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Thread: No cure for spine injuries but hope

  1. #1

    No cure for spine injuries but hope

    No cure for spine injuries - but hope
    By Jeremy Olson / Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
    Published: March 08. 2012 4:00AM PST

    MINNEAPOLIS — Brendan Loney can’t move his legs, but once a week, he sure does run.

    Suspended by a harness from the ceiling at Courage Center in Golden Valley, Minn., the 23-year stares ahead at a mirror while two therapists move his stocky legs across a treadmill. A third therapist straddles the treadmill and keeps Loney balanced. A fourth controls the machine and rotates in when the others get tired.

    For Loney, who was paralyzed from the neck down in a 2009 diving accident, the exhausting “locomotor” therapy serves several purposes. It helps his body fight infections. It keeps his muscles strong.

    And maybe, just maybe, it will keep his body ready for a breakthrough spine medicine that can give him back lost mobility.

    “I’m trying to stay as fit as I can,” the former hockey player said, “and hopefully be a good contestant when they do come up with something.”

    Hope like that was once drummed out of spine injury patients — especially for those with the most severe injuries — in part because doctors saw the despair that set in when patients clung to the notion of a recovery that never came.

    But at some point between the paralyzing injuries to actor Christopher Reeve in 1995 and teen hockey player Jack Jablonski in December, that philosophy changed.

    “We used to always say we’re working around this (injury),” said Dr. Karl Sandin, physician-in-chief at the Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute in Minneapolis. “Now, it’s more nuanced.”

    A delicate balance

    New treatments are starting to defy old notions about rehabilitation. Stem-cell transplants and other therapies are showing promise in research. But exercise has become the key. Patients who used to be left dormant are now being told to get in shape for the day if — some even say when — a meaningful treatment comes along.

    It’s a delicate balance between today’s realities and motivation for tomorrow, said Dr. Gary Goldish, director of the Spinal Cord Injury and Disorder Center at the Minneapolis Veterans Medical Center. “How do we balance the patient’s hope for the future cure with the need for them to learn maximum function (today)?”

    Last edited by manouli; 03-15-2012 at 09:45 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Thanks for posting this! I have checked into this and am looking into it. It is the cost and distance travelled that is holding me back. It would be a 2 1/2 hour drive one way and to partake in the three month, three times a week locomotor and FES therapies in $9,000. I hate living so far from real help! On the brighter side, I is a great program and I know of people that have benefitted greatly from it!!

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