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Ten frequently asked questions concerning cure of spinal cord injury

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    That was quite interesting, Dr. Young.

    I do notice that my right foot and where I was cut during my operation are VERY sensitive areas. In fact, I do not like them touched at all. Sometimes I will get "pain" in the area where I was cut during my surgery. So I definitely sympathize with those who must live with that.

    It has always been a mystery to me as to whether this sensitive area under my right armpit is due to the cutting of nerves by a surgical knife or if it's due to my SPI. I'd love for the sensation to be normal again because it's quite uncomfortable trying to clean that area.

    Comment


      Small peripheral nerve cuts can often lead to hypersensitivity in the surrounding areas. I suspect that they have to do with local sprouting in the spinal cord as well. But interestingly, most of the time they disappear and normalize, but only after many months. Likewise, many people who have had Dr. Huang's surgery also report neuropathic pain and hypersensitivity in the dermatomal zones that recover for several months but these also seem to go away. This suggests that that central nervous system have some mechanisms of their own to deal with small amounts of aberrant sensory sprouting. The mechanisms by which the spinal cord prunes such growth are not known. Wise.


      Originally posted by Le Type Français
      That was quite interesting, Dr. Young.

      I do notice that my right foot and where I was cut during my operation are VERY sensitive areas. In fact, I do not like them touched at all. Sometimes I will get "pain" in the area where I was cut during my surgery. So I definitely sympathize with those who must live with that.

      It has always been a mystery to me as to whether this sensitive area under my right armpit is due to the cutting of nerves by a surgical knife or if it's due to my SPI. I'd love for the sensation to be normal again because it's quite uncomfortable trying to clean that area.

      Comment


        Originally posted by zokarkan
        Dr.Young,

        At the Society for Neuroscience conference in 2005 in Washington D.C. Drs. Plant and Hodgetts presented results from their human bone marrow stromal cell study on acute spinal cords in rats. If you were there and heard these results, could you kindly please give me your opinion about this work that was done. Thank you kindly in advance.
        I heard that they presented this but did not see it. Were you there? What did you think? Wise.

        Comment


          Originally posted by Wise Young
          I heard that they presented this but did not see it. Were you there? What did you think? Wise.

          No I was not there but I heard they presented and it was said that this study has promise. The only reason that I wanted to know what you think is because they done the study on chronic rats at the same time and the recovery as good as the acute study, except I think they took a little longer to recovery. I know that throughout 2005 they have been working on chronic rats with the same type of approach but they have also been working on the scar at the same time. It is apparently showing 'remarkable promise'. They are also looking to start trials but I don't know when. I think funding is also a problem there.

          Comment


            Originally posted by zokarkan
            No I was not there but I heard they presented and it was said that this study has promise. The only reason that I wanted to know what you think is because they done the study on chronic rats at the same time and the recovery as good as the acute study, except I think they took a little longer to recovery. I know that throughout 2005 they have been working on chronic rats with the same type of approach but they have also been working on the scar at the same time. It is apparently showing 'remarkable promise'. They are also looking to start trials but I don't know when. I think funding is also a problem there.
            Thanks. A number of years ago, I tried hard to help Australia raise more money for spinal cord injury research. In Sidney, the dedication of the proceeds of seven or more traffic cameras to spinal cord injury research should be funding a significant number of projects. I thought that there were similar programs starting in Perth, Melbourne, and Brisbane.

            Wise.

            Comment


              Originally posted by Wise Young
              Thanks. A number of years ago, I tried hard to help Australia raise more money for spinal cord injury research. In Sidney, the dedication of the proceeds of seven or more traffic cameras to spinal cord injury research should be funding a significant number of projects. I thought that there were similar programs starting in Perth, Melbourne, and Brisbane.

              Wise.
              In Melbourne there is a $63 million dollar nuero trauma commitment for five years by the TAC and state government. In Perth there is also something like that. This acute study is apparently going to be published in a high impact journal soon. What would constitute a good BBB in rats after they have gained some function when transplanted with some type of cells. I have always been interested in this but cannot find information on it.

