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"Don't get back 14 years / In just one day"

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  • "Don't get back 14 years / In just one day"

    Two or three years ago I thought 14 Years would make an awesome anniversary song to mark my 14th year. It is a great song—one of my favorites from G'n'R—but it doesn't accuately reflect my opinion of my last 14 years.

    Case in point, the chorus:
    But it's been
    14 years of silence
    It's been
    14 years of pain
    It's been
    14 years that are gone forever
    And I'll never have again

    My (admittedly unmelodic ) chorus:
    But it's been
    14 years of progress
    It's been
    14 years of gains
    It's been
    14 years that are gone forever
    And I'll never have again

    Of course, I don't mean me when I refer to progress and gains—I mean research.

    I know it's popular to castigate researchers for taking forever to bring a restorative therapy to clinical trials—much less to bedside—but they are making amazing progress given their constraints. And I don't just mean funding constraints.

    Research moves slowly because testing various hypotheses for spinal cord injury is a burdensome, labor-intensive process. Animal studies for neuroprotective therapies alone take months just to test if the treated group of animals retained more function than the controls. Researchers aiming to restore function in chronic spinal cord injury must injure the animals, care for them (e.g., express their bladders) for 3 or more months while their injury becomes chronic, apply the therapy, and care for them an additional 3+ months while collecting data to test if the therapy works.

    Given all that has to be done, it's amazing that any progress has occurred at all. But, in my 14 years, it has!

    Over the next several days, I am going to pore over all PubMed-indexed publications from the year of my injury through today and pick out several that demonstrate the progress that has been and is being made. (Rough lists for 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000 are currently available.)

    Bowel programs aside, this is a remarkable time to be alive. Overcoming paralysis is no longer a quixotic quest through unmapped jungles—it is a journey through a land with relatively well-known roads and the destination in sight.

    All that's left? Assembling the puzzle pieces in the right order to unlock the door at journey's end.

    We have those puzzle pieces.

    Some will be needed, others won't. Some will function as multiple pieces while others are redundant. Some will be so tantalizingly close that it drives us crazy.

    Multiple solutions will exist, but they will share common mechanisms that help to unlock our journey's door.

    What do we need to do? Find one of them.

    Optimism about our future shouldn't be dismissed as delusion. Optimism about our future is rational, realistic, and unavoidable.

    The next couple of years will seem slow as clinicians and researchers tirelessly lay the foundation for future clinical trials. But don't lose heart—for it is on the shoulders of the giants whose foundation they are laying that our cure will emerge.

    And make no mistake, it will emerge.

    Skeptical? Good. Don't take my word for it. Let me prove to you that function-restoring therapies are not only likely—they are inevitable.


    p.s., with apologies to november:

    p.p.s., yes, I turned 14 today.'s worse than we thought. it turns out the people at the white house are not secret muslims, they're nerds.

  • #2
    Well played sir.

    And the truth shall set you free.


    • #3
      Steven, glad to have known you online for part of those years...take care, friend!


      • #4


        • #5
          Steven thanks for your contributions.


          • #6
            Ditto NoDecaf.


            • #7
              great work
              "That's not smog! It's SMUG!! " - randy marsh, southpark

              "what???? , you don't 'all' wear a poop sac?.... DAMNIT BONNIE, YOU LIED TO ME ABOUT THE POOP SAC!!!! "

              2010 SCINet Clinical Trial Support Squad Member
              Please join me and donate a dollar a day at and copy and paste this message to the bottom of your signature


              • #8
                great way to put it...Guns N' Roses will always be my favorite band!
                INIMITABLE......look it up.


                • #9
                  14... wow. For some reason, I thought it'd been less for you. It's 20 for me this year. Happy 14th!

                  And does nov not like GnR?! That's crazy!


                  • #10

                    Happy 14th and thank you for all you do! I LOVE the idea you submitted on BodyShock The

                    Working hard to get you more votes!


                    • #11
                      Congrats Steven.


                      • #12
                        Well done.
                        Get involved in politics as if your life depended on it, because it does. -- Justin Dart

                        I shall not tolerate ignorance or hate speech on this site.


                        • #13
                          Good job!