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Thread: Oxygen Deprivation: Link to Nerve restoration in Inc. SCI

  1. #1
    Senior Member rdf's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
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    Oxygen Deprivation: Link to Nerve restoration in Inc. SCI

    Oxygen Deprivation: Therapeutic Upside

    Two papers just came out on what’s called intermittent hypoxia (IH), both showing a strong link to nerve restoration. Hypoxia simply means the state of being deprived of adequate oxygen supply; when you arrive in Aspen from sea level you are hypoxic until your body adjusts. When you exercise vigorously, you are hypoxic and you adjust your rate of respiration accordingly.

    Scientists have been studying hypoxia for many years and figured out 15 years or so ago that sequences of intermittent lack of oxygen initiate neural plasticity – the ability of nerves to grow and connect in new ways. What this means is that animals in experiments gained significant breathing strength after being trained, so to speak, with intermittent IH.

    What happens? The scientists think it goes like this: hypoxia triggers a novel form of spinal plasticity that depends on the neurotransmitter serotonin. This seems to strengthen pathways to respiratory motor neurons by a mechanism known as phrenic long-term facilitation (pLTF). As this occurs, the system also makes an important protein called BDNF, or brain-derived neurotrophic factor. This growth factor plays a major role in several forms of synaptic plasticity.

    Many papers note the IH effect, and usually offer up the possibility that this seemingly simple therapy could help people with chronic spinal cord injuries.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    Aug 2002
    Windsor ON Canada
    I'd like to know more about this and how it works .. thanks for posting it!
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    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  3. #3
    Senior Member Stormycoon's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
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    I've done several times this thing, just by taking deep breathes then holding a last one. Kinda dangerous as I've held it too long, passed out and got hurt, but hold it till u feel a head change and let your breathe out and I swear you get an actual surge of feeling down your whole body and can actually feel your legs.. Plus strengthens lungs. Just be carefull but try it.
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  4. #4
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    Oct 2010
    South Devon, UK
    Very interesting indeed. Stormy's post seems to link with an aspect of yoga called pranayama, which is regarded as powerful stuff. I would caution it's use unassisted, and having taken a diploma as a teacher we were always reminded that it can be counterproductive, if not dangerous, used unwisely.

    It's an upside down therapy, as hypoxia is why I'm lumbered with complete paraplegia; an aortic dissection starved the spinal cord of oxygen, and left permanent damage at T12. I can wave if you like, but don't ask me to shake either leg!

    Could this be a weird instance of taking more of the hair of the dog that bit you? I will spend some time trying to find more about this, from a yoga perspective.
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  5. #5
    Really interesting - perhaps different meditation forms could benefit too?
    "It's not the despair, I can handle the despair! It's the hope!" - John Cleese

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  6. #6
    Maybe we should be holding our breath.

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