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Thread: T7 20 years plus post injury

  1. #1

    T7 20 years plus post injury

    The more I read of spinal cord injury the more it seems certain that I and others injured as long as myself will never function normally again.

    The damage is simply too complex for human beings to intervene. The cost and complexity of the procedure will mean that in the unlikely event that a cure is found, most of us will never have access to it.

    I read recently that peripheral nerves probably degenerate over time with none use.
    for example;

    The muscles, bones and joints suffer degeneration from long periods of none use.

    The brain forgets how to stand up, walk, urinate and defecate.

    Logic simply tells me most reluctantly that I am doomed to be disabled for life.

    [This message was edited by Chris2 on 03-25-05 at 03:19 AM.]

  2. #2
    Chris2, you are of course free to conclude what you want but, looking at the same data, I come to the opposite conclusions.

    1. The damage to the spinal cord is actually relatively simple. Traumatic injury damages neurons and axons at the injury site, often leaving a thin rim of surviving axons. The neurons above and below the injury site remain largely intact but cannot talk to each other. Only 10% of the axons are necessary to support substantial functional recovery. That is why a majority of people with incomplete spinal cord injuries recover ability to walk. The goal of therapies is to make people with so-called complete spinal cord injuries incomplete, and to make people with incomplete spinal cord injury but with residual deficits have better function. Until recently, there was little hope that neurons damaged at the injury site can be replaced. However, there is evidence in animal studies that even motoneurons can be replaced with embryonic stem cells that have been predifferentiated to form neurons and treated with drugs to regenerate their axons.

    2. Muscles, bones, and joints do indeed degenerate from non-use. However, they can be maintained and even rebuilt with exercise.

    3. The brain may forget how to do things but it can learn again. However, the spinal cord does not forget basic functions so readily and can be retrained.

    4. Some of the therapies being considered are indeed complex and costly. But, none of the therapies being considered are more expensive than a kidney transplant or any of a large number of costly and complex therapies that are being applied now.

    Logic tells me that if we give up now, it will not happen in our lifetime. It does not tell me that you or others are doomed to be disabled for life.


  3. #3
    thanks Wise for your kind words as always

    However, I cannot believe I won't be disabled for life, even if I have a therapy (which as yet doesn't exist)

    Even being unable to run is a disability, let alone not walking perfectly or kneeling, jumping, emptying one's own bladder, feeling the grass between your toes

    In 20 years a lot of wear and tear goes on - my bowels aren't normal, my urethra has been damaged by a memocath stent, my right knee is crunchy and arthritic etc etc. Then there's the psychological damage...

    [This message was edited by Chris2 on 03-25-05 at 04:57 AM.]

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Thank You Dr.Wise!
    It`s good to read all the information You give us.Tomorrow it is 22 years sice I got my Th 6 complete,and from the first days in -83,people were talking about a cure,in 10 years....
    But its important to not loose belive in what is possible in the future.Life is ok,but alot of challenges,and it is really exiting to read about the search for some repair of SCI.
    Again:Thanks alot

  5. #5
    Senior Member Rollin Rick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    B ville, New York, USA
    Dr. Young, what about the people that have had indwelling catheters for 10 years or more and have a shrunken bladder of the size of a walnut? What are the chances of the bladder returning to normal? Will it stretch again over time? Having normal bladder returning in the future really concerns me, scary thought.

  6. #6

    The bladder is a muscle. As you know, you can do a lot with muscle. Besides skin, muscle is the most flexible and incredibly plastic of tissues. It can grow, expand, change its function... There will need to be research on this subject (I know, everybody groans) but, as John McDonald would say, it is doable.

    In any case, as I was saying to Deng Pufang in China, the cure is a process. It is solving many problems in parallel and some in sequence. The first problem that we have to solve is getting the spinal cord working again.


  7. #7
    Senior Member alan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Baltimore, MD
    Even if Chris' cord is completely regenerated tomorrow, and he's able to work himself back into shape, he'll still be 20 years older than he was at the time of his injury, with all the deterioration of aging every human body deals with (which may be worse in paralyzed people.) We'd still have our scolioses, and other paralysis-related effects that can't be reversed by exercise or therapy.

    We long-term injured will never be what we used to be after a cure. We'll be a lot better off than we are, and I could live with that.


    There's a fungus among us, and I'm not lichen it!

    Nerve Center Telnet BBS -

  8. #8
    you piss and moan more than anyone on this forum. Give it a rest.

  9. #9
    Sorry, its not worth it. Decided to take the high road.

    Take your hands off my MOJO

    [This message was edited by Lizbv on 03-26-05 at 02:18 AM.]

  10. #10
    Recent post by Wise unfortunately supports my view

    quote Wise Young:

    "Several studies have reported that motor training can improve functional recovery after spinal cord injury. This study adds a new twist by showing that delaying motor training results in reduced functional recovery in rats, suggesting that it is important that motor training start shortly after spinal cord injury."

    It does not look good for anyone with a long standing "complete" injury.

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