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    Plasticity

    For any of you following evolving treatment and cure theories over the years, what do we know about plasticity and when did we know it? I’m STILL being told that I work “hard enough” or even too hard whereas I’m kicking myself (and all of my 26 years of docs) for not pushing continuous intensive rehab to overpower my progressive cord MS. Anecdotally, my left leg evolved into minimally functional over several years until my right leg started to go. Then my left leg strengthened. Kinda like a kid with a lazy eye getting an eye patch except that I was in my forties. Fast forward and I can no longer stand but am kicking around in a pool three times per week and on some days doing a little walking in the pool. Do we only have an opportunity for recovery when something is in a newly damaged rather than gradually deteriorating state?

    Any comments or links to journal articles you like are appreciated.

    #2
    I think I understand, as best I can, what the data says, about plasticity and recovery vs severity of injury vs time vs effort - which is to say not very well, but I don't think the experts have reached a critical mass of outcomes and evidence that shows much happens beyond a couple years, with less and less probability as time passes 6 months post But, maybe that's wrong?! I know physical training is a huge component of Dr. Young's post-op process, so that bodes well, IMHO. There are often folks on the margins doing stuff and reporting results that confound the consensus, too, so I don't know.

    I try hard not to rely too heavily on anecdotes, though. Especially my own! E.g. My right leg has steadily improved since my injury (15 years ago as of post date), up to just this past summer (my right hip flexor "spontaneously" started being able to fire, and I can lift my knee to my chest. I've always been able to to that with my left, so I'm constantly doing it, just as a matter of course, and this past summer my right leg just started coming along! Now I can lift it independently at the hip. Sensation has slowly crept down passed my knee, too. I can flex my knee top quad muscle (dunno it's name) a lot tighter too.

    So, yeah.

    It takes all kinds to make this world go 'round.

    Anyway, it's not saying much, but that's my layperson's comment on the notion of plasticity and recovery!
    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

    "If you only know your side of an issue, you know nothing." -John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

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      #3
      I have progressive MS with cord lesions, symptomatic since at least 1998 but finally diagnosed in the early 2000s. So we're pretty much in the same boat there. For years, the thought of plasticity gave me great hope and I did a lot of modified yoga, tai chi, physical therapy, chair exercise, supplemented by acupuncture and many other kinds of alternative healing methods, but in the end progressive disease just, well, progresses.

      Doctors and therapists told me from the get-go that every case is different, so they encouraged me to "go for it." The most I ever noticed was some transient moving-around of weakness, which fostered perseverance, with days of hopefulness followed by new symptoms or the exacerbation of others. There has never been lasting regain of function, though perhaps my efforts impacted the rate of progression; there aren't any reliable ways to predict such things, or to be certain in retrospect.

      Earliness or lateness of onset did not seem to affect my symptoms or promote plasticity at all. However, I don't think my efforts were/are wasted, from the standpoint of maintaining overall health unrelated to disability. MS does tend to stabilize as one gets older, but then aging starts to take its own tolls, so for me it's been a wash.
      MS with cervical and thoracic cord lesions

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