telegraph) – The first Cybathlon, an Olympics for robot assisted parathletes, will take place in Switzerland in October 2016. For people with disabilities who are using advanced technologies – robotic limbs or brain-computer interfaces – to compete. The “Transhumanists” are overjoyed. As the name implies, Transhumanists are people who want us to become “beyond human”. It’s an umbrella term for a broad family of ideas united by the vision that technology now, or at least soon will, allow us to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.

April 2, 2014

Robot Exoskeleton Lets Girl Lift Her Arms, Reach for the Stars

(ABC News) – The WREX uses special elastic bands to give a child’s arm a weightless feeling. “The mechanism is similar to how a luxo lamp works to make it ‘effortless’ to move and position the head of the lamp,” says Sample. It’s a life-changing device, and one that’s benefitted hugely from 3-D printing. Producing components on site by printing them layer by layer greatly reduces the time it takes to create a WREX.

Their Bodies Shattered by War, Some Syrians Adjust to New Life with Prosthesis

(Associated Press) – Syria’s civil war, which entered its fourth year last month, has killed more than 150,000 people, but an often overlooked figure is the number of wounded: more than 500,000, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. An untold number of those – there’s no reliable estimate – suffered traumatic injuries that have left them physically handicapped.

March 28, 2014

New York Council Sees Flawed Mental Health System

(New York Times) – At a hearing, council members expressed frustration with the city’s Correction Department over increasing violence at Rikers and a culture of neglect they said was a factor in Mr. Murdough’s death. But the council members said the failings went beyond the jail system and involved the city’s inadequate mental health system, which often leaves police with little choice but to jail mentally ill people who are arrested.

March 27, 2014

Easing Epilepsy with Battery Power

(New York Times) – Cases of intractable epilepsy rarely have happy endings, but today Mr. Ramsey is seizure-free. A novel battery-powered device implanted in his skull, its wires threaded into his brain, tracks its electrical activity and quells impending seizures. At night, he holds a sort of wand to his head and downloads brain data from the device to a laptop for his doctors to review.

March 19, 2014

The Next Big Thing You Missed: 3-D Printing Promises Better Bionic Limbs for the War-Wounded

(Wired) – But at the famed MIT Media Lab, the 27-year-old doctoral student is now using 3-D printing and advanced math to create a new kind of artificial limb he believes can significantly improve the lives of amputees in Sierra Leone and across the rest of the world. Sengeh relies on data-backed digital models to fashion prosthetics that he says better match the contours of the human body. And because these prosthetics are fabricated by 3-D printers, he says, they become far easier to produce.

March 14, 2014

Focus on disability: Disaster aid should reach everyone

(Sci Dev Net) – People with impairments suffer disproportionately when a humanitarian disaster strikes. There is a long history of disabled people being excluded from humanitarian crisis responses — confirmed by rare research studies after the 2004/5 Tsunami crisis and by reviews of data from other disasters in the past decade. Additionally, many people become newly impaired in humanitarian crises, especially natural disasters and war.

March 11, 2014

From boomers to seniors, 2 of every 100 Americans now have artificial hips, knees, study finds

(Associated Press) – It’s not just grandma with a new hip and your uncle with a new knee. More than 2 of every 100 Americans now have an artificial joint, doctors are reporting. Among those over 50, it’s even more common: Five percent have replaced a knee and more than 2 percent, a hip. “They are remarkable numbers,” said Dr. Daniel J. Berry, chairman of orthopedic surgery at the Mayo Clinic. Roughly 7 million people in the United States are living with a total hip or knee replacement.

March 10, 2014

Recession has heightened euthanaisa ‘danger’ to disabled and elderly, claims peer

(The Telegraph) – The threat to frail elderly and disabled people from relatives tempted to get rid of them under the guise of euthanasia has grown “dramatically” in the wake of the economic downturn, one of Britain’s most prominent disability campaigners has claimed. Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, who suffers from a degenerative illness, issued an impassioned plea in the House of Lords against moves to further relax Britain’s laws on assisted suicide.

March 6, 2014

Bionic arm gives cyborg drummer superhuman skills

(New Scientist) – JASON BARNES had wanted to be a professional drummer since he was a teenager. But when he lost his arm in a freak accident he thought his dream was over. Now he has a second chance at the big time – thanks to a brand new robotic arm. Barnes lost the lower half of his right arm two years ago, after getting an electric shock while cleaning a vent hood in a restaurant. But he refused to give up on his musical dream, so he built a simple drumming device out of a brace and some springs that attached to his arm.

New findings on neurogenesis in the spinal cord

(Medical News Today) – Research from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden suggests that the expression of the so called MYC gene is important and necessary for neurogenesis in the spinal cord. The findings are being published in the journal EMBO Reports. The MYC gene encodes the protein with the same name, and has an important role in many cellular processes such as proliferation, metabolism, cell death and the potential of differentiation from immature stem cells to different types of specialized cells. Importantly it is also one of the most frequently activated genes in human cancer.

March 4, 2014

Study: Rates of many mental disorders much higher in soldiers than in civilians

(CNN) – The largest study of mental-health risk ever conducted among the U.S. military has found that many soldiers suffer from some form of mental illness, and rates of many of these disorders are much higher in soldiers than in civilians. The study’s findings, related to suicide attempts and deaths, were released in a series of three reports published in this week’s edition of JAMA Psychiatry. Authors noted the differences in disorder rates to be significant.

February 28, 2014

Many countries lack capacity to prevent and treat hearing loss

(World Health Organization) – Many of the countries who responded to a new WHO survey lack the capacity to prevent and care for hearing loss, according to a report published on International Ear Care Day, 3 March. WHO estimates that over 5% of the world’s population – 360 million people – has disabling hearing loss. The highest prevalence is found in the Asia Pacific, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. About half of all cases of hearing loss worldwide are easily prevented or treated.

Phantom limb pain relieved when amputated arm is put back to work (w/ video)

(Medical Xpress) – Max Ortiz Catalan, researcher at Chalmers University of Technology, has developed a new method for the treatment of phantom limb pain (PLP) after an amputation. The method is based on a unique combination of several technologies, and has been initially tested on a patient who has suffered from severe phantom limb pain for 48 years. A case study shows a drastic reduction of pain.

February 25, 2014

A New Edition of Clinical Case Studies is Available

Clinical Case Studies (Volume 13, No. 2, April 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for an Arab College Student With Social Phobia and Depression” by Crystal C. McIndoo and Derek R. Hopko
  • “The Use of Videoconference in the Treatment of Panic Disorder With Agoraphobia in a Housebound Woman: A Case Study” by Danielle Lindner, et al.
  • “Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention in a Case of Self-Mutilation” by Paul R. King
  • “Simplified Habit Reversal and Treatment Fading for Chronic Skin Picking in an Adolescent With Autism” by Rachel N. S. Cavalari, et al.

February 21, 2014

Caring for the Alzheimer’s Caregiver

(New York Times) – Mr. Divinigracia could easily have been the subject of one of the 54 stories in a new book, “Support for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers: The Unsung Heroes,” by Judith L. London. Dr. London is a psychologist in San Jose, Calif., whose first book, “Connecting the Dots: Breakthroughs in Communication as Alzheimer’s Advances,” broadened her contacts with family and professional caregivers facing, and often solving, everyday problems related to dementia.


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