28 December 2009

Yoga instructor takes scoliosis to the mat

Published Sunday, Dec. 27, 2009

To see Kim Wagaman on a yoga mat – her supple spine stretched, her limbs angled with apparent aplomb – is to witness a body perfectly aligned and in harmony with itself.

She's a yoga instructor, after all, so such flexibility is a given, right?

Not in her case. Wagaman, 34, who grew up in Carmichael and teaches classes at the Yoga Solution and elsewhere in Sacramento, once was so restricted by scoliosis that she spent most of her teenage years in a neck-high brace.

The curvature made her spine look like a winding country road, veering right in the upper thoracic region, swerving left in the lumbar area. She also had a smaller curve high in her neck and was showing the beginnings of kyphosis, a rounding of the shoulders.

"I made a conscious effort to hide the back of my body," Wagaman recalls. "I'd enter a room at a party and position myself with my back to the wall. There was all this insecurity and denial. And there's this drive to fix the issue."

In Wagaman's case, that drive put her on an unusual path to confronting the condition. Her parents already had ruled out spinal-fusion surgery as too invasive.

So as a junior in high school, Wagaman chose to send the cumbersome "Milwaukee" brace, which she had worn 23 hours a day, to the back of her closet and look for more promising alternatives.

For her, the better way turned out to be yoga. In her early 20s, Wagaman started practicing poses and movements with Jennifer Sadugar, founder of the Yoga Solution in east Sacramento. That led Wagaman to study under Palo Alto-based yoga master Elise Miller, the leading practitioner of yoga for people with scoliosis.

Over time, Wagaman found that tweaks to standard yoga poses – a change of hand positioning, a more pronounced shoulder twist, a deepening of breath – not only eased pain but strengthened muscles around the spine and led to better structural alignment.

The weight bearing down on her left leg no longer is heavier than on her right side. One hip no longer is higher. Wagaman has trained the right side of her rib cage to return to a standard position.

Her spinal curve hasn't gone away, of course, but Wagaman firmly believes her adherence to yoga has delayed further complications and has taken away whatever bodily limitations she had.

Now, with a 500-hour yoga teaching certificate, Wagaman offers Yoga for Scoliosis workshops. (The next four-week series starts Jan. 10 at the Yoga Solution.) A big part of the classes involves mastering variations on classic yoga poses, such as the downward-facing dog, the triangle and the puppy pose. But there also is an emotional component.

"A lot of us have the concept from our society and culture that we're deformed, not right as we are," she says. "We try to work through that. You have to accept that your practice is going to be different than others' in terms of poses and expressions.

"As your awareness becomes more finely tuned, you begin to sense where you are in space, feel more keenly what your body is doing."

Sacramentan Mary Lau, 54, who has had severe scoliosis since high school and suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, says taking Wagaman's classes over the past year has helped both conditions. She says the 51-degree curve in her back has improved by 8 degrees in a recent measurement.

"It really makes a difference," says Lau, a retired scientist with the state Environmental Protection Agency. "I have an S-shaped curve that pinches one of the nerves in the lumbar spine. So a lot of those stretching poses, like the puppy pose, will help my pain. Doing that for a few minutes will give me relief and put pressure off the nerve."

What might surprise some students, Wagaman says, is how subtle changes in the poses can ease pain.

Take the standard puppy pose, a spine-lengthening movement in which one begins on all fours with arms extended to the front and moves the buttocks toward the heels while dropping the forehead toward the mat.

"For scoliosis, I'll have people walk their hands over to the left and then draw the hips back and drop the right side down a little bit and breathe into the left side," Wagaman says.

The standard triangle pose differs more significantly. After spreading the legs, those with right thoracic scoliosis will steady their left arm on a chair and, instead of reaching up with their right arm to stretch, will bring their hand to the rib cage.

"You'll try to draw the ribs in toward the body," Wagaman says.

A downward-facing dog pose has the most subtle change. When arms are extended in mid-pose, you "swivel the right palm out to draw that side of the scapula (shoulder blade) in," Wagaman says. "It's sort of an 'aha' thing. Students with scoliosis will feel a lot more comfortable that way."

