NEW HAVEN — Lindsey Runkel says there are no inappropriate questions to ask her.
There certainly are many questions to ask.
Like, how does a nurse, paralyzed from the chest down, do her job from a wheelchair? How does she stay so effervescently positive all the time? Why does she continue to go mountain biking after a crash in New Hampshire pinched her spinal cord, breaking two vertebrae?
Kent Stephenson is on a treadmill, working to put one foot in front of the other as a team of trainers helps guide his legs. There’s a harness holding him upright, but Stephenson is, in a sense, walking again — 10 years after a motocross accident left him paralyzed.
“Going off the face of a jump, my motor locked up and I tried to jump away from the bike. It didn’t work for me, I landed and cartwheeled, somersaults and everything,” Stephenson says. “I pretty much knew instantly that I couldn’t move my legs.”
First-in-human clinical study found improved motor and sensory function in three of four participants
Writing in the June 1 issue of Cell Stem Cell, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine report that a first-in-human phase I clinical trial in which neural stem cells were transplanted into participants with chronic spinal cord injuries produced measurable improvement in three of four subjects, with no serious adverse effects.
Until World War II, people with spinal cord injuries had few treatment or rehabilitation options. And even today, spinal cord injuries can have catastrophic effects on everything from mobility to sensation, bladder, bowel and sexual function.
However, over the past 20 years, several breakthroughs in spinal cord repair and technology have emerged. No single breakthrough has achieved a full repair, but each has advanced our understanding of the complexities of spinal cord injuries. Here are ten of the most important advances in spinal cord injury repair.
ReWalk Robotics announced the first ruling by the Social Welfare Court of Speyer which declared the ReWalk exoskeleton system was medically necessary and should be covered by insurance for a patient with spinal cord injury. The ruling, delivered in late July, overturns the original denial of the claim by the payer, a statutory health insurance entity, according to a press release.
The claimant, Philip Hollinger, is a 44-year-old man who sustained a spinal cord injury in a car accident in 2006. The accident left him paralyzed with a T6 level injury.
Our program targets the recovery of the malfunctioning Central Nervous System (CNS) through the use of important components utilized in neuroplasticity. The benefits can be noted both in people with spinal cord injuries and during motor recovery from other types of brain injuries, e.g. (TBI, CVA or Strokes, tumors, ataxias, etc), CP (Cerebral Palsy), Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and others.
Because it is an intensive, specific program aimed at physical recovery, it is important to be aware that some alterations associated with neurological injuries may restrict an individual’s participation in the program.
Victory Over Paralysis – It’s our goal. It’s what motivates us as we fashion each experiment after, document and categorize each participant’s progress with.
The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, a Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has received permission from the Food and Drug Administration to begin a Phase 1 clinical trial to evaluate the safety of transplanting human Schwann cells to treat patients with recent spinal cord injuries.
We are not recruiting anybody until we obtain approval from our Institutional Review Board.
This trial is just 1 brick in the wall. We will continue working with our scientific colleagues to test other “bricks” in the wall to ultimately develop a strong defense to prevent or reverse the many effects of paralysis.
HE’S notched up 14,224 miles in a 150-day odyssey, and now wheelchair wanderer Peter Donnelly has finally rolled back home to St Helens on the fifth anniversary of the injury that paralysed him from the waist down.
Five years ago, Pete sustained a T6 spinal cord injury (paraplegia) following a motorcycle accident that left him wheelchair-bound.
Not one to be held back, he rose above his injury to volunteer to work three months at a spinal rehabilitation centre in Bangladesh.
More good news on 18-year-old paralyzed racer Michael Johnson from Mt. Morris: He keeps winning races and is being featured in the newest issue of Racer Magazine, the premier North American motor sports publication.
The Free Press introduced readers to Johnson a couple of years ago, when he was racing go-karts with hand controls and preparing for experimental stem cell surgery as a result of a motorcycle racing accident in Sarnia, Ontario, in 2005. He fractured his T5 and T6 vertebrae in the accident and was left without movement from the waist down.