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Nova Southeastern helps patients with spinal cord injuries

Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida, is revolutionizing treatment for people living with spinal cord injuries. The university has given out eight Apple iPads to current patients with spinal cord injuries and plans to give out 12 more to others in Broward County.

Researchers with the university's department of occupational therapy were recently given money from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to fund the purchase of tools to treat spinal cord injuries. The $13,000 grant has thus far been used to buy 20 iPads. The researchers chose the iPad because it is lightweight and portable. It allows people with spinal cord injuries, many of whom have limited mobility, to use the Internet and other computer processing functions.

The touch screen also increases the ease of use for people struggling after damage to their spinal cords.

The Occupational Therapy department's program director has been impressed with how successful the program has been. She says that the people who have received an iPad have been able to use technology and social media outlets that they may not have been able to use before.

Researchers do not believe that iPads will only help people with spinal cord injuries either. The program has started giving a few to people with traumatic brain injuries and the researchers have seen a similar improvement in technological skills. The construction of the iPad makes it much easier for people with specific disabilities to use than a desktop or laptop.

It is unclear if Nova Southeastern University plans to seek additional or future funding for the iPad program.

Source: Daily News and Analysis, "Now, iPads are being used to treat patients with spinal cord injuries," Aug. 31, 2011

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