              Comment


                Neurotrauma Funds in Australia

                Z
                Heres the latest regarding the Victorian Neurotrauma initiative, realistically in research terms its $10 million over 5 years.
                There are funds also in Sydney and Perth, all the result of lobbying by Spinal Cure Australia http://www.spinalcure.org.auwith lots of help from our friends ie Wise, Chris Reeve et al.
                Giles is collaborating with David Haylock in Melbourne, as you probably know.
                Yep, one of the next steps is to move this work forward. A national meeting of SCI minds is planned for the end of May in Sydney.
                We hope you can help out!
                All the best, David

                Comment


                  Originally posted by dprast
                  Z
                  Giles is collaborating with David Haylock in Melbourne, as you probably know.
                  Yep, one of the next steps is to move this work forward. A national meeting of SCI minds is planned for the end of May in Sydney.
                  We hope you can help out!
                  All the best, David
                  David,

                  I have been trying to help the SCSA (Giles,Haylock) a little lately. Has this national meeting got anything to do with the proposed Australian Spinal Cord Programme? I am in Melbourne so if I can possibly do anything to try and helpout this thing in Sydney let me know.

                  Comment


                    cure by...

                    will there be a partial cure for SCI by 2500? How old would that make us?

                    Comment


                      Zokarkan
                      Please email me at david@spinalcure.org.au so we can discuss, or call me 0438 93 90 93.
                      All the best, David

                      Comment


                        New to this...

                        To Anyone Who Can Help,

                        Hello, let me start by saying what a wonderful site this is and how much help and hope it has already given me. I sustained a T-7/T-8 complete SCI on 11/23/05. My surgery was a removal of the T-7 and T-8 vertebrae with laminectomy and decompression and placement of rods and screws on 12/23/05. The neurosurgeon was optimistic that I would regain some sensory and/or motor function afterwards. He also informed me that my spinal cord was essentially anatomically intact. I have regained a small area of sensation on my left knee, but it isn't normal, just a tingle. I have alot of spasticity and spasms, both reflexive and spontaneous, and can achieve erection. I've been on a bowel and bladder program since the accident, and now can feel some pressure when self-cathing. I'm about 2 weeks away from finishing rehabilitation and going home but I'm worried that more could be done at this early stage. If anyone has any information for me could you please help.
                        Keeping hope,
                        Dustin Rogers
                        "For only the truth which edifies is truth for you."


                        -Søren Kierkegaard

                        http://www.myspace.com/zosoninjitsu

                        Comment


                          Dustin, I believe that you have still a lot of recovery in front of you. Recovery takes a long time. In my opinion, when you go home, you should continue to do standing and walking exercises. I am sure that others will chime in with other advice. Wise.

                          Originally posted by DustinRogers
                          To Anyone Who Can Help,

                          Hello, let me start by saying what a wonderful site this is and how much help and hope it has already given me. I sustained a T-7/T-8 complete SCI on 11/23/05. My surgery was a removal of the T-7 and T-8 vertebrae with laminectomy and decompression and placement of rods and screws on 12/23/05. The neurosurgeon was optimistic that I would regain some sensory and/or motor function afterwards. He also informed me that my spinal cord was essentially anatomically intact. I have regained a small area of sensation on my left knee, but it isn't normal, just a tingle. I have alot of spasticity and spasms, both reflexive and spontaneous, and can achieve erection. I've been on a bowel and bladder program since the accident, and now can feel some pressure when self-cathing. I'm about 2 weeks away from finishing rehabilitation and going home but I'm worried that more could be done at this early stage. If anyone has any information for me could you please help.
                          Keeping hope,
                          Dustin Rogers
                          Last edited by Wise Young; 13 Jan 2006, 12:16 AM.

                          Comment


                            dr. young

                            In the course of an average day for you, what kind of specific research are you doing? Also, in terms of spinal cord injury treatments, what do you, or better phrased, "could you", forsee 10 years from now? I'm really trying to stay positive here, but the rest of my life is too much to spend in a wheelchair unable to stand.

                            Comment


                              question

                              I don't understand- how can someone have a spinal cord injury at say L4, or in the sacral area when there is no spinal cord that far down? If you damage your back and spine at a level below where your spinal cord terminates, do you suffer only peripheral nerve damage?

