Paralyzed veterans see the benefit of scuba diving

A research study of veterans suffering from paralysis due to catastrophic injuries to their spinal cords shows that they benefited both psychologically and physically from their participation in a scuba diving class.

The study of participants in the short course found that the vets experienced improvement in the movement of their muscles, as well as more feeling with respect to leg pin pricks and light touch. The symptoms of post-traumatic stress, from which some of the paralyzed vets were also suffering, were sometimes alleviated.

According to an article on Futurity.org, the scuba diving class only lasted a few days, but researchers believed that the progress the vets made through their participation was dramatic. They had to acknowledge, however, that it was unclear how long the improvements achieved would last, and that the study results were based on a small number of paralyzed veterans, with the conclusions all preliminary.

The researchers believe, though, that the study may point to possible avenues for restoring neurological pathways in paraplegics that have not previously been considered. Too many people, one of the researchers commented, assume that there are no treatment options at all for paraplegics. They give up on treating patients with spinal cord injuries, while there may be options to consider.

The researchers also admitted that they are not sure whether the results they obtained can be reproduced or will last any extended period of time. Two of the researchers hope to conduct a larger study to validate what they previously found.

The essence of the study was conceived by a woman who herself is paralyzed from the chest down because of transverse myelitis, a neurological problem that she experienced when her spinal cord became inflamed.

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