Current Disabilities News and Events

Current Disabilities News and Events, Disabilities News Articles.
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Credit card-sized soft pumps power wearable artificial muscles
Robotic clothing that is entirely soft and could help people to move more easily is a step closer to reality thanks to the development of a new flexible and lightweight power system for soft robotics. (2021-02-17)

Robotic exoskeleton training expands options for stroke rehabilitation
Researchers are applying new technologies to gait training that may offer advantages over traditional labor intensive physical therapy. This inpatient study of a robotic exoskeleton (Ekso GT, Ekso Bionics, Inc,) demonstrated the potential to improve gait training after acute stroke toward the goal of earlier recovery of motor function. ''We found that gait training in the exoskeleton allowed us to increase the dose of gait training without increasing the duration of inpatient rehabilitation,'' said Dr. Nolan, (2021-01-29)

Voters perceive political candidates with a disability as qualified for elected office
Political candidates with a disability have historically been underrepresented. A new study has found for the first time that voters do not apply certain stereotypes associated with disability to such candidates. Voters see them as honest, hard-working, and concerned with social welfare issues. The results show that the cause of under-representation may not lay with voters' perceptions, but with a lack of support from governments and political parties. (2021-01-28)

Adults with cognitive disabilities more than twice as likely to use e-cigarettes
In the first national study to assess use of e-cigarettes among adults with disabilities, George Mason University's College of Health and Human Services researchers found that e-cigarette use was more than twice as likely among adults with a cognitive disability (12.0%), an independent living disability (11.0%), or two or more disabilities (9.2%), compared to adults without disabilities (4.8%). (2021-01-27)

Not everyone has equal access to crucial information that can stop the spread of COVID-19
A newly-published global survey of national health authority websites in nearly 200 countries has directly quantified COVID-19 information accessibility. Only a few of the countries examined fully adhered to internationally recognized accessibility guidelines. Websites from the majority of countries surveyed continue to contain accessibility errors that present significant barriers to people with disabilities. As a result, not everyone has equal access to government health websites and, therefore, vital information to stop the spread of COVID-19. (2021-01-26)

Mental health conditions alarmingly high among children with autism
Nearly 78 per cent of children with autism have at least one mental health condition and nearly half have more than that. Mental health conditions were present in 44.8 per cent of pre-school age children with autism--a group among which prevalence had not previously been established using a large, population-based sample. Only 14.1 per cent of children without autism (ages 3-17) had mental health conditions. (2021-01-19)

Special interests can be assets for youth with autism
COLUMBIA, Mo. - When he was in middle school, teachers would give Sam Curran a list of words to type in a computer to practice his vocabulary. (2021-01-15)

Cats may help increase empathy, decrease anxiety for kids with autism
While there is plenty of existing research emphasizing the benefits of dogs for children with autism, Carlisle's newest study has found cats may help increase empathy while decreasing separation anxiety for children with autism. (2021-01-12)

Autism theory 25 years in the making
A unifying explanation of the cause of autism and the reason for its rising prevalence has eluded scientists for decades, but a theoretical model published in the journal Medical Hypotheses describes the cause as a combination of socially valued traits, common in autism, and any number of co-occurring disabilities. (2021-01-08)

Impact of COVID-19 on children with disabilities, caregivers and healthcare providers
Pediatric rehabilitation experts assess the impact of the pandemic on pediatric rehabilitation patients and the increasing use of telemedicine and provide insights and recommendations for mitigating the impact of the virus, in this special issue of the Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine (2021-01-04)

Scientists explore deficits in processing speed in individuals with spinal cord injury
This study is the first to examine the neural mechanisms of higher order cognitive tasks of individuals with SCI.''Our ability to observe brain activation while the individual performs specific cognitive tasks provides new information on the mechanisms that underlie the cognitive deficits that we now know affect a substantial proportion of the SCI population,'' Dr. Wylie said. ''Developing treatments targeted to these deficits depends on our pursuit of this line of research, which may benefit other populations affected by delayed processing speed.'' (2020-12-30)

Big brains and white matter: New clues about autism subtypes
Researchers found that a long-accepted theory about brain size in some children with autism may not be true. In a separate study, they linked development of white matter with changes in autism symptom severity. (2020-12-17)

Clemson researcher identifies gene teams working in subregions of brain
You must first understand how something works normally before you can figure out why it's broken. Clemson University researcher Yuqing ''Iris'' Hang has identified six mini gene co-expression networks for a normally functioning brain. That will allow researchers to test each of the gene teams to see if gene pairs are changing in brain tumors or people with intellectual disabilities. (2020-12-16)

