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Johns Hopkins Doctors research scuba diving as therapy

(DiverWire) Does scuba diving provide a possible answer for those suffering from paralysis? That’s the question researchers from Johns Hopkins University were looking into last week in the Cayman Islands. Together with the Cody Unser First Step Foundation (CUFSF) a first-of-its-kind Johns Hopkins-endorsed medical study, looked into the rehabilitative qualities of diving for people with disabilities.

The Cody Unser First Step Foundation, in partnership with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury at Kennedy Krieger Institute, has received an IRB (Institutional Review Board) to research a SCUBA-Medical Pilot Study on people with paralysis.  The IRB-approved study will conduct human trials on 10 paralyzed veterans to measure the neurological, psychological, and pulmonary effects of SCUBA diving.

According to physicians involved in the project, there have been anecdotal reports of physically-challenged individuals who have experienced different sensations and movements following scuba diving activity. The study will look at different areas that might be affected by the scuba diving experience.

Cody Unser said, “I am grateful to the doctors who listened to our plea to study the effects of SCUBA, to research the science, and take the time to see it first-hand in the Cayman Islands, some of the best diving waters in the world. We have known for quite some time that SCUBA benefits people with paralysis through movement in a neutrally buoyant environment, not to mention the empowerment and confidence realized by delving into Cayman’s clear Caribbean waters.”

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