Monthly Archives: August 2012

New Book: When Can We Run, Dance and Play Again? by Carla Valentino


New Book: When Can We Run, Dance and Play Again? by Carla Valentino


Click here for more information and to order the book on her website.










News: Selwyn Days’ ex-girlfriend’s pain doesn’t cause amnesia, doctor testifies










Selwyn Days’ ex-girlfriend’s pain doesn’t cause amnesia, doctor testifies


WHITE PLAINS — The ex-girlfriend of slaying suspect Selwyn Days should be able to remember statements Days made to her about a pair of killings years ago despite her physical pain, a medical expert suggested in court Tuesday.

“It does not cause Alzheimer-like symptoms,” said Dr. Richard Weinstein, a prosecution witness, during a contempt of court hearing for Cherlyn Mayhew.

Mayhew had been a key witness for county prosecutors in their case against Days but now faces a month in jail and a $1,000 fine after claiming that her physical ailments have led to total amnesia about anything related to the 1996 killings of Eastchester millionaire Archie Harris and his home aide Betty Ramcharan.

Two weeks ago, Mayhew said she remembered nothing, not even her 2003 testimony, in which she told a jury that Days had bragged about getting away with murder when they lived in Mount Vernon.

“He said, ‘I’m going to kill you ’cause I did it before, and I got away with it,’ ” Mayhew said back then. “He told me he killed this old man. He said he beat him and he beat him. The lady was screaming and he said that he stabbed them.”

Days was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison, but the conviction was overturned and Mayhew was called once again to testify. Her account is crucial to the prosecution’s case; the defense says that Days was coerced by police into giving a false confession.

If county Judge Barry Warhit finds her in contempt, he could allow the jury to hear a transcript of her 2003 testimony, which led to Days being convicted in 2004. A judge overturned the conviction in December 2009, in part because witnesses came forward and said Days was out of state when the slaying took place.

Weinstein, an orthopedic surgeon with Bone & Joint Associates in White Plains, said Mayhew’s claim of memory loss cannot be attributed to her reflex sympathetic dystrophy, a progressive neurological disease that limits mobility and causes chronic pain.

“RSD cannot cause memory loss,” he said. “It’s absolute. RSD does not affect the brain.”

He also said he reviewed Mayhew’s medical records and found that her MRI was normal and that the 10 to 15 medications she has taken over the years cause no long-term memory loss.

Mayhew, who entered the courtroom in a wheelchair, sat nearly motionless during the doctor’s testimony.

Under cross examination by Mayhew’s lawyer, Ted Brundage, Weinstein said he had never testified as an expert about RSD or amnesia before and never knew anyone to fake amnesia.

Weinstein will finish his testimony Tuesday, at which time Brundage, and possibly Days’ defense team, will call witnesses. An appellate judge denied the defense’s request to stop the contempt hearing.

The Westchester County District Attorney’s office paid Weinstein’s office about $6,000 for his time and is paying for Mayhew and her husband to stay in New York.

Days’ retrial on the murder charges, which began Sept. 21, will continue today.



Click here for the original article online.



Calmare: Health Check: Chronic pain treatment (NBC 10 News Segment)


* * * * *  click here to watch the video on the original article page  * * * * *

WEST WARWICK, R.I. –Michelle Jacobson has traveled more than 700 miles from Grand Rapids, Mich., to West Warwick for a special medical treatment.

It started with a breast cancer diagnosis three years ago. That led to reconstructive surgery that left her in severe chronic pain.

“I couldn’t walk out in the wind. I would cringe to put on clothes,” said Jacobson, a mother of two.

She couldn’t pick up her 5-year-old son, Micah, or hug her 8-year-old daughter, Severena.

So she went to see Dr. Stephen D’Amato, who brought a new pain therapy to Rhode Island, the first in the country to use in private practice.

“Being an ER doctor for over 30 years, I’ve seen a lot of pain and suffering,” D’Amato said.

When he heard about Calmar pain relief therapy, he went straight to the source.

D’Amato said he traveled to Italy and studied under a bioengineer professor who developed a new non-invasive, non-surgical pain treatment.

“Pain is generally represented by electrical wave forms so that if we can manipulate the electrical wave form of your pain then we can manipulate your pain,” he said.

D’Amato uses a machine that he said is able to transmit every single combination of a non-pain wave form string sequence.

D’Amato said it doesn’t block the pain. It sends non-pain messages to the brain, which in essence trains the brain to not feel pain.

Carol Ann Donnelly, a two-time breast cancer survivor who works for the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Foundation, had chemotherapy-induced neuropathy.

“And after the first treatment I could actually feel. I had numbness in the tips of my fingers and had for many years and I actually, the sensation was back,” she said.

Robin Wiegand had chronic pain everywhere.

“On a zero to 10 scale, I always said that it was a 50 or a 90. It was horrible,” she said.

Wiegand, who travels from Las Vegas for treatments, is a believer even if she doesn’t completely understand how it works.

“Every time it has gotten my pain down to zero,” she said.

Kendra Cimaglia, a 15-year cancer survivor, said she’s now able to stand on her toes without any pain.

Jacobson has finished her treatments.

“You know when (Micah) reaches up his little hands like, ‘Pick me up’, you know, and I can. It’s just a miracle,” she said.

D’Amato said he’s treated hundreds of patients like Jacobson over the past few years.

Overall he said the treatment is about 80 percent effective in treating chronic pain.



