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Researchers at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences have reported that MRI’s of patients who were diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in childhood show that pediatric MS is more aggressive and causes more brain lesions than those diagnosed with MS in adulthood. However, data has shown that patients with pediatric onset MS develop disabilities at a slower pace than patients with adult onset MS.
Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, MD, associate professor of neurology, stated that “Patients with pediatric-onset MS have three times as many relapses annually than patients with adult-onset disease, which suggests there is greater disease activity in this population.” Guttman also stated that “the average time to reach the secondary progressive phase of the disease is longer in patients who develop MS in childhood than in adult onset MS.”
Data in this study supports the need for early diagnosis, as well as for therapeutic intervention in pediatric MS patients.
Partial funding for this research was from grants donated by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Children’s Guild foundation of Buffalo.
Derek McGinnis was wounded in Fallujah, Iraq, on November 9, 2004. In a new book he chronicles his experiences, a story of traumatic brain injury, loss of his left leg above the knee, and how he learned to run again with a prosthesis. He also gives advice to veterans who are facing life with chronic pain. McGinnis says “it is OK to have mental pain, it is OK to have chronic pain, there are methods to have a productive life.” His 200 page book also covers treatment options, exercise, and emotional wounds of war.
After years spent in rehabilitation at naval and veterans hospitals, McGinnis now has his mobility back. He runs again with a flexible prosthetic that he wears for races while competing with Semper Fi, a team that raises money for wounded soldiers and their families. “I’ve been blessed with a lot of resources and services that have helped me recover” he said “I want to do whatever I can to help others.”
Along with studying for his masters degree in social work, McGinnis works for the American Pain Foundation as an amputee outreach advocate.
More at the Miami Herald: Wounded Vet Shares Strength
Even after a trampoline accident on the last day of high school paralyzed Talbot Kennedy from the chest down, he is still an athlete.
Talbot considers his rugby team his second family. Several nights a week he can be seen scrimmaging on an indoor basketball court at the Shepherd Center (a rehab hospital) in Atlanta. The Smash Rugby team is part of the United States Quad Rugby Association, and November through April plays in tournaments across the United States.
When first injured Talbot worried about being able to live alone and do the things he did before his accident, but when he joined the rugby team he found that some of his teammates not only lived alone, but some even had families and children. He has gained confidence and learned to live again, just in a different way.
Off the court, Kennedy lives alone, attends college and is working toward a degree in physical education, something he says would not have been possible without wheelchair rugby.
In a UCLA study funded by the National Institute on Aging, researchers found that the age group from 60 to 69 showed an increase in several disabilities over time in contrast to those between 70 and 79 and those 80 and over who saw no significant increases and in some cases actually showed fewer disabilities. Researches believe that this trend may in part be due to a change in racial and ethnic makeup of the group.
Teresa Seeman, UCLA professor of medicine and epidemiology and the study’s principle investigator, is quoted as saying: “if this trend continues unchecked, it will put increasing pressure on our society to take care of these disabled individuals. This would put more of a burden on the health care system to address the higher levels of these problems.”
The study is scheduled to be published in the January 2010 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.