A Stroke Can Steal Away A Person’s Ability To Move Freely. Virtual Reality Might Help Bring It Back.

How do you get to a physical therapy appointment when your limbs are paralyzed? Bring the physical therapy to you.

The cruelest thing about a stroke is that its effects can linger well after you leave the hospital.

It can affect a person’s memory or ability to speak and even rob them of the use of their hands and arms. Suddenly, formerly simple tasks like using a phone, doing the dishes, or turning the pages of a book can become arduous.

Because of this, one of the first places a stroke patient often goes after the hospital is to rehabilitation at a clinic or medical center. However, in the future, doctors might have another option at their disposal to help people regain their dexterity. A new study suggests that virtual reality (VR) might be as effective as regular therapy when it comes to restoring hand and arm movement after a stroke.

A user shows off one of the program's games. Photo via Dr. Iris Brunner, used with permission.

The study comes from Dr. Iris Brunner of Aarhus University in Denmark. Brunner and her team divided 120 stroke patients into two groups. The first got conventional therapy in a medical clinic while the second got to play with a specially designed VR program that use screens and gloves to challenge the player to various dexterity games. After four weeks, Brunner compared the two groups’ progress and found them to be nearly identical.

This suggests that in the future, VR might be able to supplement or even serve as an alternative to conventional therapy, making treatment accessible to people who struggle with the cost, distance, or burden of having to travel to a medical center. Instead of having to call, pay for, and spend an hour in a taxi, people could train from the comfort of their living rooms.

Though sophisticated VR is still a relatively new technology, the medical field has been quick to experiment with it. Doctors have used VR to give trainee doctors a close-up view of complicated surgeries, teach them empathy, and even cheer up patients stuck in a hospital.

via Douglas Muth / Flickr

Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

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However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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via / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

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Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

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Photo by HAL9001 on Unsplash

The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

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