close this bookVolume 1: No. 35
View the documentNews -- computer industry
View the documentNews -- information industry
View the documentNews -- NSF postdoctoral grants
View the documentNews -- job opportunities
View the documentNews -- journal calls
View the documentComputists -- Steve Vere, John Dinsmore
View the documentDiscussion -- business experiences
View the documentDiscussion -- back problems; ergonomic furniture
View the documentDiscussion -- CTS; voice recognition
View the documentDiscussion -- health and diet

I discussed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in V1 N26. I've now heard (non-authoritatively) that CTS tends to strike professional women, and in their non-dominant hands. Professionals (e.g., typists, pianists, or reporters) do more repetitive motions than amateurs, and this can overcome any remedial effect of good posture or technique. Women tend to suffer more from fluid retention (due to pregnancy, birth control pills, menopause, premenstrual syndrome, and hysterectomy), which exacerbates CTS. Women may also be more susceptible to inflammation. [The Neck Arm Hand Book by Lauren Andrew Hebert, PT.] The non-dominant hand is involved in fewer different activities, and may also be used more in supinated (palm up) support positions that tighten the tendons. Other positions that cause trouble are flexion (bending the hand toward the palm) and ulnar deviation (tipping the hand toward the little finger), which fold the critical tendons against ligaments or bones. Pinching movements create five times as much tendon pressure as do gripping actions. (That's why shears are less tiring than scissors.) [Michael Sauda (sauda@maine.bitnet), C+HEALTH, 9/24.]

Some doctors have experimented with 300 mg/day vitamin B-6 supplements. If the supplements don't work in 12 weeks, though, B-6 supplements probably aren't the answer. If you massively overdose (100-500 mg/day), watch for loss of memory or for numbness in your feet. [Tim Freeman (tsf@cs.cmu.edu), C+HEALTH, 9/18.]

There is an operation that can relieve all pain and numbness of CTS within an hour after surgery. One of the ligaments in the carpal tunnel is cut and pulled out, relieving the pressure. (This may cause a permanent decrease in grip strength. [Tim Freeman, C+HEALTH, 10/11.]) Dr. Resnick, appeared on Dr. Atkins' segment of the NBC Today show, 10/10/91, and could also be contacted through the Arthritis Foundation, (800) 283-7800. [Vikki Wachuku-Stokes. Marilyn Everingham (mrln2@msu.bitnet), C+HEALTH, 10/10.]

Snipping the transverse ligament band will not fix CTS in all patients. Robert Markison is a San Francisco-area hand surgeon who has done several arthroscopic carpal tunnel release surgeries. He prefers conventional methods in almost all cases. There is "incredible variability" inside the wrist, and arthroscopic examination doesn't give a big enough picture. Opening up the wrist may show that the actual problem is a couple of inches further up the arm. [Chris Grant (chris.grant)@um.cc.umich.edu) C+HEALTH, 10/26.]

If you can't regain use of your hands, you may need a voice- command system for your computer.

IBM and Dragon Systems have announced VoiceType, an adaptive 7,000-word system for the IBM PS/2. $3,185; (617) 965-5200. [PC AI, 7-8/91.]

Voice Navigator is a $799 program for the Mac. It takes a bit of training, but it does what it advertises. Dan Rasmus (72225.1423@compuserve.com) gives it a favorable review. [PC AI, 6-7/91.]

For DEC's latest in VAX voice and voicemail, see Computer, 7/91, p. 90. Several products are listed, including a specification for multimedia documents.

The address for the Kurzweil reading machine is Kurzweil Applied Intelligence (Waltham, MA), (617) 893-5151.