Sunday, 5 November 2017

'Stupendous' Stuart smashes 36-year powerlifting record despite docs telling his mum he wouldn't live more than two years

Spina Bifida battler Stuart has defied all the odds to beat a world record in Moscow.

Powerhouse Stuart Jamieson has smashed a 36-year record with a huge lift at the World Raw Powerlifting Federation event in Moscow.
The lift saw the 27-year-old hit a new all-time world record of 268kg (60kg body weight) that was so heavy it can make the bar bend.
The dead weight is the equivalent of more than 42st.

It is remarkable because Stuart, from Dumfries, was born with crippling injuries and his mum Carol was told he had a life expectancy of two years.
The Daily Record highlighted Stuart’s achievements in 2014.
He took up weights to strengthen parts of his body affected by spina bifida.

He stunned family and friends by training to lift weights heavier than 200kg.
Stuart also broke a Commonwealth record at the World Classic Powerlifting Championships in South Africa in 2014.
He said: “You don’t have to be held down by what you have been given in life.”
Stuart has scoliosis and kyphosis – curvature of the spine – and a split in the spinal column known as diastematomyelia.

Dumfries powerlifter Stuart Jamieson who broke a 34 year old record

Source : Daily Record , 2nd Nov 2017

Britain's Got Talent star with agonising curved spine is back in the dance studio after Simon Cowell pays for £175k surgery

Performing on Britain’s Got Talent in front of 12 million people, Julia Carlile was convinced it would be the last time she would dance.
The schoolgirl’s lungs were being crushed by her spine as the scoliosis she had battled since birth made every move agony.
Viewers heard how the only operation available on the NHS would leave Julia unable to dance afterwards, making it was one of the most emotional moments in the show’s history.

Julia Carlile's curved spine threatened to end her dance career
While she and the MerseyGirls did not win after reaching the final of the show, Julia went back home to The Wirral, Merseyside, with something more valuable – a promise from Simon Cowell that he would pay £175,000 for two operations in the US.
And now, three months after her last surgery, Julia is back in dance class with her friends.

Simon Cowell paid for Julia to have operations in the USA
Speaking for the first time since she returned to training, Julia, 15, says: “Dancing again, surrounded by my friends, is the best feeling in the world.
“I was desperate to perform again, but when I got to class I was really nervous.
“I didn’t know how my body would cope and I was scared of hurting myself.
“But when I went in everyone walked up and hugged me. I was so pleased to be back. It was overwhelming.”
Julia is practising as often as possible with the MerseyGirls, and in just four months will be performing in a new live show alongside BGT legends, including Paul Potts and Susan Boyle.

Julia shot to fame with the MerseyGirls on Britain's Got Talent

It is a bright future she once could never have imagined.
Julia , who lives with mum Kate, 39, an admin worker, and sister Alice, 17, was born with a curved spine, known as scoliosis, which got steadily worse and would have ended her dancing career if left untreated.
Fusion surgery available on the NHS meant having a rod in her back, which would have left her too stiff to dance.
Her only hope was to go to the US for surgery to screw a cord to her spine, straightening it while allowing her the flexibility to dance.
Julia, Alice and the rest of the MerseyGirls, Poppy Gerrard, 15, Annie Winstanley, 17, and Rebecca Jordan, 16, entered BGT hoping to win the £250,000 to pay for the operations.

The teen in hospital after an operation to treat her scoliosis

They reached the final but narrowly missed out on the cash after a chair Julia stood on during the routine started to move beneath her feet. It was a heartbreaking end to what threatened to be Julia’s last performance.
But then Simon met the girls backstage and offered to pay.
Julia says: “When Simon said, ‘It’s going to happen’, I was in tears. I thought the Britain’s Got Talent final was the last dance I was ever going to do.
“By then my back was really painful. As the curve in my spine got worse it started crushing my lungs, so dancing became really difficult.
"So if it wasn’t for Simon I probably would have had the fusion by now and I’d be recovering at home.

