Spinal Cord Injury – Treatment, Rehabilitation

Treatment/Rehabilitation

Treatment for spinal cord injuries begins in the emergency room and continues long after the patient is released from the hospital. The very first procedure for treatment occurs even before the injury is diagnosed. The goals of treatment are to help the patient live the most satisfying life possible and to prevent additional injuries.

Initial Treatment
When a spinal cord injury is suspected, medical personnel immobilize the spine using rigid collars and boards. It is important to move patient as little as possible, since the level of recovery depends in part on preventing additional damage and inflammation.

Emergency room physicians take steps to stabilize blood pressure, breathing, bladder and bowel functions, and prevent blood clots. Many patients then move to the intensive care unit or a special spinal cord injury treatment center.

In some cases, the drug methylprednisolone (MedrolВ®) is given. While the full benefits of this medication have not been determined, it may help control damage to nerve cells if it is administered within 8 hours of the injury.

Following spinal cord injury, it is important to keep the spine still and properly aligned. In many cases, this requires using traction and a rigid neck collar. Traction involves using metal braces or a body harness to keep the skull immobile.

Surgery may be performed to remove elements that are bearing down on the spine, such as bone fragments and foreign objects. In some cases, surgery can also be used to stabilize the spine, although this procedure may be too risky at this point.

Once a ” and other tests are completed and the extent of injury has been determined, a team of physicians and other specialists (e.g., social workers, physical therapists, vocational counselors, nutritionists) begin working on a long-term treatment plan.

Patients often are frightened, confused, and unsure about the future. A supportive team of qualified health care providers, family, and friends, can help the patient set achievable goals. In many cases, the greater the patient’s ability to adapt, the more successful recovery will be.

Long-term Treatment
Following spinal cord injury, the first priority often is to help the patient develop as much strength as possible in the arms and legs, since these limbs are crucial for movement and communication. Patients may need to learn to use devices like walkers, wheelchairs, or leg braces, as well as devices to help them write, type, and talk on the phone.

Physical therapists work with patients to build muscle strength and occupational therapists can help patients develop skills required for day-to-day activities, such as dressing, grooming, and going to the toilet. Patients also learn how to cope with other issues, including pain and spasticity.

Vocational rehabilitation specialists can help patients determine employment options. They assess how work skills and dexterity have been affected by the injury, find job sites that complement the patient’s expertise and abilities, and help secure adaptive devices. For patients who are unable to work, vocational specialists help find opportunities for meaningful projects to keep them active and build self-esteem.

Specialists also can provide recreational therapy, which helps patients participate in athletic and recreational activities. In this way, patients can get out with other people, have fun, and lead as normal a lifestyle as possible.

Modern technology also can help patients manage their treatment. For example, computers can help with a number of functions, such as communication, bathing, cleaning the house, and reading. Wheelchairs are lighter and easier for patients to work with. Some wheelchairs can go up stairs or lift a patient to eye level. Electrical stimulation devices can help patients achieve greater movement.

Prognosis

Prognosis for patients with spinal cord injuries varies and depends largely on the degree of damage. The first year following injury is critical, as more patients die of the injuries within that time period than any other. Kidney (renal) failure and pneumonia are frequent causes of death.

In many cases, physicians cannot be certain of the extent of immobility until a few months have passed since the injury. Some patients will have more mobility than others. Most function that is going to return does so within 2 years and after that, physicians usually agree that the remaining damage is permanent.

Patients often develop a number of secondary conditions following spinal cord injury. Managing these conditions through a network of qualified health care providers, therapists, family, and friends plays a large role in the patient’s quality of life. Staying emotionally healthy and maintaining good eating and exercise habits are important.

There is hope for spinal cord injury patients. With technological advances, further studies on the horizon, and adaptability on the part of patient, people with spinal cord injuries are often able to do many activities that keep them independent, productive, and satisfied with their lives.

