A person recently wrote to me to ask if she could ever walk again. She has Von Recklinghausen disease or neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF-1), a genetic disease that causes tumors along the central nervous system, scoliosis and other curvatures of the spine, and other neurological deficits. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurofibromatosis_type_I

I wrote back and said that I believe that the therapies that we are currently working on for spinal cord injury will be applicable to patients who have paralysis from other causes, such as neurofibromatosis. She responded, asking if there are doctors that I can refer her to and treatments that I would recommend. I told her that such therapies are not yet available but I believe that they will be.

Von Recklinghausen's disease present two additional problems that must be addressed in addition to restoring fucntion. The first is the orthopedic problems associated with the disease. Most people with neurofibromatosis develop scoliosis or other curvatures of the spine that require orthopedic correction. The second is that the tumors that is often associated with the disease. Both of these issues can be corrected with careful and limited surgery.

I suggested to her that we continue our discussion here in this forum where I can take more time to describe what will be required to address these problems.