Nerves perk-up after deep sea divesOct 21 02:15
The human body, just like the jungles of the Amazon, is still a mystery despite the copious amounts research we‘ve put into it. And deep sea diving, the high-pressure of the water to be more specific, is proving how much we have to learn. After Cody Unser, a 24 year old paraplegic, reported a temporary improvement in sensation after diving, she had her foundation, The Cody Unser First Step Foundation, conduct a controlled experiment in May, and what they found is astounding.
After being paralyzed at the age of 12, Cody saw no improvement in her neurological condition. So when you get anything back, even a whisper of sensation, it’s a huge deal. She began to notice an increased tingling in her legs after taking a few dives, so she told her doctors what was going on. Thank God Cody is well-connected and was able to get her docs to not only take her seriously, but to go as far as to do research into the theory.
In May, Unser and nine longtime SCI veterans, paralyzed for an average of 15 years, did nine dives over a four-day period in the Cayman Islands (one of the best diving locations in the world). Every person reported at least some neurological improvement. Spasticity was reduced an average of 15 percent, sensitivity to light touch increased by 10 percent and pinprick sensation improved by 5 percent. Some even noticed an improvement in sensation and/or motor function between 20 percent and 30 percent. Damn. So the question….how in the Hell is this happening?
While doctors have yet to come up with a 100% for-sure answer, the theory is that when exposed to the higher pressure at those depths, the human body absorbs more nitrogen into the blood and body tissues, which causes an increase of production in Seratonin (a neurotransmitter found in the central nervous system). Seratonin lives the brain and spinal cord tissues. This increase in Seratonin is the key factor they believe, as it impacts the central pattern generator in the spinal cord and may activate dormant pathways and restore “some “function in systems not working properly.
The bummer is that each person in the experiment saw the improvements subside after a few weeks. Docs are hoping to recreate the diving effects using a Hyperbaric chamber, and hope that the improvements may even stick if the patient is exposed to high-pressure on a semi-continual basis.
Read all about this exciting research - Scuba diving may hold promise for paraplegics
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1. seeandbesafe.co | Oct 26 12:34
I am a believer in the power of Hyperbaric pressure therapy. If were not for the "chamber" I most certainly would have succumb to a nasty bout of osteo. However, this is the first time I've heard of deep pressures being used to regenerate neuropathways. It will be interesting to see if this can be used to help create a lasting effect on the central nervous system after SCI.
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.