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Spinal Cord Injury (continued…)

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From 295, NJ Turnpike or Betsy Ross Bridge

  • From Route 295 North or South to exit 36A (Route 73 South).
  • From NJ Turnpike North or South to exit 4 (Route 73 South).
  • From the Betsy Ross Bridge take 90 East to Route 73 South

Follow Route 73 South to Atrium Way (This will be the light after the Sage Diner and several new car dealers). Make a right on to Atrium Way to Horizon Way, follow 1 mile pharmacy will be on the right. (18000)

From the South

Take 295 North to exit 34A (Route 70 East) first light make a right (this is Malkress Rd jug handle). Follow across Route 70 to Sprindale Road. Make a left, follow Springdale 3 lights and make a right onto Horizon Way, Pharmacy is 2nd building on left. (18000)

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Take Route 70 west to Marlton Circle (Intersection of Route 70 and Route 73) to Route 73 North. Turn left on Atrium Way (1/4 mile past Holman Ford) and follow Atrium Way to Horizon Way 1 mile to Pharmacy on right. (18000)


Halsey Burgund | ROUND

ROUND is part museum audio tour and part participatory audio blog. Using mobile networked devices, museum visitors are able to leave audio comments about the museum’s artworks as well as hear those of other museum visitors, artists and curators. Voices are combined with music in an individualized audio experience.

Description

Today, information gathering involves gaining perspective from a diverse array of sources, all available at our fingertips. Searching for a simple product online, individuals can read reviews not only from “expert” sources, but from the product users themselves, and subsequently add their own feedback. Content is no longer something created and maintained by a single authoritative entity. Instead, the public is accustomed to content that is available, participatory, and ultimately democratic in nature. Wikis, blogs, and sites like YouTube seek to involve browsers in an ongoing process of creation and collaboration that constantly changes the landscape of the Web. Why should experiencing art be any different?

ROUND probes this question by using networking and streaming audio technologies to create a hybrid of the traditional museum audio tour and a participatory blog. ROUND is an audio installation that seeks spoken voice contributions from museum visitors and uses them as part of an evolving musical composition intended to be listened to while viewing the work in the galleries. This interactive audio experience allows visitors to select from a diverse range of voices sharing their perspectives about the exhibitions—including artists, curators, educators, and visitors—and to add their own responses to the mix. Just as a dialogue about a work of art is forever unfolding, the flow of music changes continually as a result of being created using custom compositional algorithms.

The title ROUND alludes to both a musical round—a song in which two or more voices sing the same melody but in an offset fashion—and the age-old Arthurian legend about the Knights of Camelot who sat at a round table, affording no one person a privileged position. Equality of opinion and the opportunity for two-way dialogue are core ideas of this project. As participating visitors view the exhibitions, their comments are collected in a database of recordings and subsequently incorporated into the piece in real time. Thus, there is a continual loop of opinion and emotional response, all contained within a musical work.

Audio Samples

ROUND sample – Gordon Cheung

ROUND sample – The Aldrich

ROUND sample – ROUND

ROUND on Weekend America – NPR

Technology

In keeping with the open and collaborative nature of the project, ROUND was built primarily using open-source software tools and packages. The custom server software was developed in Python and runs on Linux. The client software runs on a mobile Linux platform (Maemo) on Nokia N800 tablet computers. The algorithmic music was programmed in Max/MSP and various software samplers and synthesizers were used to turn the algorithm outputs into an evolving stream of audio.

ROUND runs on a wireless network within the museum which allows the N800s to connect to the server. Using a custom GUI, participants make various selections pertaining to the artworks and types of voice they want to hear. A SQL query is generated and sent to the server which returns all audio files that match the participant’s query. These files are then played back according to parameters which allow for randomness and chance while not devolving into total chaos. The audio stream of voices is then combined with the instrumental stream and sent out to the participant using Icecast streaming software. The system allows for multiple simultaneous users with the limiting factors being server processing power and network bandwidth.

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