Robotic exoskeleton training improves walking in adolescents with acquired brain injury
'At the end of the 4-week training, participants had progressed to a more normal gait pattern,' said Dr. Karunakaran, 'including improved loading, a longer step length and faster walking speed' Although results are promising, Dr. Nolan acknowledged the limitations of the study, including small sample size and lack of a control group: 'Further study is needed to confirm the training effect in this age group with ABI, optimal dosing for the training protocol, and the durability of functional improvements.' (2020-12-14)

Meningococcus B vaccine prevents disease with 79 per cent effectiveness in under-18s
Meningococcus group B, the most prevalent strain of meningococcal infection, is prevented with 79 per cent effectiveness in children and young adults inoculated with the 4CMenB vaccine, also known as Bexsero, according to a new collaborative study from researchers in Portugal and the UK and led by the University of Bristol which evaluated the vaccine's performance in a real-world setting. The findings are published today [1 December] in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). (2020-12-01)

Exoskeleton-assisted walking improves mobility in individuals with spinal cord injury
''Participants showed improvement regardless of level of injury, completeness, or duration of injury,'' noted Dr. Forrest, ''indicating that exoskeletons can be used to improve mobility across a broad spectrum of individuals with neurological deficits caused by spinal cord injury. Our results can be used to guide the application of exoskeletons to spinal cord injury rehabilitation, and the timely acquisition of skills for the safe use of these devices for rehabilitation and community use.'' (2020-11-12)

Balance dysfunction after traumatic brain injury linked to diminished sensory acuity
Compared with the control group, the TBI group had higher perturbation perception thresholds (PPT) and lower functional scores on balance - findings with important implications. 'As a means of detecting and quantifying sensory acuity PPT may serve as a novel marker for sensory integration deficits that underlie balance impairments after traumatic brain injury,' said Dr. Pilkar. 'This line of research will provide the information we need to develop new rehabilitative treatments that restore balance and reduce the risk for falls, and improve long-term outcomes.' (2020-11-11)

Potential brain damage marker could guide assessment and treatment of strokes
A team of researchers has discovered that a protein found in the nervous system can predict the severity of brain damage and long-term outcomes in patients who have suffered a stroke. (2020-11-11)

Vocational rehabilitation helps lift people with disabilities out of poverty
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits do not always keep individuals with disabilities out of poverty. To support these individuals' efforts to lift themselves out of poverty, the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) Project was piloted in Kentucky and Minnesota. It showed that individuals who engaged in a vocational rehabilitation services intervention were able to earn increased income above SGA-level earnings. The authors recommend expanding the project to other US state agencies. (2020-11-10)

Challenges to providing behavioral health care during pandemic
The COVID-19 outbreak has significantly impacted the delivery of behavioral health services, which had to modify rapidly from in-person to remote, according to a Rutgers study published in the Community Mental Health Journal. (2020-11-03)

People with disabilities view health care access as human right, study shows
Analysis of national survey data of Americans with disabilities finds they overwhelmingly view health care access as a human right, but many barriers stand in their way, including insurance tied to employment and policy makers not listening. They also view the ACA positively, even though they span the political spectrum. (2020-10-27)

How herpes infection may impair human fetal brain development
Three cell-based models shed light on how herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infection, which can spread to the fetal brain during pregnancy, may contribute to various neurodevelopmental disabilities and long-term neurological problems into adulthood, according to a study published October 22, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Pu Chen and Ying Wu of Wuhan University, and colleagues. (2020-10-22)

Acid reflux drug could help newborn babies recover from brain injury, study suggests
Researchers in China have discovered a potential way to prevent a lack of oxygen or blood flow from causing long-lasting brain damage in newborn children. The study, which will be published September 29 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM), suggests that targeting the histamine H2 receptor with drugs already used to treat acid reflux in infants could help newborns recover from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a condition that affects over 1 in 1,000 live births and can cause life-long neurological disabilities. (2020-09-29)

Lockdown mental health problems amongst family carers up to 10 times higher
Family carers for children and adults with intellectual disabilities have reported rates of mental health problems under lockdown that are up to 10 times higher than parents without those responsibilities, a new study has found. They were five times more likely to report severe anxiety, and between four and ten times more likely to report major depression, compared to parents who did not have caring responsibilities for children with intellectual disability. (2020-09-24)

Perspective on employment rates after spinal cord injury - 30 years after the ADA
Thirty years after the passage of the ADA, planning for return to work is often a low priority during rehabilitation for spinal cord injury, The authors emphasize that vocational rehabilitation services, when delivered soon after injury and integrated into the medical rehabilitation plan, contribute to better employment outcomes. ''Implementing evidence-based practices during rehabilitation is an important step toward fulfilling the promises of the ADA for people with spinal cord injury,'' Dr. O'Neill concluded. (2020-09-22)