Comfort and healing, of course, are precisely what Wagaman's scoliosis patients seek.

"This yoga is the best form of pain management I've tried," Lau says.


What: Instructor Kim Wagaman will lead a four-week Sunday series on Yoga for Scoliosis

When: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Jan. 10 to Feb. 7 (no class Jan. 17)

Where: The Yoga Solution, 887 57th St., Sacramento

Cost: $70 by Dec. 30, $80 thereafter

Information: (916) 383-7933

For information on other classes Wagaman teaches: www.yogaquest.wordpress.com.

Wish Book: Giving Brandon a voice

By Melinda Sacks

for the Mercury News

Unlike his peers, though, he can't say most of what is on his mind. When he tries, what comes out are moans and grunts, unintelligible to all but close family members and caregivers.

The tall, handsome young man loves gospel music, cell phones, Taco Bell and knit polo shirts that show off his broad shoulders. But the inability to speak is a frustrating fact of life for Hills and his mom, Evelyn Glasper. Having a conversation is a lot of work — still, they both try.

"He'll go and get my purse and it is his way of saying, 'Let's go out!'"Š" says Glasper, a single mother who is on disability for chronic back pain and depression. "People underestimate how much he understands and how much he can communicate. It's just that sometimes I am the only one who can understand him. And it is really frustrating for him."

Born with cerebral palsy, Hills struggles with the most basic tasks. An in-home caregiver must be with him at all times, helping with everything from getting dressed to taking a shower. He can walk, but has problems with balance, so a helping hand often is necessary.

The cozy living room of the family home in East Palo Alto is a virtual photo gallery of Hills and other family members, many of whom live in Evelyn Glasper's home state, Louisiana. Over the mantel is a framed painting of a man stepping off a cliff, into the air above what might be an ocean.

"That image is about blind faith," Evelyn says. "Knowing God is there."

Going to church is one of Hills' favorite outings, she says. He loves to get dressed up and is so fond of it that they go to their own church on Saturdays and with friends to another church on Sundays.

"We've been friends since he was very small," says Jennifer Jackson, Hills' daily caregiver, a neighbor and friend who is often at the house.

Brandon's affection for her is obvious as he gives her a kiss on the cheek and sits by her side as she talks.

"Brandon's 24 and his mom is over 60, so it is important we get a means for him to communicate with other people," Jackson says. "It is every mother's fear that they will leave their children. The more we get Brandon ready to be independent in the world, the more secure his mom would feel. We want to be sure he has the ability to live a good quality of life."

What would make life easier for Hills and his mother is a speech-generating electronic communication device that would allow him to point to scenes and symbols that represent what he wants to say. Donations in increments of $50 will go toward its $3,285 purchase price.

A sturdy tricycle customized for Hills' special needs ($1,369) would help him have more mobility. And gift cards ($25 each) for clothes or music would be much appreciated.

Hills doesn't sit around feeling sorry for himself. He approaches each day with enthusiasm and a grin.

When it is time to leave for his "school" — an adult care center in Menlo Park where he goes weekdays — he's is all smiles, grabbing his navy backpack and heading to the car.

Using Wii As Therapy

22 December 2009

Comfort zones

Jo Wadham

Baby Reflex is based on the idea that applying pressure to different areas on the foot can help the body heal itself.

Reflexology, an alternative therapy based on the belief that certain parts of the foot correspond to different parts of the body, has been practised in India, Egypt and China since ancient times. Now a new course designed for babies, Baby Reflex, aims to give parents techniques for dealing with childhood problems such as colic and teething pain.Reflexologists maintain that by applying pressure to different areas on the foot, they can help the body heal itself by unblocking energy pathways.
Sceptics may wonder how pressing on a part of their foot can help their sinus problems, but while they may not be able to prove that it works, practitioners and many of their clients insist that reflexology has helped them, either in terms of relaxation or by alleviating a specific condition. In a paper published in the journal Neuroscience Letters last year, Japanese researchers said that reflexology has a physical effect on the body. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging of the brain, the researchers found that applying pressure to the zones of the foot relating to the eyes, shoulder and small intestine resulted in the stimulation of the corresponding areas of the brain. The researchers also looked at previous neurological studies carried out in relation to acupuncture. “Those results indicated that reflexology had some effects that were not simply sensory stimulation. Our results support that claim,” they said.

