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BREAKING NEWS

Virtual Reality Gives Amputee Real-Life Relief

NEW YORK) — A constant, unrelenting, burning pain. This is what 73-year-old Ture J. experienced for 48 years after losing his right arm in a car accident.

Ture — who asked to be identified by his first name only — had what doctors call phantom limb pain or PLP. It’s what happens when the brain struggles to interpret the loss of a limb and fails. The absence of sensation is interpreted as pain — a clenching of a fist that no longer exists.

Over the years, various methods have arisen to help amputees deal with this condition. But for Ture, who tried multiple medications, as well as the famous “mirror therapy” that fools the brain by simulating the presence of the missing limb using a mirror box, nothing provided relief.

Nothing, that is, until he volunteered to be part of an experiment to test a new approach.

Doctors attached electrodes to the nerve endings in what remained of his arm. They used a video camera to project an image of Ture onto a television screen in front of him.

And then they created his new arm.

This new, computer-generated arm existed only in the pixels of the television screen. But Ture could control it with the nerves he had not been able to use for decades.

And with the use, came relief. After 12 weekly sessions, he reported a decrease in pain by more than 75 percent. In addition, for several weeks after the sessions, he remained completely pain free.

“After these 48 years, it is the first time I haven’t had pain at all. It’s fantastic,” he said. “Sometimes at night, when I lay in my bed and have no pain, it so, so fantastic. It’s indescribable.”

The Swedish team behind the findings, published Tuesday in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, hopes that this approach will make a difference for many more with PLP, which is estimated to affect more than 70 percent of amputees.

The virtual reality “trick” they employ involves creating virtual arm movements by translating the electrical activity in muscle into a computerized image — a technique called augmented reality. A patient spends up to an hour per week in front of the screen, utilizing various games and application engaging the virtual limb.

“We are making the rehab process fun and engaging,” said Max Ortiz-Catalan, the primary author of this study and a PhD candidate at Chalmers University of Technology. “A patient can be sitting for a couple of hours playing games.”

“This shows great promise,” said Dr. Vilayanur Ramachandran, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of San Diego, who was not involved with the study. “It is a really ingenious technique that they’ve used. It requires a larger and more extensive study, as the authors themselves acknowledge.”

Still, like other approaches to PLP, it may not work for everyone. Ortiz-Catalan said the technology is only useful for patients who have enough muscle remaining above the site of amputation. So it may not work for those with high amputations, such as shoulder amputations.

But more research is coming, he said. A clinical study is underway with three other regional hospitals and various clinics across Europe.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

“Friends” Star Lisa Kudrow Loses $1.6 Million in Lawsuit

(LOS ANGELES) — A verdict has been reached in the civil lawsuit filed against Lisa Kudrow by her former manager, who claims he is owed residuals from her days on Friends.

A 10-2 decision was reached in favor of Scott Howard, who was Kudrow’s manager from 1991 to 2007, saying the actress was liable for breach of contract, KABC reports.

The jury awarded the plaintiff $1.6 million for past and future economic losses.

The legal dispute began in 2008, a year after they parted ways, when Howard sued Kudrow for refusing to pay him more than $50,000 in fees from her earnings.

Howard claimed in court last week that in 1991, the two made an oral agreement that Howard would receive a 10 percent cut of Kudrow’s income she obtained or performed while he was her manager.

He added that when he and Kudrow split after 16 years of working together, the actress stopped paying him. He argued that Kudrow owes him a percentage of what she earns on Friends reruns and other projects.

In court documents, Kudrow claimed she had “no obligation to pay Howard” a commission after the two ended their professional partnership. Attorneys for Kudrow countered that Howard was the actress’ manager, not her agent, and thus is not entitled to a commission.

Kudrow, 50, starred from 1994 through 2004 as Phoebe on Friends. She began the show as one of the lowest-paid actresses among the show’s six stars — earning $13,500 per episode. Starting in 2004, Kudrow earned over $1 million for each of the show’s final 18 episodes.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Google Glass Snatched Right Off a User’s Face

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SAN FRANCISCO) — Even in a tech-friendly city such as San Francisco, Google Glass may not always get a warm reception.

Sarah Slocum was wearing the device inside Molotov’s, a bar in the Lower Haight neighborhood, when one of the bar patrons grabbed it and ran out, police said.

