THURSDAY, Jan. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' remarkable progress, including standing up with the help of aides Wednesday, bodes well for her continued recovery at a Houston rehabilitation center, where she will be moved Friday, just 13 days after a bullet pierced her brain.
Latest reports from University Medical Center in Tucson indicate that the Arizona congresswoman is able to move both hands and communicate with those around her, although it is unclear if she can speak. All this indicates a high level of motor and emotional function, experts say.
"The fact that she is able to communicate, that she is able to stand and walk, the fact that she is moving both hands is a good thing," said Dr. Kester Nedd, an associate professor of neurology and director of neuro-rehabilitation at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
"Motor function is a very strong predictor of outcome," he said. In addition, her ability to express emotion and interpret human interactions, which are some of the highest levels of cognitive function, means her chances of recovery are very good, Nedd said.
Giffords was one of 18 people shot by a gunman on Jan. 8 outside a Tucson supermarket. Six people died. On Wednesday, a federal grand injury indicted the suspect, Jared Loughner, 22, of Tucson, on charges of attempting to assassinate Giffords and trying to kill two of her aides, the Associated Press reported.
Giffords' rehabilitation will take place at TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. This is one of the best rehabilitation centers in the country, said Dr. Steve Williams, chief and chairman of the department of rehabilitation medicine at Boston Medical Center and professor and chairman of rehabilitation medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.
"The key things with neurological injuries are when people begin to show signs of recovery ve
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