Julia is now dancing again and will join Britain’s Got Talent's The Big Celebration

"I’d be a mess because I’d know I wasn’t going to dance again. I’d be like, ‘What do I do now?’”
Instead, Julia flew to New York on July 23 and had the first six-hour operation two days later, followed by a second on August 6.
Surgeons had to deflate one of her lungs while they moved her spine, and the rehabilitation has been very tough.
She says: “Recovering was the ­hardest thing I’ve ever done. There were days when I didn’t want to get out of my hospital bed because it hurt so much, but I reminded myself I had to do it if I wanted to dance again.”
Julia managed a few simple steps just nine days after her second operation and after two months was able to stop taking painkillers.

Her surgery was paid for by Simon Cowell after he learnt of her agony

But while she only suffers the occasional ache now, she still has to push her body to recover her dancing physique.
She does breathing exercises 10 times a day to improve her lung capacity, swims regularly to rebuild muscles, and does daily back stretches to reshape her spine.
Julia says: “I have to push my body where it doesn’t want to go to straighten my curve. It gets quite sore, but the pain is nowhere near as bad as it was before.”
Julia returned to ballet class earlier this month. Her first aim was to build core strength, and her dance teacher had to simplify many of the moves as she could not twist or turn.
Now she’s doing more and more each time, and is training with the MerseyGirls twice a week.

The MerseyGirls are going on tour after their meteoric Britain's Got Talent success

But she was devastated to miss out on performing with the MerseyGirls at the National Reality Television Awards last month.
Julia says: “It was so hard to watch. They looked amazing. All I wanted was to be out there with them. I can do most things again now, I’m just not allowed to do any big jumps yet.”
Julia has been cautious, naturally, but doctors say if her scan goes well next month she can even do backflips again.
She says: “I get more scared before trying new moves now. I’ve come so far, I don’t want anything to go wrong. Once you’ve done it you start to believe in yourself a bit more. Eventually everything should be easier than it was before.”
Julia wrote to Simon to thank him for funding the operations and was thrilled when he called her.
She says: “I told him how he had changed my life. I’m so grateful for everything he has done. Then Simon asked me how I was doing and when I said I was finding it hard not dancing, he told me to make sure I took it easy and didn’t rush things.
Julia will be joined on stage by huge stars including Paul Potts and Susan Boyle 
“He said when he waved at the start of the next America’s Got Talent it would be for me. When I thanked him he said I didn’t need to, he couldn’t have stood by and done nothing. He is amazing.”
Big-hearted Simon had another surprise in store for Julia. She and the MerseyGirls are going to be the star guests for Britain's Got Talent, The Big Celebration.
The two charity concerts at Liverpool’s Empire Theatre in February will raise money for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, which cared for Julia after her diagnosis.
They will be joined by some of BGT’s legendary names including SuBo, Paul Potts, Collabro, Attraction and magician Lance Corporal Richard Jones.

Ashleigh will also be there with new dog Sully, who is following in Pudsey’s pawprints, as well as Star Wars dancers Boogie Storm, magician Jamie Raven, singers Lucy Kay, Sarah Ikumu, and Richard and Adam, and martial artist Jesse-Jane McParland.
Julia says: “Appearing on Britain’s Got Talent has made my dreams come true.
“Now the MerseyGirls can carry on dancing for ever and ever, which is what we always dreamed of.”
  • Tickets to Britain’s Got Talent, The Big Celebration go on sale from Ticketmaster on Friday at 9am, priced from £21.

Source : Mirror , UK ( 25 Oct 2017 ) 

New Ways to Treat Scoliosis (Curvature of the Spine) without Surgery

Scoliosis, the medical term for curvature of the spine, affects millions of people, an estimated 2 to 3 percent of the population. The most common form is idiopathic scoliosis (in which the cause is unknown), and it most commonly occurs between the ages of 10 and 18. Girls are much more likely than boys to require treatment.

