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Thread: Getting to know Dr. Young

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    Getting to know Dr. Young

    http://www.ohsu.edu/newspub/outlook/...1199/wise.html

    He's not Superman, but he is Superman's doctor. For years, neurologist Wise Young, Ph.D., M.D., has been making headlines for his work with actor Christopher Reeve, paralyzed in a 1995 horse riding accident. While Young's recent accomplishments have gained him international media attention, his personal dedication to people paralyzed due to head and spinal cord injuries has lasted decades.

    Last month, Young brought his message of hope to OHSU as he received the Robert S. Dow Neuroscience Award from the Neurological Sciences Institute. During his stay, Young also met with OHSU students and staff, visited an area high school and spread his optimistic message during a public lecture at OMSI. It's the same message he has delivered to thousands of paraplegics and other neurologically impaired individuals across the country - effective new treatments or even a cure for spinal cord injuries may be only a few years away.

    "I'm pleased and even surprised by the progress, given the limited resources and number of researchers working in the field," said Young. "However, there is still much to do before we reach the goal of therapies that restore function to people with chronic spinal cord injury. We are not there yet."

    Young's investigation into the mysteries of the nervous system has lasted more than 25 years. At the beginning of his career, little was known about spinal cord injuries and how to treat them.

    "It was the dark ages of spinal cord injury," said Young. "In the 1970s, clinicians were universally pessimistic and even nihilistic about the prospects of recovery from spinal cord injury. Scientists thought that going into spinal cord injury research was a career-ending move."

    Thirty years later, treatments that could reverse the effects of a spinal cord injury are not just pipe dreams, they are firm possibilities. For example, in 1979, Young's work with the drug methylprednisolone led the way to clinical trials where the drug was shown to prevent secondary damage caused by a spinal injury. Secondary damage often occurs when the spinal cord swells in the hours following the initial injury.

    At the NSI and on the campus of OHSU, scientists also are unraveling some of the secrets of the nervous system. Bruce Gold, Ph.D., adjunct associate professor of cell and developmental biology, SM, is studying the body's ability to regenerate nerve fibers following mechanical or chemical injury. Recently his work has centered on a drug named FK506 and related compounds. Testing has shown these compounds are orally effective in speeding nerve regeneration and functional recovery from nerve injuries.

    Melvin Ball, M.D., professor of pathology and neurology, SM, is studying the continuous production of neurons in the human brain. Until recently, scientists thought that these information processing cells stopped growing shortly after birth. However, Ball's research has shown that even elderly people can grow and produce new neurons.

    OHSU neurosurgeons are treating post traumatic movement disorders with new technologies, such as deep brain stimulation. Implanted electrodes stimulate areas of the brain to end or limit tremors. Neurosurgeons also are developing instrumentation and procedures for minimally invasive spinal surgery.

    While there are many promising nervous system research discoveries and treatments, Young said the most important treatment may be hope. He refers to a conversation he once had with a reporter who asked whether he felt uncomfortable giving hope to people.

    "While hope may be painful, no hope is devastating," Wise replied. "People with disability must learn enough about their conditions and research to distinguish between hope and hype to make rational choices regarding their lives."

    ~See you at the SCIWire-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~

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    ~See you at the SCIWire-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~

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    http://www.acorda.com/cpsab.htm

    Wise Young, Ph.D., M.D., Acting Chief Scientific Officer and a Director of Acorda. Dr. Young is Professor II and Director of the Neuroscience Center at Rutgers University. Dr. Young is one of the preeminent scientists in the fields of spinal cord injury and neurotrauma, SCI animal models, and the pharmacological therapy of SCI. He is Principal Investigator for the Multicenter Animal Spinal Cord Injury Study (MASCIS), funded by the National Institutes of Health; is Editor-in-Chief of Current Concepts in Critical Care and Trauma; and serves on numerous Editorial Boards, including those of Experimental Neurology, Journal of Neurotrauma, Brain Research and Stroke. Dr. Young has received the Wakeman Award for Research in Neurosciences, and a Jacob Javits Neuroscience Award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke. He is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Council of the American Paralysis Association and of the National Acute Spinal Cord Injury Study executive committee. Dr. Young received his B.A. in Biology and Chemistry from Reed College; his Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics from the University of Iowa; and his M.D. from Stanford University.

