Thursday, September 25, 2008

Meet our staff at Prosthetic Center of Excellence!

Back left to right: Myron Calvin - Certified Pedorthist, Rob Phillips - Lab Tech, Nancy Smith - Bookkeeper, Miquel Miralles - Certified Lab Tech, Richard Brunner - Certified Prosthetist, John Cordone - Certified Orthotist, Bernabe Duran - Marketing/Business Development, Kevin Bidwell - Certified Prosthetist & Orthotist, Gwen Webb-Johnson - Owner & Certified Prosthetist/Orthotist

Front left to right: Tracie Carillo - Secretary/Administration, Tracey Flores - Office Manager, Terry Grabill - Administration.

We here at Prosthetic Center of Excellence work as a team to provide the most comprehensive patient service in the O&P Industry locally and abroad! It's important that you know, who the people are behind the scenes, as well as the individuals you see on the front lines of our practice.

We care for people and we would all like to THANK all our patients and referring clientele for your trust and confidence in our practice, We really appreciate your business!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Simple Strokes Therapy Uses Latest Tools to Bring Out Optimal Abilities

ROSALIND GUY | The Daily News

On a recent Wednesday morning at Simple Strokes Therapy in Southaven, 8-year-old Matthew Gary worked with an occupational therapist. Matthew, who has an undiagnosed developmental disorder, is learning to walk and communicate better.

He wears a blue and black glove-like device on his left arm that he uses to drum a beat along with a steady rhythm coming from a nearby computer. It’s not child’s play, though.

Matthew recently was referred to the center where he already has seen progress,which thrills his dad.

Melissa Slade, an occupational therapist with Simple Strokes Therapy, said since Matthew began the therapy sessions, she’s seen a marked improvement in his walking. Another patient, a little girl, now sleeps through the night, she added.

“Every child receives different benefits from this,” Slade said, describing the benefits of the new therapy program.

Simple Strokes Therapy recently began offering the Interactive Metronome, a brain-based rehabilitation assessment and training program. It was developed in the early 1990s to improve the processing abilities that affect attention, motor planning and sequencing.

In recent years, therapy centers like Simple Strokes Therapy have found that the program works well on children who have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well as other developmental disabilities.

Steady growth
The metronome is just one of the tools therapists at the Southaven facility use to help children from newborn to age 21 reach their optimal abilities. They also offer aquatics therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy and Simply Growing, a mother’s day out program for children ages 18 months to 5 years.

The new programs are a sign of the growth Simple Strokes Therapy has seen since the husband-wife ownership team of Trey and Robin Smith opened the center five years ago, said Trey Smith.

When the couple first started the business, they mostly were doing home-based therapy. Back then, Robin Smith, who recently earned her doctorate in physical therapy, was working with children through Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto’s early intervention program.

“They came to Robin and said there’s an opportunity that we would like for you to pursue,” Trey Smith said.

That opportunity was to go into the DeSoto County Schools and provide therapy.

Over time, word got out about the services she was offering, and soon other school systems – Tate County, Marshall County and Holly Springs – were calling.

“The outcomes were good, so by word of mouth she started getting more calls from other school districts,” Trey Smith said. “So it really started out with school-based therapy.”

As the patient base started to grow, the couple began to bring in other therapists to help with the workload.

“In 2003, we were approached by the Mississippi First Steps Early Intervention program to do home-based therapy for children ages 0 to 3,” Smith said. “And that is when we moved into our little facility on Goodman Road in order to have more of an office space just because we were seeing growth and we had actually increased our numbers.”

As they continued to experience more growth within their patient base and in anticipation of even more, the Smiths began building the current facility off Airways Place in 2005 and moved into it last year.

“We’ve grown tremendously in the last three years,” Smith said. “And the outcomes remain positive with all the children.”

Smith’s background is in financial planning and business administration, so he handles the business end of the operation, while his wife enjoys working with the children.

Together, they share joy at seeing the progress children who visit the center make.

Over the past year, more patients are being referred to Simple Strokes from outlying areas, including Memphis, and it’s a trend the owners think will continue. As they do, they said they will continue to add services as needed to suit the needs of the children.

“That’s why we do it,” Robin Smith said. “For the children. It’s all about the children.”

Friday, September 19, 2008

What if you were born with no arms and legs?

Join Central Christian Church on September 20 & 21 in las vegas, with special guest Nick Vujicic (pronounce Vooey-cheech) – a man whose faith helped him to overcome the most difficult obstacles. Hear his story of how God took him from a life without limbs, to a life without limits.

This is truly an uplifting story of overcoming challenges in life with the help of GOD! Should anyone of you be in Las Vegas come out and hear Nick's amazing story of transformation and his journey to making a difference in the world.

Here is a link to hear more about Nick and this up and coming event. Enjoy and be uplifted with an open heart!!!