College students with disabilities at greater risk for substance abuse
College students with physical and cognitive disabilities use illicit drugs more, and have a higher prevalence of drug use disorder, than their non-disabled peers, according to a Rutgers study. (2020-09-21)

Evidence-based vocational rehab practices raise employment rates after spinal cord injury
Evidence-based practices that are raising post-injury employment rates include the individualized placement support model of supported employment, and vocational resource facilitation (VRF), according to Dr. John O'Neill at Kessler Foundation. He cited gains seen with the implementation of VRF for newly injured individuals in a Craig H. Neilsen Foundation funded project. ''Of the patients recruited during inpatient rehabilitation at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, 43% have returned to work, significantly exceeding national one-year post injury benchmarks ranging from 12% to 21%.'' (2020-09-18)

For job seekers with disabilities, soft skills don't impress in early interviews
A new study by Rutgers University researchers finds that job candidates with disabilities are more likely to make a positive first impression on prospective employers when they promote technical skills rather than soft skills, such as their ability to lead others. (2020-09-10)

'Biggest holes in the system'
Older adults living in very rural settings are less likely than those living closer to urban centers to receive available services in health, nutrition and transportation, according to a new study by a Washington State University scientist. (2020-08-24)

Child disability can reduce educational outcomes for older siblings
A recent paper published in The Economic Journal indicates that, in families with disabled children, the second born child is more adversely affected cognitively than the first-born child. (2020-08-13)

Pandemic drives telehealth boom, but older adults can't connect
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant increase in video visits between patients and their doctors, but for many older adults, the shift has cut them off from care, rather than connecting them. (2020-08-03)

Exercise and PRP promising for shoulder pain in wheelchair users with spinal cord injury
''Conservative treatments that provide alternatives to surgery are needed for wheelchair users with spinal cord injury who have recalcitrant shoulder pain. Injection of PRP (platelet-rich plasma), which may promote healing of the injured tendon, combined with a graduated home-based exercise program, is a potential option for these individuals. Based on our pilot study, a larger randomized controlled trial is warranted.'' (2020-07-29)

Mental fatigue of multiple sclerosis linked to inefficient recruitment of neural resources
Results of the pilot study were consistent with prior research into brain activity in response to mental fatigue, according to Dr. Genova. 'In the absence of effective treatment for the disabling fatigue of MS, it is essential to expand our understanding of these underlying brain mechanisms. Using fMRI allows us to determine how individuals with MS differ from their peers without MS in their cerebral responses to cognitive challenges, an important first step in the development of interventions to counter mental fatigue.' (2020-07-28)

IUDs successfully manage menstrual pain in adolescents with disabilities
Adolescents and young women with disabilities can stop periods and get relief from distressing menstrual symptoms with IUDs, in the largest study in this population to date. (2020-07-23)

A dual antenatal therapy benefits extreme preterm babies better than either alone or none
Researchers, led by Samuel Gentle, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, report that antenatal treatment with both magnesium sulfate and corticosteroids together yields an increased benefit for children born at 22 to 26 weeks of gestation, compared to no antenatal treatment or with either therapy alone. (2020-07-13)

Colleges that emphasize activism have more civically engaged students
Students tend to be more engaged in activism if the school that they attend emphasizes social and political issues, according to new research featuring faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York. (2020-07-07)

From age 8 we spontaneously link vocal to facial emotion
Do children have to wait until age 8 to recognize -- spontaneously and without instructions -- the same emotion of happiness or anger depending on whether it is expressed by a voice or on a face? Scientists from the University of Geneva and the Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences have compared the ability of children and adults to make a spontaneous link between a heard voice and the corresponding emotional expression on a natural or virtual. (2020-06-30)

Kessler survey shows education paves the way to employment for youth with disabilities
The 2020 survey collected a wealth of information, including details of college majors and occupations, finding that students with disabilities were more likely to pursue career paths focused on helping people, and less likely to choose STEM majors, or to work in STEM disciplines. ''Preparing for STEM careers will help people with disabilities take advantage of this growth sector in our economy,'' said Dr. O'Neill. ''Research shows that this is a disparity that can be addressed with the right support system,'' he added. (2020-06-30)

SNAP work requirements put low-income Americans at risk
When work requirements for a federal food safety-net program start again, many low-income Americans will lose benefits -- and Black adults will be hardest hit, according to a study published today. In addition, some disabled people will lose these crucial food assistance benefits. (2020-06-26)

A shorter IQ test for children with special needs
For decades, neuropsychologists have used the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children test as the gold-standard intelligence quotient (IQ) test to determine the intellectual abilities of children with special needs. However, this comprehensive test can take up to 2 hours to complete, and many children with special needs have a difficult time participating in such long tests. (2020-06-24)

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