Click here for the original article online.



Article: First research to locate chronic pain cause.

The first longitudinal brain imaging study to explain and prove why some people have lifelong chronic pain and others do not when the person has suffered the same injury was reported in the journal Nature Neuroscience on July 1, 2012, and reviewed at the Eureka Alert web site the same day.

Researchers at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine led by A. Vania Apakarian determined that that chronic pain develops the more the frontal cortex and the nucleus accumbens regions of the brain communicate with each other. Higher levels of communication between these two brain regions indicates a higher potential for a person to develop chronic pain.

The research is the result of ten years of observation and comparison of people with the same type of back injuries through brain imaging.

The researchers were able to predict who would develop chronic pain with 85 percent accuracy at the beginning of the study based on the levels of communication between frontal cortex and the nucleus accumbens. The study participants had no prior history of back pain and were examined at frequent intervals using brain imaging techniques.

The nucleus accumbens is an important center for teaching the rest of the brain how to evaluate and react to the outside world and the more emotionally the brain reacts to the initial injury the more likely the pain will persist after the injury has healed.

Genetic and environmental causes may produce the differences seen in individual’s response to an injury and the development of chronic pain. Some people appear to be predisposed to develop chronic pain.

The scientists are at present using this first of its kind information to develop specific treatment strategies that target chronic pain. Back pain is a particular target for new therapies.

Chronic pain treatment costs $600 billion per year according to a 2011 National Academy of Sciences report.



Click here for the original article online.




This article also reported on the same study:


Why chronic pain is all in your head

First study to show early brain changes predict which patients develop chronic pain

CHICAGO — When people have similar injuries, why do some end up with chronic pain while others recover and are pain free? The first longitudinal brain imaging study to track participants with a new back injury has found the chronic pain is all in their heads –- quite literally.

A new Northwestern Medicine study shows for the first time that chronic pain develops the more two sections of the brain — related to emotional and motivational behavior — talk to each other. The more they communicate, the greater the chance a patient will develop chronic pain.

The finding provides a new direction for developing therapies to treat intractable pain, which affects 30 to 40 million adults in the United States.

Researchers were able to predict, with 85 percent accuracy at the beginning of the study, which participants would go on to develop chronic pain based on the level of interaction between the frontal cortex and the nucleus accumbens.

The study is published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

“For the first time we can explain why people who may have the exact same initial pain either go on to recover or develop chronic pain,” said A. Vania Apakarian, senior author of the paper and professor of physiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“The injury by itself is not enough to explain the ongoing pain. It has to do with the injury combined with the state of the brain. This finding is the culmination of 10 years of our research.”

The more emotionally the brain reacts to the initial injury, the more likely the pain will persist after the injury has healed. “It may be that these sections of the brain are more excited to begin with in certain individuals, or there may be genetic and environmental influences that predispose these brain regions to interact at an excitable level,” Apkarian said.

The nucleus accumbens is an important center for teaching the rest of the brain how to evaluate and react to the outside world, Apkarian noted, and this brain region may use the pain signal to teach the rest of the brain to develop chronic pain.

“Now we hope to develop new therapies for treatment based on this finding,” Apkarian added.

Chronic pain participants in the study also lost gray matter density, which is likely linked to fewer synaptic connections or neuronal and glial shrinkage, Apkarian said. Brain synapses are essential for communication between neurons.

“Chronic pain is one of the most expensive health care conditions in the U. S. yet there still is not a scientifically validated therapy for this condition,” Apkarian said. Chronic pain costs an estimated $600 billion a year, according to a 2011 National Academy of Sciences report. Back pain is the most prevalent chronic pain condition.

A total of 40 participants who had an episode of back pain that lasted four to 16 weeks — but with no prior history of back pain — were studied. All subjects were diagnosed with back pain by a clinician. Brain scans were conducted on each participant at study entry and for three more visits during one year.




Other Northwestern authors on the paper include lead author Marwan N. Baliki, Bogdan Petre, Souraya Torbey, Kristina M. Herrmann, Lejian Huang and Thomas J. Schnitzer.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health grant NS35115.



Click here for the original article online.



Abstract: Integrative approach focusing on acupuncture in the treatment of chronic complex regional pain syndrome.


Integrative approach focusing on acupuncture in the treatment of chronic complex regional pain syndrome.


Sprague M, et al. Show all


J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Jan;17(1):67-70. Epub 2011 Jan 5.


Coastal Carolina Neuropsychiatric Center, Jacksonville, NC, USA.


BACKGROUND: Chronic complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition that leads to sympathetic nervous system involvement and trophic changes.

OBJECTIVE: This study describes the use of acupuncture in a case study of CRPS. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PATIENT: This is a single case report of a 34-year-old patient diagnosed with CRPS.

INTERVENTION: Acupuncture treatment including acupoints along the Gallbladder, Liver, Spleen, Heart, and Kidney meridians. Self-treatment plan included a laser acupuncture pen device and disposable press needles.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), McGill Pain Questionnaire, and Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS).

RESULTS: The Patient reported a decrease in pain levels, depression, and an improved quality of life. Pretreatment SDS score of 17, a 12 on the BDI, and a 67 on the McGill Pain Questionnaire. Post-treatment SDS decreased to 4, her BDI went to 0, and her McGill Pain Questionnaire decreased to a 10.

CONCLUSIONS: More research is needed and case studies performed to support our findings.


21208130 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Click here for the original article online.