Jenny Lee is a chartered physiotherapist and reflexologist who spent more than 15 years working with UK doctors and children with asthma. One study, funded by Prince Charles’s Foundation for Integrated Medicine, monitored 47 asthmatic children who were given a weekly session of reflexology. “Not only was their asthma reduced, but we found some interesting side effects,” Lee says. “One was that their sleep improved. Their morning peak-flow reading [lung function test] was miles higher than usual. We also found that the children started joining in with their family’s interests and were nicer to their parents; they were bonding much more with their family.”

Spurred on by these results, Lee launched Baby Reflex in 2006. There are now Baby Reflex therapists working in Australia, Ireland, Spain, France, Turkey, Japan and the UAE.Lee says one of the advantages of reflexology over other alternative treatments such as acupuncture is that it is not painful. “Reflexology is something babies enjoy and is entirely pleasurable. It has a wonderful effect on babies. It calms and relaxes them. It’s not an ‘either/or’ with massage; they are great complementary treatments.”

According to Lee, Baby Reflex not only helps parents bond with their children, but it can also help with childhood issues such as colic, reflux and ear congestion. It also boosts the immune system. Shirley Ali trained with Lee and is now teaching Baby Reflex to small classes at The Club in Abu Dhabi. Ali is a trained aromatherapist, beauty therapist, masseuse and Reiki master and has been practising reflexology in the UK and in the UAE for more than 20 years.

Each course of classes lasts three weeks and is suitable for babies aged one month to two years. “The idea is to make it bite-sized,” Ali says, “because when you are a new mother you can’t take in as much information, and it’s not fair to keep the baby there too long.”Parents learn the reflexology techniques by practising on each other’s feet before trying the movements on their babies. “Baby reflexology works in the same way as reflexology for adults, but you have to take into account the size of the baby’s foot and the pressure you can apply,” Ali says.

Jane Miller, a Briton who has lived in Abu Dhabi for three years, has just finished a Baby Reflex course with Ali and has been using her new skills on her 10-week-old baby, Alice. Miller enrolled in the course in the hope that reflexology might help Alice’s colic, but says she knew at the very least that Alice would benefit from the relaxation aspect of the sessions. “Having experienced reflexology and knowing how lovely and relaxing it was, I wanted to do the same for Alice,” Miller says. She continues to use reflexology on Alice now that the course has finished, but there are some practical challenges. “Her feet are so small and she constantly pulls them away from me. She has tiny feet and I feel very clumsy doing it.”

Despite this, Miller thinks the reflexology may have had an effect. “She is definitely much more settled now and the colic is better. Whether this is coincidence because she is simply maturing, I don’t know, but I enjoy doing it and it’s another tool in the box.”In the first week of Ali’s course, parents are taught how to use reflexology to assist their baby’s feeding and digestion. Ali holds up diagrams of a baby’s feet with the relevant zones marked on them. Ali says one of the most helpful areas of the foot for parents to become familiar with is the calming zone just under the pad of the big toe. “Just use the knuckle of your little finger to apply a small amount of pressure, brushing down this area,” she says. Parents are also taught how to manipulate the areas relating to reflux and colic relief.

In week two, Ali explains how to help babies sleep or calm down. As well as the big toe calming zone, parents are taught the relax stroke down the inner arch of the foot from toe to heel. The final week covers general well-being. Parents learn the strokes for relieving teething pain, sinus pain, blocked ears and even insect stings. “The thing about baby reflexology is that it is portable, much more so than baby massage where you need to lie your baby down in the warmth,” Ali says. “You can do it while they are sitting in the trolley at the supermarket. If the baby is agitated or crying, you can just take their shoe off and press on the area relating to calming.”

