• News New Blog Banner

  • Cell Transplant Procedure Repairs Severed Spinal Cord

    A Bulgarian man whose spinal cord was completely severed has regained limited mobility and feeling in his lower extremities after a surgical procedure that used nerve-supporting cells taken from his nose. Once completely paralyzed in both legs, he can now walk with a walker and drive a car.

    According to an article in the Guardian, Darek Fidyka is believed to be the first person to recover from a complete severing of the spinal cord, an injury he sustained in a knife attack in 2010.

    Polish surgeons accomplished the recovery by transplanting olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) from Fidyka's nose into the severed ends of his spinal cord. The cells connected and allowed nerve impulses to once again travel through the entire spinal cord. The technique was developed by the University College of London's Institute of Neurology.

    Although Fidyka's recovery is not complete, 1 of the authors of a study on the procedure published in Cell Transplantationdescribed the technique as one that "opened the door to a treatment of spinal cord injury which will get patients out of wheelchairs," according to an article in the Washington Post.

    Ebola News: CDC Tightens Ebola Guidelines, Victim's Family Released From Quarantine

    In the wake of 2 Dallas nurses contracting Ebola from the first person to die of the disease in the US, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued "tightened" guidance for health care workers interacting with infected patients. The announcement was one of several Ebola-related developments occurring recently.

    The new guidelines focus on better training, more extensive personal protective equipment (PPE), and more rigorous monitoring of donning and doffing. The enhanced recommendations are informed by practices at Emory University Hospital, Nebraska Medical Center, and the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center—facilities that have had success in handling patients with the disease. The CDC reports that the guidelines are similar to those developed by Doctors Without Borders.

    A story in Modern Healthcare (free access with one-time registration) quotes CDC Director Thomas Frieden as describing Ebola care as "hard," saying that "the way care is given in this country is riskier than in Africa. There's more hands-on nursing care, and there are more high-risk procedures."

    CDC is recommending all of the same PPE included in the August 1, 2014, guidance, with the addition of coveralls, disposable hoods, and full-face shields instead of goggles. Also recommended:

    • Double gloves
    • Boot covers that are waterproof and go to at least mid-calf
    • Single-use fluid resistant or impermeable gown
    • Respirators, including either N95 respirators or powered air purifying respirators
    • Aprons that are waterproof and cover the torso to the level of the mid-calf used if Ebola patients have vomiting or diarrhea

    The CDC warns, however, that "focusing only on PPE gives a false sense of security of safe care and worker safety," and urges extensive training and practice, as well as a careful monitoring process as health care workers put on and take off PPE.

    Other recent Ebola-related developments:

    • Family members and the fiancée of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to die from Ebola in the US, were among the 43 people released from quarantine this week after they passed the suspected Ebola incubation period without coming down with the disease.
    • The Spanish nurse infected with Ebola is now free from the virus, as is the NBC News photographer who was treated in Nebraska.
    • Nina Pham, the Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola from Duncan, has been upgraded from "fair" to "good" condition. Pham is now at the National Institutes of Health. Amber Vinson, the second nurse to become infected, is being treated at Emory University in Atlanta.
    • The World Health Organization announced that 2 Ebola vaccines will be tested in West Africa as early as January 2015, and at least 3 others will be tested in healthy volunteers outside that region.
    • President Barack Obama appointed Ron Klain, former aide to Vice President Joe Biden, as the US Ebola czar.
    • The US is now requiring all travelers from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea to enter the US through 1 of 5 designated airports and undergo special screenings.

    Accreditation Committee Members Sought

    The American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE) is seeking members with diverse clinical expertise to serve on the Accreditation Services Committee, a group of trained experts who review applications and visit physical therapist education program sites undergoing accreditation.

    Members interested in being considered to serve on the committee should complete the application on the ABPTRFE website by November 30, 2014. The Accreditation Services Council will make appointments in December 2014. Notification about appointments will be sent in January 2015.

    Appointed members must be available for training at APTA headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, on March 2, 2015. APTA will reimburse all travel expenses for this meeting.