Mariah ortho patient standing smiling at the camera
The severity of scoliosis and the need for treatment is determined by the angle at which the spine is out of normal alignment. Milder cases generally require no treatment.
  • If the spinal curve is less than 25 degrees, ongoing monitoring is recommended to see if the angle is increasing.
  • If the curve is increasing over time, or if it is between 25 and 40 degrees, treatment with bracing is used.
  • When the angle exceeds 45 to 50 degrees, surgical correction may be necessary.
Great progress has been made in recent years in treatment for that middle range of scoliosis to stop the progression and avoid the need for surgery. Jennifer Winell, MD, an attending surgeon at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) who specializes in non-surgical scoliosis treatment, explains. “Braces hadn’t changed much in 20 or 30 years. Some of us in the field began to look for innovative alternatives. Medicine is advancing and we thought there might be new ways to treat scoliosis.”

New non-surgical options

Dr. Winell’s research did find two significant advances, and these are now options for treatment at CHOP. Used in combination, they hold great promise for stopping the progression of scoliosis before it gets severe enough to require surgery.
The first is a new type of brace, developed by a physician in Spain. The brace is lighter than traditional scoliosis braces. It is made of thinner material, so it doesn’t get as hot. It attaches in front, not in back, so it’s easier to put on and take off. And, most importantly, it provides three-dimensional correction, where traditional braces only provided side-to-side pressure.
The second element in treatment is a new type of physical therapy, called Schroth exercises, developed in Germany and refined over time by therapists around the world. The exercises are tailored to the specific spinal curvature problems of each patient, and work on posture, strength, breathing, the functions of daily life and self-image.
“The combination of improvements makes the brace more appealing to patients and more effective,” says Dr. Winell. “When combined with the Schroth exercises, kids feel more active in their own care. And when they feel involved, they do a better job of sticking with the treatment. That makes a huge difference in the outcomes. I’m seeing it in my practice. We’ve been offering this for a year now, so it’s too early to have definitive data. But when kids come in after their first couple of months with the brace and the therapy, I’m seeing real progress.”
Because there’s a genetic component to scoliosis, some parents of young patients have experience themselves with older treatments. Their own discomfort with earlier braces may make some hesitant about seeking treatment for their children. Parents and patients should know that recent advances in non-surgical scoliosis treatment have made them more comfortable, more engaging and more effective.

Source : Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia , 24 Oct 2017 

Scoliosis surgery helps Pioneers' volleyball player Becca Cohen get ahead of the curve

With her team facing match point in a grueling, five-set volleyball contest in early September, Lampeter-Strasburg senior Becca Cohen raced after a wayward pass toward the sideline.
She bumped the ball diagonally across her body, sending it cross-court off the top of the net and over to the other side. The ball landed out of bounds, however, resulting in the Pioneers' first loss of the season.
Instinctively, Emma Cohen —likewise a senior and the Pioneers' setter — walked over and gave Becca an appreciative pat on the back.

The gesture is not unusual for teammates, let alone teammates who happen to be sisters. Yet for someone who is not even a year removed from spinal fusion surgery, a simple pat on the back can put the game of volleyball into a rather unique perspective.

The curve

During a routine physical prior to the 2016 school year, Becca, 16, learned she had an atypical curvature of the spine known as scoliosis.
According to Genetics Home Reference, a website run by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is the most common cause of spinal abnormalities in children and teens, affecting 2 to 3 percent of youth in the United States.
Although not all instances require surgery, scoliosis in its progressive form occurs more commonly in girls, with both genetic and environmental factors believed to play a role.
In Becca's case, the diagnosis was surprisingly sudden, considering she had previously undergone screenings for scoliosis due to a genetic history of the condition on her father's side of the family.

"We had always been checking since we were younger because my grandma had it, and I had been fine up to then," Becca said. "(In 2016) when I bent over, my back, the one side was elevated."

At that point, Becca already had a 50-degree curve in her lower back, with a smaller, compensatory curve in her upper back.

"We talked to the surgeon at DuPont and basically I was going to need surgery at some point because it was going to continually progress," Becca explained. "We just thought it was best to do when I was young and could recover easily."

