Crouse Health Online: Wellness is just a click away.
Share Share
  |  Connect with Us: 
large
med
small
Text Size
 

Health News



Scuba Diving May Help Paralyzed Vets

Scuba Diving May Help Paralyzed Vets

09/19/11

SATURDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Paralyzed veterans who learned to scuba dive experienced both physical and mental improvements, a new study suggests.

Researchers brought 10 paralyzed veterans and nine healthy participants to the Cayman Islands in May for a four-day scuba certification course.

Before the dives, researchers did a series of neurological and psychological tests, measuring muscle spasticity, motor control and sensitivity to pinprick and light touch, as well as symptoms of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, hostility and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Participants did nine dives over four days. Eight of the 10 paraplegics were able to complete the dives.

Afterward, researchers ran the tests again.

The results: those who dived experienced an average 15 percent drop in muscle spasticity; a 10 percent improvement in sensitivity to light touch; and a 5 percent improvement in the ability to feel a pinprick. In some cases tone, sensation and motor function went up as much as 20 percent to 30 percent.

Psychologically, participants also experienced a drop in obsessive-compulsive symptoms, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

By contrast, the healthy divers experienced no improvement of any kind.

"We saw dramatic changes in a matter of days in a number of people with spinal cord injury who went scuba diving," said study co-author Dr. Daniel Becker, head of pediatric restoration therapy at the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury at Kennedy Krieger Institute and an assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. "This is just a pilot study, but to see such a restoration of neurological function and significant improvement in PTSD symptoms over such a short period of time was unprecedented."

The findings were to be presented Saturday at the Paralyzed Veterans of America conference in Orlando, Fla. Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Researchers said the next step is determining what about scuba diving may be beneficial in a larger sample of participants, and whether those improvement are lasting.

They also acknowledged that being on a Caribbean vacation may have helped injured veterans' mental state.

More information

For more on spinal cord injuries, visit the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

OF INTEREST:
 

Latest News

Crouse Hospital Appoints Chief Information Officer
more >

MedEx Bedside Prescription Delivery Service

Free service offers convenience, patient education at discharge.
more >

Weight Loss Surgery

Is it right for you? Attend a free information seminar held twice monthly.
more >

Quality at Crouse

See how Crouse Hospital strives to provide the best in patient care.
more >

Cheer Up That Special Someone

Say get well or welcome a new arrival with a gift purchased right at Crouse.

more >

Make an Online Donation Now

Your donation of any amount helps support Crouse services & programs in a meaningful way.
more >

Shop Online Now

Say get well, thinking of you or welcome new baby with a unique gift from the Crouse Gift Shop.

more >