The treatment time is brief. Ali recommends limiting each session to five minutes and not doing more than three sessions in 24 hours. Laura Dempsey, another of Ali’s students, agrees that the ease with which you can do reflexology is appealing. She has just returned from a trip home to the UK with her 15-week-old son, Hugo. “It was really useful in the plane,” says Dempsey, who lives in Abu Dhabi with her husband and two other children, aged three and two. “I did the calming one on the flight and he didn’t cry too much. It’s better than resorting to chemical medication.”
Dempsey, like Miller, was drawn to the course partly as a result of her positive experiences with reflexology treatments. “I had reflexology with Shirley when I was pregnant with Hugo,” she says. “I had a bad back, but the reflexology cleared it for the rest of my pregnancy. Reflexology is good for making you feel in balance. I came out feeling less heavy and more aligned.”She decided to try it on her baby. “I thought if I enjoy it, maybe he will, and maybe there is something in it. It’s a nice social time, too, to meet other mums with kids of similar ages and similar problems.”

Lee hopes to launch a new course for toddlers soon. “Once they are more mobile, we work on their hands,” she says. “We focus on different parts of the body using different nursery rhymes.” The apparent benefits of reflexology on young children continue to be shown. One Baby Reflex therapist in Ireland has noted improvements in children with cerebral palsy who have weekly reflexology sessions, and has started working with physiotherapists to develop this. As Lee says: “The research is only the beginning.”

For more information visit the www.babyreflex.co.uk or e-mail infoshirleypurly@hotmail.com.

14 December 2009

Halo Awards

03 December 2009

Christmas lights !!!!!!!

This is well worth watching make sure you have your speakers on

An Update in Bi-Polar Weather

Shalom everyone,
I hope that you all are well today. Nebraska is crazy, this morning while I was eating with my Dad. We both saw snow flurries. Now as I look out my office window, the sun is out. This is some serious bi-polar weather. But it’s okay.
Eventually, I will be recording some video blogs. Just to make things a bit more personal, being the artist that I am. They must be quality. The past several days I’ve recieved a handful of emails from mothers that have a child with Cerebral Palsy. It’s been an honor to share my experiences with my condition, and at the same time, be there to offer hope.
It’s been two years since The Emotional Struggle was first released to the general public. Honestly, it still feels like yesterday. And it also feels like I’ve only just started to scratch the tip of the iceburge. More and more teens are flocking to it. More bands are starting to read it. And the midst of everything, I’m on the second chapter of my new book. The writing process has be some what nerve wracking.
I’m well aware that I’m very critical of myself of myself. So I’m doing what I did with my first book, I’m letting it all out, holding nothing back. Sharing my experiences in life and being a single male. So far it’s been very healing, I’ve felt a lot of release in writing these pages. But it’s just the start of what I think will be a wonderful work of art.
Please keep buying my first book, give it as a gift to anyone you feel might gain something from reading it!

Intensive, Progressive Physical Therapist Exercise Program Plus Educationreduces Disability And Improves Patient Function After Back Surgery

Patients who have undergone a single-level lumbar microdiskectomy for lumbar disk herniation experienced significant improvement in physical function following an intensive, progressive physical therapist guided exercise and education program, according to a research report published in the November issue of Physical Therapy (PTJ), the scientific journal of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

Low back pain continues to be the most prevalent musculoskeletal problem, and one cause is lumbar disk herniation accompanied by sciatica - with many cases resulting in lumbar diskectomy. Up to 35 percent of patients continue to have pain and impaired function after surgery, which may be related to the type of postoperative care that they receive.

"An important goal of physical therapy interventions is to resolve functional deficits associated with low back pain," said physical therapist and lead researcher Kornelia Kulig, PT, PhD, associate professor of clinical physical therapy in the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. "There is strong evidence that intensive exercise is effective in restoring functional status in patients who have undergone lumbar diskectomy. The exercise intervention in our study consisted of an intensive, graded strength and endurance training program targeting the trunk and lower-extremity musculature."

In this study, 98 participants who had undergone a single-level microdiskectomy were randomly allocated to receive education only or exercise and education. The education-only group received one session of back care education 4-6 weeks after surgery. The education and exercise group received one back care education session followed by a 12-week USC Spine Exercise Program initiated 2-3 days after the education session. The exercise program consisted of back extensor strength (force-generating capacity) and endurance training as well as mat and upright therapeutic exercises. The back extensor strength and endurance training portion was designed to load the back extensor muscles in a graded manner by varying the time and angle at which the trunk was held against gravity, using a variable-angle Roman chair.