Along with her parents, Saul and JoAnn Cohen, and with input from her guidance counselor at Lampeter-Strasburg, Becca elected to have surgery following the end of volleyball season in her junior year.

Performed the day after Thanksgiving at the Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, the surgery —termed posterior spinal fusion with instrumentation — combined both the fusion of vertebrae and the insertion of a pair of titanium rods to straighten and stabilize the lower curve.
Incredibly, Becca was discharged from the hospital just three days later.

"I was amazed, incrementally how much better she got," JoAnn Cohen said. "But the first two weeks were pretty hard. When she came home, she couldn't roll over by herself in bed. When she wanted to move, I had to physically help her roll. That only took another night until she could kind of do it on her own."

"My mom stayed with me every day at the hospital. She slept over there," Becca recalled. "My dad came up with my siblings; they talked to me and distracted me. It was nice to have them there. When I got back to the house, my mom was always right there if I needed anything. I couldn't have gone through this without her."
Family history

Becca's grandmother underwent one of the first "Harrington Rod" surgeries, performed by Dr. Paul Harrington in the late 1950s. That method did not involve spinal fusion, however, and due to complications, she spent six months in a body cast.
"I talked to her more and found out about the body cast and how tough her experience was," Becca said. "I was glad that I wasn't going to have to go through what she did, but it was comforting to know that she understood what I was going through."
In the same way that her grandmother's experience provided context for her own, Becca's experience offers context for her younger brother, who battles scoliosis, as well, and wears a back brace to hopefully negate the need for surgery later on.
"I feel bad for him because he's going through a different experience than I had to, with bracing," Becca said.
But athleticism, particularly on the volleyball court, also seems to run in the Cohen family. Saul and JoAnn met while playing volleyball in Atlantic City; JoAnn still plays the sport, coaches at the middle school level and is president of the booster club.
Emma started playing volleyball regularly when she was 12 years old and Becca followed suit. Five years later, both players serve as captains on Lampeter-Strasburg's team along with fellow senior Hailey Hildenbrand.
"(Becca is) a little more organized, and I make sure everything is still loose and everyone is having fun," Emma said of the shared captaincy. "She's very smart. You can see that even playing volleyball. I always know where I'm supposed to be; she always knows where she's supposed to be and everyone else on the court."
Growth and support
Becca began physical therapy about six weeks after surgery to help rebuild and strengthen her back muscles. After about four months, she began practicing volleyball again with Emma's club team and in open gyms.
In that time, Becca added an inch to her 5-foot-10 frame as a result of the surgery. She doesn't generally experience pain, but can sometimes feel the surgery's effects. "It doesn't inhibit anything," she said. "I have a little less mobility with twisting and some of that, but I'm pretty much playing the same as I used to."
Becca returned to game action last June in the Pottstown Rumble doubles tournament, partnering with Pioneers' junior Alexa Troiano, who happened to be coming off her own surgery for a torn ACL.
"I've been friends with Alexa for so long, so it was nice to get out and play with her," Becca said. "It was raining that day so we were both a little nervous, but it was just nice to be playing the sport I love again. I think we both felt that way."

Becca Cohen 8.jpg

In the meantime, keeping up with school work and her social life wasn't terribly difficult for the straight-A student. Having tested out of the seventh grade — she will still be just 16 years old when she graduates high school — Becca and Emma have shared the same circle of friends for quite a while.
That partly explains their mutual desire to attend different colleges next year. While Emma is looking to be the fourth generation of her family to attend Penn State, Becca is considering Georgetown or Pitt, where she hopes to study medicine.
"I've always been good at math and science," Becca said. "Watching ‘Grey's Anatomy’ sparked my interest in medicine and being a doctor. Then going through this experience, seeing how much the doctors and the nurses influenced me and how much they helped me, that really got me interested."
Whatever paths Emma and Becca take, volleyball will keep them linked, even if they aren't seeking to play competitively in college.
And whether on the court, in college or in a career in medicine, Becca can be certain that her friends, her teammates, and of course, her family, will always have her back.

Source : Lancaster Online , 22nd Oct 2017