    ~See you at the SCIWire-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~

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    http://www.cnni.co.uk/SPECIALS/2001/...ro.wyoung.html

    Nerve Builder
    In the past, spinal-injury victims lost more than mobility - they lost hope too. Wise Young found a revolutionary way to give back both
    By Jeffrey Kluger

    (TIME) -- Dr. Wise Young has never met the hundreds of thousands of people he has helped in the past 10 years, and most of them have never heard of Wise Young. If they did meet him, however, they'd want to shake his hand - and the remarkable thing about that would be the simple fact that so many of them could. All the people Young has helped were victims of spinal injuries, and they owe much of the mobility they have today to his landmark work.

    Wise Young Essentials

    Born: January 1, 1950, Hong Kong

    Breakthrough Study: 1990, when he helped discover a drug that is now the standard treatment for spine injuries

    Most Important Accomplishment: "Providing people hope - real hope."

    Free Time: Four hours a day on the Internet communicating with spinal-injury patients

    More>>

    Young, 51, head of the W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, was born on New Year's Day at the precise midpoint of the 20th century. Back then, the thinking about spinal-cord injury was straightforward: When a cord is damaged, it's damaged. There's nothing that can be done after an injury to restore the function that was so suddenly lost.

    As a medical student at Stanford University and a neurosurgeon at New York University Medical Center, Young never had much reason to question that received wisdom, but in 1980 he began to have his doubts. Spinal cords, he knew, experience progressive damage after they're injured, including swelling and inflammation, which may worsen the condition of the already damaged tissue. If that secondary insult could be relieved with drugs, might some function be preserved?

    Young spent a decade looking into the question, and in 1990 he co-led a landmark study showing that when high doses of a steroid known as methylprednisolone are administered within eight hours of an injury, about 20 percent of function can be saved. Twenty percent is hardly everything, but it can often be the difference between breathing unassisted or relying on a respirator, walking or spending one's life in a wheelchair. "This discovery led to a revolution in neuroprotective therapy," Young says.

    A global revolution, actually. More than 50,000 people around the world suffer spinal injuries each year, and these days, methylprednisolone is the standard treatment in the U.S. and many other countries. But Young is still not satisfied. The drug is an elixir for people who are newly injured, but the relief it offers is only partial, and many spinal-injury victims were hurt before it became available. Young's dream is to help those people too - to restore function already lost - and to that end he is studying drugs and growth factors that could improve conduction in damaged nerves or even prod the development of new ones. To ensure that all the neural researchers around the world pull together, he has created the International Neurotrauma Society, founded the Journal of Neural Trauma and established a Web site (carecure.rutgers.edu) that receives thousands of hits each day.

    "The cure for spinal injury is going to be a combination of therapies," Young says. "It's the most collaborative field I know." Perhaps. But increasingly it seems that if the collaborators had a field general, his name would be Wise Young.

    ~See you at the SCIWire-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~

  5. #5

    Thank You Dr. Young

    I was injured September 2, 2001 (C5/6) and was initially paralyzed from the neck down. I was given methylprednisolone within a half hour of my injury and put into traction the same day. I was told in the ER that I probably would never walk again. I had surgery the following day fusing bone from my hip with a plate and a couple screws.

    I spent a week in that hospital and 3 weeks in a rehab hospital. By the time I left rehab I walked out with a cane. I'm now 4 months post and still getting return. I walk normally and can basically jog but not sprint. I have very few limitations other than not being able to play sports yet. I am very lucky.

    Had it not been for your research and breakthroughs regarding methylprednisolone my surgeon tells me I'd probably still be in the same condition I was in the ER. Your hard work has affected my life tremendously. Thank you!

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