                              Comment


                                Originally posted by damagedgoods
                                I don't understand- how can someone have a spinal cord injury at say L4, or in the sacral area when there is no spinal cord that far down? If you damage your back and spine at a level below where your spinal cord terminates, do you suffer only peripheral nerve damage?
                                • If you have damage to the spinal column below L1, it would damage primarily the spinal roots in the spinal canal. It is very confusing to people because most surgeons talk about spinal levels in terms of bony levels (because that is what they have to operate on) and most neurologists and rehabilitation doctors talk about neurological levels which represent the dermatomes and muscle control. I have written several very detailed posts on this subject. If you are interested, I can find them and post the links.

                                Originally posted by damagedgoods
                                In the course of an average day for you, what kind of specific research are you doing? Also, in terms of spinal cord injury treatments, what do you, or better phrased, "could you", forsee 10 years from now? I'm really trying to stay positive here, but the rest of my life is too much to spend in a wheelchair unable to stand.
                                • My average day is complicated and is getting more complicated. So, perhaps a little bit of history may help explain what I do today. About 8 years ago, I moved from NYU Medical Center where I headed research for the Neurosurgery Department to Rutgers. The reason why I did so was because I wanted to focus on chronic spinal cord injury, to engage in a broader community of scientists (other than clinicians), and to teach. At Rutgers, I started to work on regeneration and particularly cell transplantation and stem cells. I had to build my laboratory from scratch, raise funds, and build the Keck Center. This occupied me for five years. I stepped down as the Director of the Center to spend more time on research but the University asked me to chair the Department of Cell Biology & Neuroscience in 2002. I chose to work on umbilical cord blood stem cells and our Center has researchers working on embyronic, fetal, and adult stem cells. In 2002, upset by President Bush's decision to restrict stem cell research, I began working with the state legislature to pass legislation to encourage stem cell research in New Jersey and continue to be deeply involved in this area. In 2004, I met Suzanne Poon and proposed the ChinaSCINet. For the past two years, developing clinical trials in China has occupied a great deal of my time. I go to China for a week every six weeks. In July, I am planning to reverse this schedule so that I will spend 6 weeks in China and one week in the United States for a year.

                                So, my typical day at the Keck Center is spent meeting with people during the day, i.e. students, postdoctoral fellows, administrators, colleagues, visitors, reporters, etc. I currently have about a dozen undergraduate students, two graduate students, and four postdoctoral fellows who constitute about four research teams doing overlapping projects. I go over data, plan experiments, watch procedures, and make decisions. In between meetings, I try to take care of correspondence and this site. My office is in the laboratory and so I am where the work is being done. I spend nearly half of my time writing grants and raising funds. I give about 100 public lectures or talks a year, usually on spinal cord injury and stem cells. About 20 times a year, I hold "Open Houses" for people with spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and other conditions to talk to them about research. I teach four 3-day workshops per year to train researchers to do spinal cord injury experiments in the United States and I have started teaching these workshops in China. In addition, I head the search for a new director of the Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey and work closely with politicians in New Jersey to ensure the success of the stem cell research in the state. At nights, I spend most of my time reading and keeping up with the information in the field, as well as of course reading what people say on this site. Starting in July 2006, I will take a one year sabbatical in Hong Kong. I hope to spend some time in the laboratory in Hong Kong University, getting my hands wet again, in between trips into China to plan and oversee spinal cord injury clinical trials in China.

                                My current research is directed at olfactory ensheathing glia, umbilical cord blood stem cells, and neural stem cells, the effects of drugs on gene expression and behavior of these cells when transplanted to the spinal cord, and carrying out studies to show whether these cells are beneficial in spinal cord injury and how to make them more beneficial. I also evaluate therapies for companies and other laboratories. Our goal is of course to identify therapies that would be most suitable for clinical trials.

                                Finally, in answer to your questions about the cure, let me say that the only way we will get therapies to people is to test them in clinical trials. That is the roadblock now. I have now spent over 20 years doing and building spinal cord injury research to develop therapies, organizing journals and societies for the field, raising funds, and working with people with the same goals. This was Christopher Reeve's goal as well. The spinal cord injury field now has a substantial pipeline of promising therapies and some of the best scientists in the world are feeding that pipeline. It is time to test the best of these therapies in clinical trials, as rapidly and rigorously as possible. I don't know how long it will take but I know that the earlier we start, the better. Funding will help accelerate the process. We need the resources, the people, and the infrastructure to make this happen faster. So, most of my days are spent thinking about and trying to achieve this goal.

                                Wise.
                                Last edited by Wise Young; 15 Jan 2006, 4:36 AM.

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