The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 14, 1998 · Page 13
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 13

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Salina, Kansas
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Thursday, May 14, 1998
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Page 13
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, : JHE SAUNA JOURNAL Health DR. DONOHUE / C2 SEINFELD / C3 CLASSIFIED / C4 c BRIEFLY Scuba divers in danger for more brain injuries •'Not all the dangers to scuba flivers come from the creatures they encounter underwater. Scuba divers can also develop brain injuries from diving. But a new test can help divers determine the risk of developing Such brain injuries, according to a study released by the American Academy of Neurology. The test identifies divers with a patent foremen ovale, or an opening between two chambers in the heart. In divers, the opening allows gas bubbles that form during the divers' ascent and decompression to enter arteries in the brain and block blood flow. Scuba divers been concerned since a 1995 study showed recreational divers have a higher incidence of brain injury than the general population, according to neurologist Stefan Ries of the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Ries recommends divers be tested for patent foremen ovales. If the opening is large, it can be closed by intervention or surgical Iprocedu'res. Medical group offers free health brochures U, Consumer education brochures ;cjn topics ranging from the growing threat of skin cancer to HIV/ AIDS, and the role of the patholo- Igist in quality health care are [available free from the American Society of Clinical Pathologists. -^The available brochures inclue: ."Al-Pathologists Is...," "Should I Have a Pap Smear?" "What You Nejad.to Know About HIV and Ai|3S," "Skin Cancer: A Growing Tffig&at," "Lyme Disease: A Sum- nieglhreat." >;AS,CP is the largest medical lab- ora'tcjry organization with more than"75,000 members. It represents the entire medical laboratory team — pathologists, medical technologists, and all other medical laboratory professionals. " To receive a copy of any ASCP consumer education brochure, send a request with a stamped, self-addressed large business envelope to the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, Attn: Communications Department, 2100 W. Harrison, Chicago 60612-3798. The brochures are also available on-line at http://wivw.ascp.org Abusing inhalants can be deadly for children An empty soft-drink can sprayed with vapors can be as lethal as loaded pistol for kids who "huff." Quaint as it may sound, huffing is a form of inhalant abuse in which fumes are inhaled through the mouth to get a quick high. "Although inhalants rank fourth behind alcohol/marijuana ajid'eigarettes in usage, they are the rnost dangerous in regard to risk^pf death in the short term," said Dr. Nancy Neff at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Sudden sniffing death syndrome can occur in first-time huf- fers as well as in more experienced inhalant abusers, she said. Everyday products like spray paint, cooking spray, air freshener and butane can be sprayed into cans and small plastic bags or onto clothing so the concentrated vapors can be inhaled. The high lasts 10 to 15 minutes. Neff offers these clues that a child might be huffing: unusual breath odor or chemical odor on clothes, drunkenappearance, slurred speech, chronic runny nose and red eyes and tendency to smell clothing sleeves frequently. From Wire Service Reports T BLOOD DONATION "Horses are great You can make a mistake, and they'll forgive you." • Debbie Gadus, equine manager Horsing Around Injured and ill people find inspiration, peace of mind from working with horses "There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." — Winston Churchill By AMY SANCETTA Ttie Associated Press BAINBRIDGE, Ohio — Shannon doesn't care that Jose is just a little boy. She doesn't care that he can't speak and he can't walk and he rarely plays. She likes him just fine, and he seems to like her. Shannon has four legs and a silky mane. Jose Villarroel is 2 years old, and he suffers from a debilitating chromosomal disease. But when he is on Shannon's back, miracles happen. "The first time my wife and I saw him up on a horse, we just cried and cried," says Jose's father, Rafael. "It was so wonderful." Horse and boy came together at the . Therapeutic Riding Center, a 20-year-old institution devoted to the theory that horses can be a tonic. "Every person gets something different from our program," says executive director K.C. Henry Bergman. "On the simplest jlevel, just the visual outlook from the top of a horse makes you feel on top of the world." Jose suffers from mitochondrial disorder, which keeps his cells from developing and, ultimately, surviving. Only two cases are known in his homeland of Chile, and only about 150 in the United States. His family brought him here for diagnosis and possible treatment. Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic have prescribed vitamin and nutritional supplements, and the family has prescribed riding. Both seem to be working. "Since he has been coming to the riding center," Jose's father says, "his balance is better and his coordination is better. He can sit up and is so much more alert'and happy." Horses help hundreds of people The center was formed in 1978 with a handful of volunteers teaching eight students on borrowed horses. Now it has more than 300 students assisted by some 400 volunteers at a new $3.5 million complex. It is funded by donations and grants. Its students suffer from a range of physical and behavioral disabilities — multiple sclerosis and autism, paralysis and blindness, Down syndrome and attention deficit disorder and arthritis. "For a person with physical disabilities, it helps straighten their bodies and improve their balance," Bergman says. "For someone with behavioral disabilities, they find they must learn to control their own behavior if they want to control 1,200 pounds of horse, and for some. one with a vision impairment, they can feel the motion and imagine the ground moving beneath