Interesting article on the use of cooling devices to control core body temperature and thereby improve physical recovery time. Even more interesting is the potential use for MS patients. From the article:
Meanwhile, researchers continue to investigate therapeutic uses for cooling. One exciting area of research involves multiple sclerosis, a disease where even a 1/2-degree Celsius rise in core body temperature can lead to rapid and dramatic physical and cognitive decline. (MS sufferers say the sudden enervation feels as though a switch was flipped.) The disease destroys portions of the fatty myelin sheath that insulates nerves; heat disrupts the electric impulses traveling along the frayed nerves. Retaining strength—key to staying out of a wheelchair—is a significant challenge for MS patients, for whom fatigue can lead to a spiral of debility.
Jim Seaton, a management consultant who lives in Washington, D.C., has MS. Once a top runner and avid hiker, he has to be cautious about exertion. He pushed himself too far once and had to crawl back to his car in the parking lot; recovery to his baseline level of functioning took two days. Seaton, after hearing a radio report about cooling athletes, arranged to try the RTX to see if it reduced the fatigue that resulted when his body warmed up. Using the RTX, he can cool to his resting state in 10 to 15 minutes—and then continue to hike. The RTX isn’t exactly convenient: the $4,000 unit weighs 12 pounds and has to be reloaded with ice every 2 1/2 hours. But owning one changed his life. “I’m already planning trips to the museum [and] to Europe that I would have thought thrice about before.”
Very cool, indeed. Read more here: http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2005/julaug/features/cool.html