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.
- “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.
Researchers regenerate sound-sensing cells in the ears of mice with hearing damage
(Science Codex) – One of the major causes of hearing loss in mammals is damage to the sound-sensing hair cells in the inner ear. For years, scientists have thought that these cells are not replaced once they’re lost, but new research appearing online February 20 in the journal Stem Cell Reports reveals that supporting cells in the ear can turn into hair cells in newborn mice. If the findings can be applied to older animals, they may lead to ways to help stimulate cell replacement in adults and to the design of new treatment strategies for people suffering from deafness due to hair cell loss.
February 19, 2014
(Nature) – Psychologists in the United States are already designing a modified version called the Diagnostic Adaptive Behavior Scale, the first evidence-based, adaptive behaviour test designed specifically for young people with a low IQ. Relevant to the debate over mental dysfunction and the death penalty, it assesses traits such as gullibility and the ability to solve social problems. Properly administered, it could determine awareness for courts better than existing tests of IQ.
February 18, 2014
View on disability: Trials exclude vulnerable people
(Sci Dev Net) – Fisher’s solution is what she calls the ‘goodness-of-fit’ ethic, an approach she developed and which, she says, has gained approval among her colleagues. The idea is that researchers should adapt the way in which they obtain informed consent to the intellectual strengths and vulnerabilities of the individuals they are recruiting.
February 13, 2014
Big gains made on women’s health, but access still unequal, says UN
(The Guardian) – Efforts to ensure women’s access to family planning, and to reduce the number of maternal and child deaths, have achieved significant results over the past 20 years, but progress has been unequal and fragmented, according to the UN. The number of women dying in pregnancy or childbirth has dropped by almost half, and total global fertility rates have fallen by nearly a quarter. But access to health services remains patchy, particularly in rural areas of Africa, Latin America and parts of Asia, and sex discrimination remains deeply entrenched.
February 7, 2014
Diuretic drug prevents autism in mice and rats
(Nature) – Children with autism typically begin showing obvious symptoms, such as trouble making eye contact and slow language development, a year or more after birth. A study in mice and rats now hints that prenatal drug treatment could head off these problems. The findings, reported today in Science, do not suggest that autism spectrum disorders can be prevented in children. But researchers not involved in the study say that they add support to a controversial clinical trial suggesting that some children with autism benefited from taking a common diuretic medication called bumetanide.
February 6, 2014
Schizophrenia: Talking therapies ‘effective as drugs’
(BBC) – Changing the way people think about and deal with schizophrenia could be as effective as drugs, say researchers. Cognitive behavioural therapy is an officially recommended treatment, but is available to less than 10% of patients in the UK with schizophrenia. A study published in the Lancet indicates CBT could help the many who refuse antipsychotic medication. Experts say larger trials are needed.
February 5, 2014
An artificial arm gives one man the chance to feel again
(NPR) – With a standard prosthetic, Sorensen can’t feel anything he’s holding or touching. So when he heard about an experimental prosthetic that would let him feel again, he jumped at the chance to try it. “First of all I was thinking, this, this can’t be true,” he says. But it was, and Sorensen traveled to Rome to become the first person to try it.
Shooting pills at bipolar disorder
(The Atlantic) – Between 1996 and 2006 the average number of prescriptions continued to increase, 40 percent over that decade. The number of patients on three or more psychotropic medications more than doubled. All of this happened without clinical research to show that combining three or more medications was effective.
The genetics of developmental disabilities
(San Francisco Gate) – On April 14, 2003 the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), the Department of Energy (DOE) and their partners in the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium announced the successful completion of the Human Genome Project. What has this project help us understand the genetics of developmental disabilities? I asked Genetics Counselor Kim Barr of Kaiser Permanente to answer this and other questions about the genetics of autism and other developmental disabilities.
Helping young adults with neurodevelopmental disabilities
(Medical Xpress) – In a study published today by the medical journal Paediatrics & Child Health, IRCM researchers address shortcomings in transitional care in the Canadian healthcare system. The team led by Eric Racine and Emily Bell, Montréal neuroethics experts, identified important challenges in the transition from paediatric to adult health care, especially among youth with neurodevelopmental disabilities (such as autism spectrum disorders, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and cerebral palsy).
February 4, 2014
Ethics questions arise as genetic testing of embryos increases
(New York Times) – Genetic testing of embryos has been around for more than a decade, but its use has soared in recent years as methods have improved and more disease-causing genes have been discovered. The in vitro fertilization and testing are expensive — typically about $20,000 — but they make it possible for couples to ensure that their children will not inherit a faulty gene and to avoid the difficult choice of whether to abort a pregnancy if testing of a fetus detects a genetic problem.
First study tracking stem cell treatment for children with spinal cord injuries shows potential benefit
(PR Web) – Previous studies have shown that multiple stem cell implantations might assist adults suffering from complete spinal cord injuries (SCI). Now a groundbreaking study released today in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine shows for the first time that children with SCI might benefit, too.
February 3, 2014
As peanut allergies rise, trying to determine a cause
(New York Times) – In a recent study of 8,205 children, 140 of whom had allergies to nuts, researchers found that children whose nonallergic mothers had the highest consumption of peanuts or tree nuts, or both, during pregnancy had the lowest risk of developing a nut allergy. The risk was most reduced among the children of mothers who ate nuts five or more times a month.
January 31, 2014
Event: Disability Rights Leadership Institute on Bioethics
Sponsors: National Disability Leadership Alliance, Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Not Dead Yet
Disability Rights Leadership Institute on Bioethics
April 25 and 26, 2014
Crystal City Marriott
See here for registration information.