The goal of the program was for participants to be able to maintain a horizontal body position for 180 seconds. The purpose of the mat and upright therapeutic exercise portion of the program was to progressively and dynamically develop strength, endurance, and control of movement by the trunk and lower-extremity musculature.

Testing on all outcome measures began 4-6 weeks after surgery, prior to intervention, and was repeated for comparison after the 12-week program. Participants showed improvement in their ability to engage in activities of daily living as well as performance on the Repeated Sit-to-Stand Test, the 50-Foot Walk Test, and the 5-Minute Walk Test. In addition, some participants opted out of their allocated intervention group to pursue physical therapy care outside of the study, but agreed to remain in the study. This allowed researchers to include a third group. The three-group analysis still showed greater improvement in activities of daily living scores, 5-minute walk distance, and 50-foot walk time in the exercise and education group.

"These results suggest greater effectiveness of the current exercise program in reducing disability and improving walking performance than that expected from usual physical therapy," remarked Kulig. "An intensive 12-week strength and endurance training program of the trunk and lower-extremity musculature is safe and results in a greater reduction in disability and a greater increase in walking performance immediately following the intervention."

This study was funded by a grant from the Foundation for Physical Therapy.

Source: Jennifer Rondon
American Physical Therapy Association

Report shows CIMT may improve arm use in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy

ALEXANDRIA, VA -- Constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) is a potentially effective form of intervention for children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy, but more research is needed, according to a new systematic review published in the November issue of Physical Therapy (PTJ), the scientific journal of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The review, which analyzed 21 intervention studies and 2 systematic reviews, concluded that further research should focus on the frequency, duration, and type of constraint used to treat the affected limb. Similar gains may be achieved when both arms are used together during therapy, but there have not as yet been sufficient studies that compare these two types of physical therapy. Moreover, the review concluded that there is insufficient research on the impact of CIMT on a developing child's undamaged brain regions and that more investigation is needed.

Hemiplegic cerebral palsy affects one arm and leg on the same side of the body. CIMT forces the use of the affected side, specifically the upper extremity, by gently restraining the unaffected side in a mitt, sling, or cast. The patient then practices moving the affected arm for varying durations of time and intensity. Previous studies showed support for the use of CIMT to improve the frequency of use of the affected arm for children with hemiplegia. In most studies, positive effects were demonstrated 6 to 8 months after intervention.

"Although previous studies reveal a marked increase in function of the affected limb, there is a strong need for more rigorous studies to determine what constitutes an adequate dose of CIMT for pediatric patients with hemiplegia," said physical therapist Linda Fetters, PT, PhD, FAPTA, the holder of the Sykes Family Chair in Pediatric Physical Therapy, Health and Development in the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, and a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.

This systematic review specifically focused on research involving children younger than 18 years of age, as the central nervous system in these young children is still in the early stages of development. One of the theories behind the success of CIMT in children is that the developing brain has the capacity to reorganize learning.

"What we don't yet know is the impact of prolonged restraint on a child's developing nervous system," said first author Hsiang-han Huang, MS, OT, a ScD student in the Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training at Boston University. "Depending on the stage of development during which CIMT is applied, its potential impact may differ."

Physical therapists are highly-educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility -- in many cases without expensive surgery or the side effects of prescription medications. APTA represents approximately 76,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy nationwide. Its purpose is to improve the health and quality of life of individuals through the advancement of physical therapist practice, education, and research. In most states, patients can make an appointment directly with a physical therapist, without a physician referral. Learn more about conditions physical therapists can treat and find a physical therapist in your area at www.moveforwardpt.com.

01 December 2009

Mother hails Blind School's help as son wins design

A BLIND boy whose life has been transformed by an Edinburgh school will have a Christmas card he designed delivered to the world's most famous people.

Nine-year-old Ben Wilson lost his sight and was severely brain damaged after a 16-hour fit as a six-month-old baby.

Over the years his parents Jenny and Neil wondered what quality of life he would have, but said the past three months at the city's Royal Blind School had turned his fortunes around.

