November 2004 Table of Contents


Special Section: The Great Equalizers

Whether they are computer related or simple aids for daily living, products that meet special needs can make life a lot more enjoyable.

It's Academic!

Educational scholarships open opportunities for learning.

In War—and Peace

On Veterans Day, November 11, Americans honor military personnel who served—and are serving—our country.

A new Web site offers easy ways to educate our youth and show appreciation to our servicemen and -women.

Click here for articles
Also in this issue:

Reasons & Remarks

In "Trains and Brains," Editor Cliff Crase regales readers with accounts of a man who failed to use his brain when he positioned his wheelchair a little too close to the railroad tracks, and early trials of a new wheelchair that will reportedly be controlled by brain power.

A Closer Look

A typical manual wheelchair user pushes on his or her handrims an average of 2,500 times a day. That's 75,000 times a month and more than 900,000 times a year. Several studies of the design consequences provide guidelines for how to go about "reinventing" the handrim—and possibly preventing or delaying the onset of upper-extremity pain and injury. Here's a look at what's happening.

Diagnosis MS

Among the first things you are told after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis are: (1) the course of the disease is unpredictable and (2) there is no cure. These statements are true at this time, but they do not mean there is nothing you can do. A disease-modifying therapy that slows down the course of MS, reduces the number of attacks, and delays onset of permanent disability may be right for you.

Living Well

You or a member of your family may have had an episode of cellulitis, an inflammation of the cells. It is a common infection, and almost everyone has had an episode at one time or another. This article describes the causes and symptoms and offers advice on what you can do about it.

Money Talks

Structuring a laddered portfolio with investments in successive maturities allows investors to achieve more flexible management of fixed income-oriented assets, according to columnist and financial counselor Dan Jones. This month, Jones offers some tips for success with this investment strategy.

Sexuality and SCI

Since the release of Viagra in March 1998, a tremendous number of herbal and "Viagra-like" products have been marketed, ranging from herbal remedies to devices to enlarge the penis, various nonapproved medications, penile-stretching exercises, vacuum devices, and transdermal patches to improve sexual desire. Columnist Dr. Stanley Ducharme notes that recently, however, concerned experts have reported that these herbal supplements and sexual medicines are not as safe and effective as touted by their developers.

Travel Tips

Columnist Carol Randall updates readers on a new access guide to San Francisco, accessible cabins in the Hocking Hills area of Ohio, and a Gainesville (Fla.) inn with accessible rooms. You'll also find out in what situations an airline may require a qualified individual with a disability to fly with an attendant.

Around the House

Staff at (an Internet store with hundreds of "easier living" products) has researched flooring, an important decorative element and an even more important component for home accessibility. This month's Around the House shares some of their advice. There's also an update on an important housing-discrimination legal case.

Mobility & More

With more adapted vehicles on the roads today than ever before, you'll be interested in this month's article on a transportation watchdog group of engineers, auto techicians, tinkerers, inventors, and vehicle hobbyists. There's also information about a new portable automobile hand control, a heavy-duty chair designed to meet the needs of larger individuals who want all a power chair has to offer, and development of a prototype three-speed wheelchair hub that could potentially increase propulsion efficiency and mobility.

On the Job

Several federal laws prohibit employment-related discrimination on the basis of disability. People who believe they may have been discriminated against should assess their situations according to the guidelines outlined in this month's "On the Job" and then take actions deemed appropriate. There is also information about two new products that help wheelchair users more easily carry and access personal belongings without assistance.

People in the News

Mark Overstreet, who sustained a spinal-cord injury 34 years ago, still works cattle on the family's 7,000-acre ranch in Florida. The accidental gunshot that injured his spine changed—but did not end—life as he knows it.

Research Update

ATP, the vital energy source that keeps the body’s cells alive, runs amok at the site of a spinal-cord injury (SCI), pouring into the area around the wound and killing the cells that normally allow us to move, scientists report in the cover story of the August 2004 Nature Medicine. In this month's issue, read about this unexpected finding.


Catch an overview of the annual conferences of three groups of SCI professionals: the American Paraplegia Society, The American Association of Spinal Cord Injury Psychologists and Social Workers, and the American Association of Spinal Cord Injury Nurses.

Sports & Recreation

Reports on the 2004 Wisconsin PVA Trapshoot, next year's Senior Olympics (now open to veterans who win gold or silver medals at the Golden Age Games in certain events), and accessible-golf-cart rentals in Florida. If you like wheelchair sports and recreation, you'll love our sister publication, SPORTS ’N SPOKES!

Veteran Advisor

Ed Rogers, a national field director for the Paralyzed Veterans of America, answers this month's question: A service-connected disabled veteran with MS wants to know if his disability rating can be increased if his condition is worsening.

PVA President's Message

PVA National President Randy Pleva talks this month about Veterans Day: "In our busy world of today with all the politics and being bombarded with commercials for 'that perfect gift for the holidays,' we sometimes forget why we have a holiday on November 11."

And Finally...

Columnist Marty Ball talks about living life to its fullest—overcoming the barriers, getting out there, and just doing it!

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