“She had gotten into a verbal altercation with three subjects because they believed she was recording with her Google Glasses,” said a spokesman for the San Francisco Police Department said of the incident on Saturday. “That verbal altercation escalated when one grabbed the Google Glass off her face and took out the door running.”

Slocum was able to retrieve her Glass after chasing after the suspect, police said, but found that her purse had been stolen when she returned to the bar. She wrote about the incident on  Facebook and also posted a video to YouTube.

She did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for an interview.

 

Paula Deen Says She’s ‘Fighting to Get My Name Back’

(NEW YORK) — Paula Deen has survived her worst nightmare.

“I used to have dreams that I lost everything,” she told People magazine for its latest issue. “And when it finally happens, you think, ‘I’m still alive.’”

Deen, 67, is not only alive but staging her comeback nine months after she admitted in a deposition to using the N-word and companies like the Food Network and Smithfield Foods dropped their multi-million dollar deals with her.

“I’m fighting to get my name back,” the southern chef told People.

Deen recently announced that her newly formed Paula Deen Ventures, which includes Paula Deen Foods and Paula Deen Media, received between $75 million and $100 million from investment firm Najafi Companies.

But at her lowest point last summer, Deen told People she struggled just to get out of bed.

“When I woke up each morning, it was like my world was crashing down again,” she said.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Elmont couple busted in Oxycodone case

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THE TWO FUGITIVE LEADERS OF A LONG ISLAND BASED OXYCODONE RING SURRENDERED TO FEDERAL AGENTS.

OFFICIALS SAID 26 YEAR OLD JOSHUA LEWIS AND 23 YEAR OLD DEIRDREANNE DOPWELL,  BOTH OF ELMONT HAD BEEN DEALING MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF THE PAIN PILLS IN THE METROPOLITAN AREA AND ALONG THE EAST COAST.  OFFICIALS SAID THE RING HAD FORGED PRESCRIPTION BLANKS AND OBTAINED OVER 100,000 TABLETS IN THE PAST 2 YEARS.

LAST WEEK TWO OF THE RING LEADERS WERE ARRESTED, AND NOW ALL 4 DEFENDANTS FACE UP TO 20 YEARS IN PRISON IF CONVICTED.

Felton released

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Knicks guard Raymond Felton was released shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday on a 25-thousand-dollar bond.

The 29-year-old was charged with two counts of felony possession for his ownership of an unregistered, armor-piercing firearm that he allegedly waved around aggressively during a fight with his wife.  Ariane Raymondo-Felton, who filed for divorce and was fearful of the weapon being in their home, turned the gun in.

The judge imposed a six-month order of protection to keep Felton away from his wife.

LIPA was awful

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LIPA took one more hit to its reputation before turning over Long Island’s power grid to PSE&G; it dropped even lower in J.D. Power’s business customer satisfaction survey.

The agency was already last in previous rankings scoring 540 out of a possible one thousand in 2012.  In 2013 LIPA was down to 525 points even as 79 other utilities in the same survey saw improvement.

Former Bellport teacher acquitted of rape

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Former Bellport High School teacher Jonathan Elsalam was acquitted of rape charges Tuesday.

The Ridge resident was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child for a months-longaffair with a former student.  The verdict guarantees that Elsalam will not have to register as a sex offender.  Elsalam’s attorney told jurors in his closing argument last week that although Elsalam should have kept his distance from the girl, she aggressively pursued the relationship and sought criminal charges only after her family filed a ten-million-dollar lawsuit against the South Country School District.

Heroin bust in Ronkonkoma

HERNANDEZ, Nicholas  PIN 634865 02-25-2014 (PIO - Rich GLANZER)

Suffolk County Police today arrested two people for possessing a significant quantity of heroin with their infant in the car.

Fourth Precinct detectives, responding to specific community complaints of drug activity in Ronkonkoma, observed a vehicle committing numerous traffic infractions. Upon approaching the vehicle on Expressway Drive North, the detectives noted a strong odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle. The passenger in the vehicle indicated that he had just smoked marijuana. Further investigation revealed that the parents were in possession of a large quantity of heroin and their 5-month-old son was in the car.

Nicholas Hernandez, 21, of Juniper Street, Islip, was charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd Degree, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 4th Degree, two counts of Criminal Contempt and Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

The woman was charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd Degree, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 4th Degree, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Criminal Impersonation 2nd Degree and numerous traffic violations. The woman’s name is being withheld as she is the victim of domestic violence.

The infant was released to family members. Suffolk County Child Protective Services was notified.