The pinnacle of this so far was when he won a Christmas card competition run by Edinburgh South MP Nigel Griffiths, who will send it to the likes of US president Barack Obama, former leader Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela.

Ben, who lives at the Newington school during the week and returns home to north Tyneside at weekends, may have the potential to gain some independence thanks to the work of the school.

Jenny, 39, said: "We tried for a good while to get him into the school, and I have to say the amazing reputation it has is dead right. Even though he has only been there for a few months, the difference is there to be seen."

Doctors said when Mrs Wilson awoke randomly eight years ago she might well have prevented the cot death of Ben.

She woke at 5am and carried him downstairs, and then the seizure happened.

"Call it mother's instinct if you will," she added. "I knew something was wrong.

"In hospital we were basically told his brain was like a scrambled egg, and anything he was able to do was a bonus. But since he's been in Edinburgh he has learned so much. He can help me with washing dishes. He is in a wheelchair but one day we hope he can get a powered one which would give him some more independence."

Although the benefits for his wellbeing of being at the school are clear, Mrs Wilson added that it could at times be difficult for her and her accountant husband, 43.

"We knew he had to go there," she said. "He was getting very frustrated with life and this has helped. He is calmer and happier, every night there is something to do at the school which is something I couldn't do as a mother of two other children.

"But it can be hard, when we speak to him or the school and hear what he has been doing we sometimes think we would have liked to have done that with him, or seen him do it."

Mr Griffiths, who met and congratulated Ben on Saturday, said: "The school is among the best of its kind in the world, and that is said by people from around the world. Whenever I go there I am asked deeper, more challenging questions by the pupils than I get from those at George Watson's or Heriot's."

"The work they do is terrific, and the result of Ben's design going to 6,000 people around the world who are on my Christmas card list, including Gordon Brown and Barack Obama, is testament to what can be achieved."

Research Breaks New Ground For People With Epilepsy

30 Nov 2009

Pioneering research undertaken at the University of Sheffield has revealed that linguistic observations can help doctors differentiate between two of the most common causes of blackouts.

The news comes within National Epilepsy Month, which aims to raise awareness about epilepsy and promote tolerance and overall understanding of the condition.

The sociolinguistic study at the University, breaks completely new ground. Led by Markus Reuber, senior clinical lecturer and honorary consultant in the Academic Neurology Unit at the University of Sheffield, this is the first time conversation analysis has been shown to be capable of making a contribution to the differential diagnosis of superficially similar disorders.

The correct treatment of seizure disorders like epilepsy crucially depends on getting the diagnosis right. The three commonest causes of blackouts (epilepsy, fainting and non-epileptic attack disorder) require very different treatments. Whilst it is relatively easy to distinguish between epilepsy and fainting, it is very difficult to differentiate between epilepsy and non-epileptic attacks (NEA). Prior to this study, misdiagnosis frequencies of between 5 per cent and 50 per cent have been reported.

Epileptic seizures occur due to self-limited activity of neurons in the brain, characterised by recurrent epileptic seizures, while NEA are episodes of loss of control not associated with electrical discharges in the brain. Instead, NEA occur in response to distressing situations, sensations, emotions, thoughts or memories when alternative coping mechanisms are inadequate or have been overwhelmed. The treatment of choice for epilepsy involves antiepileptic drugs, while the first line treatment of NEA would be psychotherapy.

Researchers at the University independently analysed twenty first 30-minute doctor-patient encounters and focused on how patients with epilepsy and NEA talked to their doctor about their seizures, rather than what symptoms they mentioned. In these patients, the correct diagnosis had been proven by the simultaneous video and brainwave recording of a typical seizure. The study concentrated on aspects of the consultation which might otherwise be considered redundant by the doctor, such as the patient's willingness to volunteer information about their seizure experience, evidence of hesitation and reformulations of the information they were sharing with the doctor. These features proved very different between patients with epilepsy and NEA.

The findings showed that the patients with epilepsy tend to volunteer detailed first person accounts of seizures. In contrast, patients with NEA tend to resist focusing on individual seizure episodes and only provided seizure descriptions after repeated prompting by the doctor.

