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Thread: Major research breakthrough!

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2001

    Thumbs up Major research breakthrough!

    Rats in the study had completely severed spinal cords. They underwent a three-part intervention. Scientists gave the rats a combination of the drug quipazine, and then epidural electrical stimulation. This treatment activates the spinal cord's neural circuitry and makes it functional again. Then the rats were given locomotor training.

    The combination proved extremely effective. Within a relatively short period of time, the rats were walking again. The voluntary stepping of the rats on a treadmill was almost indistinguishable from their stepping prior to their spinal cord injury.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2001
    I know the videos have been posted, but read the abstract.

  3. #3
    A lot of promising therapies going on!

  4. #4
    Ok that's positive news, but is not what I would call a cure...

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Nov 2004
    Digital refugee
    5-7 years?

  6. #6
    How many times does things like this happen a year? it seems atleast once every year someone reports something like this..

  7. #7

    rats walk again - whoop-de-doo

    This is my second post. The first related to blue food dye:
    In that post I mentioned that I am a scientist and that my son became a paraplegic this past May. Before I go on, I should mention that between May (the time of the accident) and early August, when I posted the blue dye thing, son Tommy's condition (ASIA scores etc.) changed very little. However, since early August, when we added blue dye and laser acupuncture to his list of therapies and miscellaneous rehabs, things have started happening - he can now lightly kick a ball, wiggle fingers and toes, is regaining strength, etc. Coincidence? Probably. But worth mentioning.

    Seeing this topic (regarding the quipazine+electrical stimulation "breakthrough") has inspired me to take to the keyboard a second time. What I mostly want to say is that if I read another headline telling me that paralyzed rats have been trained to walk on a treadmill, I am going to scream. Because all the stories end the same way: perhaps maybe someday 5+ years down the track it will lead to a therapy for humans. But even that is unlikely - you can find these sorts of stories going back to the sixties, and there's precious little to show. "Major research breakthrough!" my foot. (Even if it did work, it is only teaching the lower spinal cord to control gait without the involvement of the brain. What if the brain disagrees, and wants to stop walking?! Will it be like "The Man with Two Brains"?)

    These endless headlines should be followed by the words: "This story is of interest only to lab rats and their immediate families. Human SCI sufferers are urged not to get their hopes up."

    How is it possible that dozens, or perhaps hundreds, of different research approaches could lead to nothing beyond a headline telling us that paralyzed rats have been taught to walk on a treadmill? Is it that rat results turn out to be not relevant to humans? Presumably not, because researchers would discontinue using rat models and move on to monkeys or meerkats or something. I suspect it has more to do with things like research funding cycles, or clinical protocols, or even the research interest of the individual researcher - i.e., I bet more than one of these treatments would have led to useful human treatment had it been strenuously pursued through all the long and difficult testing phases before the head researcher got fed up or more interested in another idea. And there really is an amazingly long list of promising treatments. Dr Young listed off a dozen or so in an excellent Christmas message last year. Based on my reading I believe similar lists could have been written at any Christmas for the past ten years at least, each with completely different treatments - none of which are currently available to Tommy (well, not counting blue dye!).

    I understand the value of "evidence-based" medicine, but when I saw that it stood between my son and a potentially useful and safe therapy, I began realize that it is not the only valid way forward.

    I'm not close enough to spinal cord science to understand why it produces so many rat headlines and so few sci therapies. I mean, I know that nobody wants to introduce another equivalent to leeches or the once-common practice of "cupping", but that is not the issue here. (Although methylprednisolone is starting to look pretty suss!) What I would like to see is a situation where every time a really promising new treatment comes along, that the authorities forget about the rats, and instead develop some dosage guidelines so that individual practitioners can offer it themselves. After all, a lot of the substances themselves e.g. quipazine, lithium, fenretinide, riluzole, Coenzyme Q, DHA (fish oil) etc. etc...) have been around a long time and the safe dosages are already well understood. A dose of the drug, some epidural electrical stimulation, some specific physical rehab, what's the big deal? As long as it is within safety guidelines, get it out of the labs and into the clinics. These drugs should be allowed to sink or swim on their own merit without the expensive, snail-paced clinical trials (which with sci are fairly useless anyway because nobody ever really knows if recovery is due to the therapy or would have happened anyway).

  8. #8
    Moderator Obieone's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
    Quote Originally Posted by dukevanwillem View Post
    These endless headlines should be followed by the words: "This story is of interest only to lab rats and their immediate families. Human SCI sufferers are urged not to get their hopes up." ............
    I feel exactly the same way I'm afraid Duke ... I've been coming here over 10 years now and the elusive cure is now on its third incarnation ..... but I still want to believe !!

    ~ Be the change you wish to see in the world ~ Mahatma Gandi

    " calling all Angels ...... calling all Angels ....walk me through this one .. don't leave me alone .... calling all Angels .... calling all Angels .... we're tryin' and we're hopin' cause we're not sure how ....... this .... goes ..."
    Jane Siberry

  9. #9
    DukeVanWillem: Can you tell me a little more about the laser accupuncture? What qualifications to look for in an accupunturist etc.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Leo's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    Yankton, South Dakota

    you are so right in that the list of potential things to try in a clinical setting is long.

    the key thing being, clinical setting.......we have none

    this is why imo we need to get behind as hard as we can the SCInetUSA trial.

    if not we will continue to read at the bottom of these abstracts the phrase, this therapy is ready for clinical trial and there it sits.

    i've said this before about when i asked a researcher why we didn't do more clinical trials

    she said, because they are hard and expensive

    We thought the CDRPA was going to setup this clinical infrastructure and maybe it will

    however as Wise I think said and the rest of us know also....we are tired of waiting on someone elses time line, we have set our own with the SCInetUSA

    we need to pour every dime we can into it

    2010 SCINet Clinical Trial Support Squad Member

    "You kids and your cures, why back when I was injured they gave us a wheelchair and that's the way it was and we liked it!" Grumpy Old Man

    .."i used to be able to goof around so much because i knew Superman had my back. now all i've got is his example -- and that's gonna have to be enough."

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