their feet." "A horse is so honest," Bergman says. "If the riders focus, the horse rewards them immediately." Michael Harris, 12, suffers from spina bifida, an opening of the spine. The classes allow him to abandon his wheelchair • and move freely, carelessly, joyously. "I really like riding the horses and learning different things," Harris says with a grin. "It's helped me with my pasture," he continues, looking down at his frail legs. "It's helped me." The 22 horses in the center's stables are donated; they come from farms and race tracks and must undergo a four- to six-week trial and training period. "Some horses are good for one person," explains equine manager Debbie Gadus, "but not for 20 other people." In the trial period, Gadus and her staff Photos by AMY SANCETTA / The Associated Press As volunteers Junl Clark (left) and Marcla Haymer (right) watch, Therapeutic Riding Center equine manager Debbie Gadus checks the heartbeat of a horse at the Balnbrldge, Ohio, center. scream at the horses, toss balls at them and hula hoops around them — anything to distract them. Gadus moves her own wheelchair around and even under them. Four years ago, Gadus was injured when a barn collapsed after a heavy snowfall. She suffered two crushed vertebrae and was paralyzed from the waist down. Her own determination and the riding center proved to be her salvation. She arrived as an office volunteer less than a year after the accident. In several months, she was managing the horses and the stables, teaching classes and riding again. "Emotionally, I think horses are just great," she says. "You can make a mistake, and they'll forgive you and try just as hard the next time for you." The center is seeking a state grant to help young people with drug and alcohol dependencies. By summer, it hopes to start a carriage driving program for those who can't or don't want to mount a horse. Jose Villarroel looks forward to several more months of therapy in Cleveland, and then a return to Chile. "We made this long trip to find a cure for him, even though we know there isn't one," Rafael says. "Each day he keeps getting better and better." Jose will continue to ride once he's home. The family has found a therapeutic riding program an hour from their home. "When he's on a horse he's smiling and screaming and happy because he loves being there," says Rafael. "He just loves the horses." With the aid of Instructor Jlnene Studzlnskl, Jose Villarroel, age 2, gives Shannon the horse a thank-you pat after a riding class. Jose, visiting Ohio from Chile, has mitochondrial disorder, a rare chromosonal abnormality that affects his physical and mental development. Red Cross taking sting out of giving blood File photo American Red Cross President Elizabeth Dole says Innovations In technology have made blood donations safer. New technology can examine blood, numb skin without hurting By PATRICIA GUTHRIE Cox News Service Soon, there will be no more prickly jabs at fingers or ear lobes and far less "I hate needles" whimpering from willing, yet hesitant, horizontal blood donors. Taking the worry and wincing out of blood donation is a present the American Red Cross is giving donors and itself during its 50th anniversary year. After seven years of exhaustive research — and a federal mandate to upgrade— the Red Cross has overhauled its system of collecting, managing and delivering blood. Dubbed, the "Transformation," the $287 million effort is aimed at bolstering the safety of the nation's blood supply to reassure those giving and receiving the pint-sized red bags of life. On a media tour to promote its biomedical milestone and golden anniversary, Red Cross president Elizabeth Dole spoke recently in Atlanta about the high-tech transfusion of equipment, laboratories and organizational mission. "The accomplishment is a great, triumphant victory in our common endeavor to expand what is possible in health care," Dole told the gathering of 250 local dignitaries, business leaders and local Red Cross "heroes" gathered at CNN's "Talk Back Live" set. Some of the innovations are expected to be at blood-drive sites by year's end; others are still under consideration by the Red Cross. Among them: A Hemoscan, the trademark name of a new computerized imaging device that looks into a person's mouth at the blood flowing through tiny capillaries and measures hemoglobin and hematocrit. By looking at a screen with instant results, Red Cross health workers don't need to draw a blood sample with a finger or ear lobe prick. Invented by the Philadelphia company Cytometrics, the device is expected to be commercially available next year and may radically change the way complete blood counts tests are done in doctors' offices. Red Cross has already signed on to use the Hemoscan to check whether potential donors are anemic. See BLOOD, Page C2 T SCIENCE Study: Fruits, veggies may contain vaccines By The Associated Press NEW YORK — People who ate chunks of a gene-engineered potato developed defenses against a diarrhea germ, raising doctors' hopes of one day being able to vaccinate people with fruits and vegetables instead of needles. The specialized spud contained a protein that activated the immune systems of volunteers in the study. Someday, researchers say, edible vaccines might fight such diseases as tetanus, hepatitis B, diphtheria and whooping cough. Scientists might even be able to combine several vaccines into a single tasty treat, said Dr. Carol Tacket of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "Wouldn't that be great?" she asked. "You could just have your child eat a mashed-up banana in the pediatrician's office." In developing countries, edible vaccines could also allow mass inoculations with locally grown food and without the expense of needles and trained personnel. Researchers didn't test if the vaccine actually gave protection. They just wanted to see if it could survive the digestive system and spur the body into making the proper defenses. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BECKY FITZGERALD, LIFE EDITOR, AT (785) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT sjbfltzgerald@saljournal.com

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