As a result, Markus Reuber and his team were able to correctly distinguish non-epileptic from epileptic seizures in 17 out of 20 cases, just by analysing the linguistic content of the transcript. It is now hoped that the groundbreaking research will allow patients to be more accurately diagnosed, as prior to this study, only 40 per cent of the patients investigated carried the correct diagnosis and received appropriate treatment.

Markus Reuber, senior clinical lecturer and honorary consultant in the Academic Neurology Unit at the University of Sheffield, said: "Neurologists see patients with epilepsy and non-epileptic attacks every week. The differentiation of epileptic and non-epileptic attacks is one of the most challenging tasks in the neurology outpatient clinic.

"This work does not only help neurologists with this difficult problem but also enables them to understand patients and their seizure experiences much better. I apply the insights I have gained from this research in my daily practice."

Dr Chiara M. Monzoni, linguist and post-doctoral research associate from the Academic Neurology Unit at the University of Sheffield, said: "Doctor-patient interaction has always been investigated through conversation analysis in order to understand how activities like decision making, diagnosis delivery or advice of treatment are actualized in interaction, in order for doctors to improve their daily practice.

"This study instead demonstrates that conversation analysis can help doctors in diagnostic processes which might be particularly challenging. It could be applied also to other difficult conditions as: anxiety/depression, headache/migraines, pain and amnesia so is particularly groundbreaking."

University of Sheffield

Article URL: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/172397.php

Something special (and loud) about wheelchair rugby

Monday, November 30th, 2009 | 12:56 am

Canwest News Service

Some call it murderball, but to 15-year-old Nathan Bragg, it's a chance to showcase his athleticism while playing a full-contact sport in his wheelchair.

"For me, one of the things I absolutely love about [wheelchair] rugby is the contact," Bragg said. "I've never had the opportunity to do that before I started playing."

"The hits are pretty loud, usually quite a loud clang of metal. I've gone over a few times, but I just get up afterwards."

Still Bragg, who has cerebral palsy, said it's not as dangerous as it seems. His teammates, some of whom are quadriplegic, try to convince Bragg's mother Sheena of the sport's safety by asking, "What's the worst that can happen, I break my neck?"

Bragg started playing wheelchair rugby two years ago after being introduced to the sport at the BC Wheelchair Sports Association's junior sports camp.

Each summer, the association runs one-week day camps — some in partnership with the Easter Seals — in the Lower Mainland, Squamish, the Okanagan Valley and on Vancouver Island.

Children get to try their hand at tennis, curling, rugby, track and field, dodgeball, sledge hockey, floor hockey and basketball.

The Vancouver Sun Children's Fund provides 30 per cent of the camps' budget every year, which helps buy new equipment, rent facilities and subsidize transportation to get the youth to camp and back.

"It's really critical. Without that funding we wouldn't be able to ship chairs around the province, rent the facility and pay for the transportation," said program manager Kevin Bowie.

"[Sports] gives [children] a well-round, well-balanced lifestyle. We really try to give them all the same opportunities that an able-bodied child has," he said.

"They get to play with kids who have different disabilities, so they become a little bit more self-aware and a little bit more self-confident."

There was special inspiration for camp participants this summer with visits from Paralympic hopefuls like Darryl Neighbour, a member of Canada's national curling team.

As for Bragg, it wasn't until a wheelchair basketball team played at his school four years ago that he realized he could be playing competitive sports and winning trophies just like the other children in his class. So he joined the camp.

"Sports are my big passion," he said. "I could name every single team in every major sports league since I was nine years old, but I could never play any actual sports."

After developing his own athletic abilities over the past four years, Bragg is looking to take a leadership role at camp next summer.

"There's some kids I see now and I think, 'That guy is just like me when I was 10 or 11,'" Bragg said. "I could see . . . that he would get frustrated at the same things that I would get frustrated at and I thought I should give back and help other people like me."

When he's not smashing and crashing into his rugby teammates, Bragg spends his time on the basketball court doing circles around other athletes.

Bragg, who lives in Maple Ridge, is on the B.C. Provincial Junior Team and is focused on snagging a spot in the Canada Games being held in Halifax in 2011. And maybe even future Paralympics.