Research and Studies - Waves Project

Research and Studies

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Scuba Diving Improves Function of Body, Mind in Vets with Spinal Cord Injury

Johns Hopkins researchers find ‘dramatic’ results in small preliminary study Release Date: September 17, 2011

A small group of veterans with spinal cord injuries who underwent a four-day scuba- diving certification saw significant improvement in muscle movement, increased sensitivity to light touch and pinprick on the legs, and large reductions in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, according to Johns Hopkins researchers.

The researchers, while calling the advances made over the course of a few days “dramatic,” caution that the results are preliminary, the study size small and the duration of the benefits are unknown. Still, they say, the findings suggest there may be a pathway for restoring neurological and psychological function in paraplegics that has been overlooked thus far.

“There is no treatment for people with chronic spinal cord injury and many believe once you’ve lost the communication between the brain and the extremities, there is nothing you can do to restore lost function,” says Adam Kaplin, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral services at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “What we saw in the water strongly suggests there is some scuba-facilitated restoration of neurological and psychological function in paraplegics. It’s very provocative.” Link to the full article here:

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