Monthly Archives: January 2006
THERE WAS FEAR, of course, along with the invevitable questions: Why did this happen? What’s going to become of me? But the emotion Taylor Chace most remembers from the immediate aftermath of the injury that rendered him partially paralyzed is anger.
“I was angry at first. Of course I was,” Chace said last week, three years and three months after he slid violently into the boards of a hockey rink in Cannington, Ontario, shattering the L-1 vertebra in his spinal cord.
“But anger helped me to turn my life into a positive. I didn’t want this to stop me from living my life.”
An imminent medical breakthrough in the treatment of paralysis (Paraplegia and Tetraplegia) is anticipated in Professor Geoffrey Raisman’s lecture: Repairing the Spinal Cord: Ripples of an Oncoming Tide. This inaugural lecture will be given at 5.30 pm on Wednesday 11th January at the Wolfson Lecture Theatre, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London WC1N. This is also the official opening of the UCL Spinal Repair Unit.
The Lecture has proven to be very popular, and all tickets for it have now been allocated.
NEW YORK — Having spent 23 years in a wheelchair, Wall Street analyst Henry Stifel keeps a close eye on spinal cord research. And he says the latest scientific scandal in South Korea has not dimmed his hope that stem cells may one day help people like him.
“Some research was discredited. It doesn’t discredit all the research that’s been achieved,” said Stifel, who is quadriplegic.
SIHEUNG, South Korea — The boy who became known as “Donor 2” was propped up in a wheelchair when a team of esteemed scientists strolled into his hospital room nearly three years ago.
Nine-year-old Kim Hyeoni had been hit by a car while crossing the street the previous year. Once a chubby-cheeked child who loved baseball and practical jokes, he now was paralyzed from the chest down.
“Sir, will I be able to stand up and walk again?” he asked the leader of the team, a South Korean veterinarian named Hwang Woo Suk, according to an account by his father.
The wheelchairs crashed with a loud metallic “thunk” that echoed through the gym. Jaffer Odeh, wheeling furiously, slipped through a crease in the tangle of athletes to score another goal.
Several basketball players shooting on adjacent courts at the Rec Center on the University of Michigan’s Flint campus grabbed chairs and watched in silence. The wheelchair rugby teammates continued to bash into each other as they darted around the floor, frequently passing a volleyball.
After one play is whistled dead, Odeh playfully crashes into teammate Felipe Vanegas and Odeh’s chair tips over. “Get up, you pansy,” someone says playfully as a teammate helps Odeh right himself.
DETROIT – Laura Jackson doesn’t want to wait for a cure.
Paralyzed in May 2003 while performing a backward flip in a cheerleading stunt, Laura, 16, underwent experimental surgery in China late last year and pursues therapies she and her parents, Daryl and Melody, find promising.
Her story illustrates how some people with spinal cord injuries and their families are devising their own solutions and remedies, even building expensive home gyms. Much like cancer patients and thousands of others who search abroad for cures and treatments, they face questions and skepticism from the medical establishment.
Stem cells are unspecialized cells that have the potential to develop into any kind of tissue in the body (e.g. blood cells, heart cells, brain cells etc.) This has lead scientists to investigate the possibility of using them in regenerative medicine, a cell-based therapy to treat disease. Some regard them as offering the greatest potential for alleviation of human suffering since the development of antibiotics. Stem cells can possibly be used to treat Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, traumatic spinal cord injury, heart disease, vision and hearing loss, muscular dystrophy.
Stem cell research has great promise but introduces ethical dilemmas because the research essentially involves the use of human embryos, thus life.
The hopes of many quadriplegics (like me) and otherwise injured individuals have been dashed since Korean stem-cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk, who claimed to be on track for curing spinal cord injuries among other ailments, turned out to be an apparent fraud. But I never hung all of my hopes on Hwang or stem-cell research.
That’s because scientists who study spinal cord injury, or SCI, know that it won’t be stem cells or any other single therapy that will cure paralysis.
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a two-step process. The primary injury is mechanical, resulting from impact, compression or some other insult to the spinal column. The Secondary Injury is biochemical, as cellular reactions cause tissue destruction. By interrupting this second process, it may be possible to speed healing and minimize permanent effects.
In a paper published in the current issue of Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, researchers from the Anadolu Cinar Hospital and the GATA Haydarpasa Research and Training Hospital, both in Istanbul, Turkey, found that erythropoietin improves neurological recovery, and may be more effective than the current standard treatment.