Central Christian Church Event

Nick Vujicic Website

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Phantom Limb Cure: Retraining the Brain

Correcting the distortions in the body "maps" stored in the brain that cause phantom limb pain could be a matter of changing how patients think.
By Lorimer Moseley

I once got hit just above my eye by a cricket ball, which is much like a baseball only harder. One instant, the missile was safely cupped in the wiry fists of a fellow nicknamed The Wooloomooloo Whippet, and the next instant it was rattling my braincage. An hour later, my eye feeling very swollen, I strolled around the Ladies’ Stand awaiting congratulatory warrior-worship type comments. None. Not even one. Nobody commented on my heroics or my brutal injury. I sulked off to the bathroom, the mirror of which revealed that my eye was not in the least bit swollen. I can guarantee it had felt swollen. I had even been able see the lump protruding into my peripheral vision. In fact, as soon as I saw myself in the mirror, the feeling that it was swollen, and the bit of it I could “see,” vanished. How does that work? Well, how our body feels—the awareness we have of our physical self—is constructed by the brain. It depends on the maps of the body that are held within our brain and emerges as a conscious output.
These body maps become altered in people with pathological pain. For example, in phantom limb pain, which involves feeling pain in a limb after it has been amputated, the altered maps may in fact contribute to the pain. One way to treat such pain is by directly training the brain to correct the distorted maps. Another way to treat such pains is by instructing the patient to imagine making certain movements with the phantom limb. Although we don’t know how such motor imagery works in the brain, one possibility is that it, too, corrects the distorted maps.
The Map Moves In a lovely study by neuroscientist Kate MacIver and colleagues from the University of Liverpool, 13 arm amputees with phantom limb pain underwent brain scans before and after a training program in which they imagined movements of their phantom limb during daily periods of relaxation. The key measures from imaging were brain activity evoked by: pursing the lips, opening and closing the intact hand, and opening and closing the phantom hand. Why scan the brain of people with upper limb pain while they purse their lips? There is very good evidence that in amputees with phantom limb pain, the brain maps reorganize so that the representation of the lip (the “virtual” lip) shifts to where the missing hand should be—about four millimeters away. In amputees without phantom limb pain, there is no, or very little, shift. A shift of that size may seem trivial, but considering that the sensory cortex has about 20,000 brain cells per cubic millimeter, it actually represents a monumental change in the response profile of brain cells.
Here is what the team found before training: When the healthy controls pursed their lips, they activated their virtual lips. When they imagined moving their hand, they activated their virtual hand. No surprises there. In contrast, when the amputees pursed their lips or moved their phantom hand, they activated both their virtual lips and their virtual hand. They also activated parts of the sensory cortex that normally represents the other side of the body—the virtual opposite hand if you like. These results are interesting enough but not altogether surprising. They corroborate a growing body of literature that demonstrates that people with pathological pain have distorted maps of the body, or a generalized disinhibition of parts of the brain (reduction of the normal inhibitory control that keeps brain activations in check).
The real punch of this study lies in the changes that were imparted by training. Here is what they found after six to 12 weeks of the training program: nine of the 13 reported that the intensity of their pain had been halved, the amputees started to show the same activation pattern during lip pursing and phantom hand movements as the healthy controls do, and the extent of pain relief and the extent to which brain activations returned to normal were correlated.
One obvious limitation is that, although this study had healthy controls in training for comparison, it did not have a control condition of patients and healthy subjects who did not get the training. So we don’t actually know for sure whether the training program was important in imparting the effects. That said, anyone in the know would be absolutely gobsmacked if it didn’t. Perhaps a more interesting issue is what contribution the two main components of the training might have made to the effect. The obvious aspect is the imagined movements: we know that imagined movements involve the same brain mechanisms as executed movements and we know that practising movements refine those mechanisms. This study clearly suggests that the same processes apply to phantom limbs as well as intact limbs. The less obvious facet of the finding is the relaxation/body scanning part, which actually comprised the bulk of the training sessions. Simply thinking about body parts activates their virtual counterpart—one can’t feel one’s body without using neurons that represent it. Honing in on a particular body part requires inhibitory processes, the loss of which might underpin the extravagant activation patterns that were observed in the pre-training scans. I hope this research group teases out these components in its next study!
The Mutable Brain:
Regardless of the active component, this study gives insight into a possible mechanism of pain relief for people with phantom limb pain. In itself, this finding is terrific, because phantom limb pain is common in amputees, it is resistant to drugs and it can be at least as debilitating as the absence of the limb.The study also corroborates a growing literature on the lability of the human brain. Although brain plasticity might underpin the remapping that contributes to phantom limb pain in the first place, the very same plasticity can also be exploited to return the brain to normal and reduce phantom limb pain. Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst of the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research Norman Doidge refers to this effect as “the dark side of plasticity.”

Finally, the study raises the bar for those of us trying to develop better and better ways to treat pathological pain conditions. Nevertheless, we still need to improve these protocols. This study reminds us that we can teach an old dog new tricks, but can we get it into the circus?
Are you a scientist? Have you recently read a peer-reviewed paper that you want to write about? Then contact Mind Matters editor Jonah Lehrer, the science writer behind the blog The Frontal Cortex and the book Proust Was a Neuroscientist.