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Thread: Christopher Reeve’s doctor discusses spinal cord injuries

  1. #1

    Christopher Reeve’s doctor discusses spinal cord injuries

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    Health News
    Christopher Reeve’s doctor discusses spinal cord injuries




    By Dennis Hines

    The MidWeek




    A doctor who helped former actor Christopher Reeve recover from some of his injuries recently visited the city of DeKalb.

    Dr. John McDonald, director of the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, participated in the United Leukodystrophy Foundation (ULF) Symposium and Family Conference in July to discuss some of the programs that are being developed to help patients who suffer from leukodystrophy, spinal cord injuries and other types of paralysis to exercise.

    McDonald said patients who suffer from paralysis and spinal cord injuries usually develop osteoporosis, diabetes, loss of muscle mass and other types of medical conditions. He said exercise programs can help those patients recover from some of their injuries and prevent them from developing other types of health problems.

    McDonald said officials from the Kennedy Krieger Institute have developed home exercise programs to make it more convenient for patients to become active and improve their condition.

    “We designed a program that is really set up to go in the home,” McDonald said. “It’s difficult enough for you or I to go to the gym three times a week. For someone who is disabled, it takes three-quarters of the day to get down to a gym, so it (the exercise program) is really long term.”

    McDonald and representatives from the Kennedy Krieger Institute recently developed a stationary bicycle which helps patients learn how to walk again. McDonald said the bicycle allows the patient to take about 6,000 steps within an hour. He said if a patient uses the bicycle about three times a week, they will regain muscle in their legs.

    “The big problem is the people who are seriously paralyzed, they cannot centralize their limbs in order to exercise,” McDonald said. “Well, modern equipment is now available that wasn’t available a couple of years ago that we can stimulate, across the skin, three muscle groups on each leg, so a paralyzed person can ride a bike against resistance and get the cardiovascular workout to rebuild their muscle mass and reduce the fat in their legs.”

    According to McDonald, patients who participate in an exercise program usually do not have to take as many medications as a patient who does not exercise. He said some medications do not help patients recover from their injuries.

    “About three-quarters of the people with paralysis are taking medications that actually inhibit regeneration recovery function...,” McDonald said. “Now, we didn’t know this last year, because we never thought that people could recover functionally long after an injury, but now that we know this, most people don’t need to take those drugs. They’re not very effective, and activity, itself, is important for reducing the stiffness that occurs after an injury.”

    McDonald began working with Reeve in 1999. He said, when Reeve was first injured, many people felt he would not recover any of his functions. McDonald said, after Reeve started exercising, his condition began to improve.

    “He broke the two biggest bones in his body, just the worst of the worst,” McDonald said. “He ended up recovering motor functions throughout his body. He could move most of his limbs, and before he died, he was beginning to bicycle under his own power. So, in addition, he recovered the ability to feel pain or light touch throughout his body and localize it.”

    McDonald said working with Reeve made him realize that exercise could help other patients with paralysis and spinal cord injuries.

    “He was an incredibly motivated individual, but it was working with people like that, that I understood that this will only become a treatment if we can move (patients) in the home,” McDonald said. “We need to work with local medical groups and implement them in the homes. The equipment has got to be simple, cost effective and time efficient. So, the new systems are set up as such that these people can use these at home, with maximum independents without requiring any additional caregivers, and over half of the people can use it independently.”

    McDonald also worked with a patient who was recovering from a spinal cord injury and was missing two-thirds of his spinal cord in his neck. He said that patient currently participates in triathlons and other athletic events.

    “It teachers us that we don’t need to cure the nervous system. All we have to do is partially repair it,” McDonald said.

    McDonald said he and officials from the Kennedy Krieger Institute recently developed an exercise program for children with paralysis and spinal cord injuries. “We believe children have even a greater opportunity to benefit, because their nervous system is much more plastic, and they often don’t know what no means,” McDonald said.

