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Thread: Do muscles atrophy permanantly

  1. #1

    Do muscles atrophy permanantly

    Lets say sometime in the future there is a cure for spinal cord injuries. Do muscles atrophy to the point where they no longer exist and are completely unrehabable (is that a word)? Or do they just get really small but retain some basic ability to be strengthened?

  2. #2
    bad news - the former. Take a look at most complete paraplegic lower extremities. I just have to look at my left leg. I think my Timex watch band would fit around the 'wide' part of my calf. There is no functional muscle left after a few years. It is gone and unrehabilitatable-able-able. :-)

  3. #3
    Well.. Good to know I guess. I suppose I'm waiting on two cures now :P

  4. #4
    Atrophy from UMN injuries is reversible although it becomes more difficult with chronicity. Atrophy from LMN injuries is problematic and will likely require neuron replacement.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Gold Coast Australia
    Ur Possibly looking for 3 cures... Bones lose their density with the lack of use as well...
    Everybody wants freedom.... They just don't want it for everybody else...

    A college professor, a man I now consider my dad, once told me...
    "The minute you let someone decide what you can and cannot do, your life is no longer yours." A truer word has never been spoken in my opinion.

    Professor Bill Johnston
    (1930- )

  6. #6
    But I had no use of my glutes and they were extremely atrophied for about 3 yrs post sci; then i began to "find" them (Project Walk- exercise-induced recovery) and for the next 6 yrs they have slowly been growing and are visibly bigger now. I have mostly LMN, because I have not reflexes, spasms nor have had any response to FES.

  7. #7
    Yeah, with UMN I thought it was reversible? What about FES...with continuous useage people have stated that it has reversed their atrophy? Maybe I should start a new thread.
    Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know that, so it goes on flying anyways--Mary Kay Ash

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by BoyFallDown View Post
    Lets say sometime in the future there is a cure for spinal cord injuries. Do muscles atrophy to the point where they no longer exist and are completely unrehabable (is that a word)? Or do they just get really small but retain some basic ability to be strengthened?
    Even severely atrophied muscles can be "rebuilt" to some extent, provided that fibrosis has not set it. What is fibrosis? This is when the muscle becomes filled with fibrous tissues (scar). Fibrosis can be avoided by regular physical therapy, to stretch the muscles. Muscles that have not been moved at all tend to undergo contractures followed by fibrosis.

    The extent to which muscles can be rebuilt depend on the presence of myoblasts (these are muscle precursor cells) in the muscle. There are many studies of where myoblasts come from. For a long time, investigators thought that myoblasts come from bone marrow. This led to speculation that bone marrow transplants can be done to help people with muscular diseases.

    However, one case study suggests that bone marrow may not be the source of myoblasts. Joanne Kurtzberg at Duke treated a young patient with leukemia with a bone marrow transplant, using umbilical cord blood. The patient recovered from leukemia with 100% chimerism (the transplanted cells took over the bone marrow and all the his blood took on the HLA type of the donor cells). A few years later, the child was diagnosed with Duchenne's muscular dystrophy (DMD). Despite the replacement of his bone marrow with normal cells that contain dystrophin, his muscular dystrophy progressed.

    Some investigators believe that transplantation of myoblasts into the muscle can help restore muscles and this has been shown to be the case in animals. I think that restoration of muscle is not as hopeless as people think. In most people who have cervical or upper thoracic spinal cord injury and who have some spasticity, the muscles should not have undergone severe atrophy. Even in people who have severe atrophy due to loss of motoneurons, systematic physical therapy with range of motion to prevent contractures and fibrosis of the muscle, restoration of muscle happen. Finally, the work in Austria using very high current stimulation suggests that even severely atrophied muscle due to peripheral nerve damage can be reversed with high current stimulation of muscle activity.

    I am sorry that I am on the road and don't have the time to pull out all the references to support these statements. I wanted to express my optimism about the solvability of this problem.


  9. #9
    Would anabolic steroids help with this? I always thought if by some miracle there was a cure I would just go all Barry Bonds and hit the gym.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    North Carolina
    t8 I have had the same thought. Even if your doing nothing but the fes bike, would it help the muscle?

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