On Primetime: Medical Mysteries tonight 'August 12, 2008 at 10:00 p.m. EST David Muir reports on Surfer's Myelopathy a mysterious and terrifying threat that could be lurking for beginner surfers — not under the water, where you would suspect, but in their own bodies.
Muir speaks with two men who tried surfing for the first time on a beach vacation and became paralyzed from the waist down because of a rare complication known as Surfer's Myelopathy. Read more about it here.
Dr. James Pearce, who first documented this condition nearly 25 years ago, explains to "Primetime" that, when the spinal cord is hyper-extended, as when a surfer arches his back on the board, it can interrupt the blood flow to the spine causing what he calls a "stroke to the spine."
According to Wikipedia, the condition gets its name because the phenomenon is most often seen in those surfing for the first time, but it can be caused by any activity in which the back is hyper-extended. The majority of patients suffering from surfer's myelopathy make a full recovery, though others suffer permanent damage.
For now, no medication or surgery is available to treat 'Surfer's Myelopathy'. Many patients do recover, however, through intense physical therapy.
Also during Primetime: Medical Mysteries season's premiere tonight don't miss the story about Dede who is referred to by people in his community of Indonesia as 'Tree Man'. He has warts caused by the HPV that looks like tree bark. Dede is severely covered by growths, that look like bark and roots. Watch Primetime: Medical Mysteries to see if surgery can help Dede become normal again
I am fascinated by these medical mystery shows…and on going to ABCNews.com/Primetime for a chance to play doctor and diagnose a disease.