  2. #2
    Senior Member DA's Avatar
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    “It teachers us that we don’t need to cure the nervous system. All we have to do is partially repair it,” McDonald said.


    we don't need a lesson from dr mcdonald about what we should do when he can't do his part..

  3. #3
    Senior Member Rollin Rick's Avatar
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    Smile

    " Quote" All we have to do is " partially repair it", McDonald said.

    We only need 10% for substantial recovery. So hopefully when the China SCI network starts clinical trials next year we will see a " partial repair", what that would mean to a quad like me.

  4. #4

    This equipment has been available for over 20 years

    And now he is trying to take credit for being the creator of the equipment.

    " The big problem is the people who are seriously paralyzed, they cannot centralize their limbs in order to exercise,” McDonald said. “Well, modern equipment is now available that wasn’t available a couple of years ago that we can stimulate, across the skin, three muscle groups on each leg, so a paralyzed person can ride a bike against resistance and get the cardiovascular workout to rebuild their muscle mass and reduce the fat in their legs.”

    It was the Petrofsky's who created this technology.

  5. #5
    Senior Member giambjj's Avatar
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    Angry What medications is McDonald talking about?

    About three-quarters of the people with paralysis are taking medications that actually inhibit regeneration recovery function...,” McDonald said. “Now, we didn’t know this last year, because we never thought that people could recover functionally long after an injury, but now that we know this, most people don’t need to take those drugs. They’re not very effective, and activity, itself, is important for reducing the stiffness that occurs after an injury.”

  6. #6
    Senior Member Schmeky's Avatar
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    Activity based recovery will help some.

    There are hundreds of thousands it will not help.

    We need regeneration.

    McDonald remylinated rat spinal cords 6 years ago. Whatever happened to that?

  7. #7

    Angry

    Our bodies will do their repair work if we give everything they need to do so. If there's no cure now, maybe we need this therapy, it cost so much moneyyyyyyy! I bet you if they have a program like this 20 years ago and insurance paid for it, a lot of people would have been function very well by now.manouli.

  8. #8

    FES bikes are the answer to stay in shape while paralyzed

    They are not the answer to become unparalyzed, looks like he is trying to promote his new 15,000 dollar FES bike, it is nothing new, same technology thats been around for years, only in a different package.

  9. #9
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    Thumbs down more coal to the fire...

    So, whereas 5 years ago, Dr. McDonald was working on regeneration, today he's involved with the exercise THEORY. So much for the research he found to be promising several years ago. This is a sick, twisted joke! Meds are now blocking the way of recovery, that's soooo bent that i can hardly believe it. it's taken 5 years of research to come to that sorry statement. And I don't care who you are, or what equipment you can or can't afford, if your SCI is complete enough, though exercise may benefit overall health, there is NO possible way it can lead to any bigtime recovery, especially for someone in the chronic stages. If this were true, doctors would've figured this out 50 years ago. As a matter of fact, I was told from the head of the treadmill therapy program at Reeve-Irvine some years ago that for a complete low para, doing this exercise would be futile and useless and a big waste of time. They told me that my low T12 injury was more damaging, since it completely disconnects the entire spinal cord, than Mr. Reeve's C1 injury. Go figure. I guess 5 years from now reports that by stimulating your nipples for 3 hours a day a giant, full throttle return of sexual function will come back. There is soo much that can be done in the medical field today for those sick and/or injured, but with SCI there is literally 0 options to even make life more livable, other than being told to close your eyes and take deep breaths, and count from 100 backwards. I'm serious about that, this was what a pain specialist at an extremely presitgious NYC hospital told me to do whenever my neuropathic pain starts.
    By the way, some members of the PVA who were injured 30+ years back, have been making statements in the headlines about realistic expectations regarding research. Just because these sorry, old bastards have no chance, don't drag down the rest of the younger generation, by making bold statements. Either die or get out of the way you miserable curmodgeons.
    sherman brayton

  10. #10

    Angry piece of shit

    exercice is better than cure, give him more money. money change people.
    i don´t use or need medication at the moment, im young and i don´t recover anything with exercice alone. his theory is a piece of shit.

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