A systematic survey of the scientific literature shows that stem cell therapy can have a statistically significant impact on animal models of spinal cord injury, and points the way for future studies.
Spinal cord injuries are mostly caused by trauma, often incurred in road traffic or sporting incidents, often with devastating and irreversible consequences, and unfortunately having a relatively high prevalence (250,000 patients in the USA; 80% of cases are male). High-profile campaigners like the late actor Christopher Reeve, himself a victim of sports-related spinal cord injury, have placed high hopes in stem cell transplantation. But how likely is it to work? Continue Reading »
Ever since my injury three years ago I have been determined to show the world that people with disabilities can be just as happy, independent and productive as those without disabilities. But is it possible that showing such positivity could mask our daily hardships to the point that the urgency for a cure is diminished?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s important that society knows that we are more able than most would imagine. But sometimes it feels like that is the only message we’re getting out. What about the desire for a cure? Continue Reading »
In April 2007, Amanda left a prom after-party with a friend who had been drinking.
On the way home, the driver crashed into a ditch. Amanda’s spinal cord was injured, and she was paralyzed from the neck down.
She was hospitalized for five months and went through a grueling regimen of physical therapy each day. Amanda had to relearn how to feed herself, brush her teeth, get dressed and do many other simple, everyday tasks. She was told she would never walk again. Six years later Amanda is still in a wheelchair. Continue Reading »
Reports of paralysed animals walking again can give unrealistic hopes to people with spinal injuries. What is more important is that they develop the skills and perspective to get on with their lives
A recent breakthrough in regenerative medicine saw paraplegic dogs regaining some function in their back legs: inevitably, the headlines talked of hope for human patients with spinal cord injury.
But the head of clinical psychology at the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Professor Paul Kennedy, argues that this kind of “magic bullet” reporting can be damaging to people who are coming to terms with a life-changing injury. Continue Reading »
After decades of research, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis has completed its first human cell transplant for a spinal cord injury.
Doctors grew what are called Schwann cells from nerve tissue taken from an unidentified man’s leg, then transplanted them back into his own body. The patient now has passed the critical 30-day, post-operation period without complications, giving researchers hope that they’re headed toward curing paralysis and developing treatments for neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Continue Reading »
A relatively new treatment protocol is providing nearly miraculous results for some victims of spinal cord injuries, reports the Miami Herald. In the case of one 20-year-old gymnast from Florida, hypothermic treatment before surgery appears to have prevented profound paralysis and put him back on his feet just days after the accident.
The young gymnast, a state champion, was practicing for an audition with the Cirque de Soleil when a double flip went badly wrong. He missed and landed squarely on his head. Continue Reading »
Relay involving 7,000 Canadians chosen from 600 communities along the route will begin on 25th anniversary of historic trek
When an exhausted but triumphant Rick Hansen pushed himself into Vancouver on May 22, 1987, after circling the globe in a wheelchair for two years, the miles were all behind him but the journey was just beginning. Continue Reading »
Eli the donkey’s recovery from incomplete quadriplegia could be the most important breakthrough in traumatic spinal-cord injuries and for the stem-cell treatment that restored his mobility—a breakthrough that could impact not only equids but all mammals, including humans.
Quadriplegia is considered incomplete if there is lack of mobility yet some sensory or motor function below the affected area.
On May 13, little Eli was inexplicably savaged by his longtime companion Watson, a jack nearly twice his size. Continue Reading »