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Thread: Some SCI Can Be Cured

  1. #121
    Quote Originally Posted by HopeForSCI
    Hi Cass:

    You never know if you don’t try it. It is definitely worth a try. Here are my thoughts about trying this. Don’t ask Mr. Gates to donate millions to SCI research because he might feel that his money will be wasted in those SCI labs. Some SCI researchers are skillful getting research grants but may not be so good doing SCI research work. Besides if money goes to SCI research, you cannot benefit directly from it. You still need to wait another 5 years or 10 years in order to benefit from any SCI research results. So it is better to ask him to help your treatments. If you write your stories well with all the hardship you have gone through, Mr. Gates will probably be supportive. Mr. Gates has $30 billions for his philanthropic cause. He probably has more money than the federal government. He can make quicker decisions by himself than the bureaucratic and inefficient government.

    There are some overseas treatments such as Dr. Huang, Dr. Lima, etc. Those are still partial recovery and far from cure yet. But the waiting list is already very long. For example, Dr. Huang is already fully booked for year 2007. These treatments take a lot of preparation and Dr. Huang’s personal hours. Assume each procedure takes 2 hours from Dr. Huang. He can only handle 1000 patients a year. But there are about 450,000 SCI in US alone. There are maybe over 1 million SCI in China since China has four times more people than US. The treatment is expensive plus overseas travel expenses. It is not affordable for most SCIs yet.

    It is a challenge to maintain the paralyzed body in good condition to avoid issues such as skin, muscle atrophy, bladder and bowel infections. Regular exercise and therapy must continue. Before the eventual cure comes, the proven therapy for SCI is acupuncture and Chinese medicine. The number of published studies focused on acupuncture’s SCI benefits has grown considerably in recent years; several are summarized below.
    · Gao et al (China) treated 261 individuals with SCI, of which 79% had been injured at least one year. Ninety-five percent had some improvement, such as improved sensation, bowel-and-bladder function, spasticity, and walking. The authors speculate that acupuncture improves regeneration-promoting circulation around the spinal cord.
    · Wang (China) summarized the treatment of 82 cases of SCI with electroacupuncture of bladder-meridian points (lateral to the vertebrae). Ninety-three percent accrued functional benefits, including improved lower-limb and bowel-and-bladder function.
    · Cheng and colleagues (Taiwan) showed that electroacupuncture-treated patients achieved balanced voiding in fewer days than controls. Patients starting acupuncture within three weeks of injury required fewer treatments compared to those treated later.


    Let me do some analysis here. If the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act (CRPA) passes, it will allocate $100 million per year for three years. According to Dr. Young’s posting, a cell transplantation trial may cost as much as $9 million + $30 million = $39 million over three years for 300 SCIs. That means CRPA’s $100 million can only benefit 769 people for three years (i.e 100/39 * 300). Since it is a trial, we don’t know how many will have functional improvements. Now let’s put $100 million into acupuncture treatment and do a comparison. The average acupuncture treatment costs about $10,000 a year in US. So this will treat 10,000 people for the whole year. Let’s use some conservative assumptions here. Assume 1% (100 people) recover all functions, 10% (1000 people) recover 50% functions, 50% (5000 people) recover 20% functions, 90% (9000 people) have any improvements. So you can see that the money can benefit more SCI people directly. Normally each acupuncturist can take 10 SCI patients. So we need 1000 acupuncturists but that’s no problem in US.

    What I am saying here is that some funding needs to go to benefit current SCI cases directly. We should not spend all the money on the future SCI research. Also remember 11000 new cases of SCIs emerge every year in US alone. The table below shows the cost for the first year after SCI.


    Severity of Injury First Year Cost
    High Quadriplegia (C1-C4) $710,275
    Low Quadriplegia (C5-C8) $458,666
    Paraplegia $259,531
    Incomplete Motor Function at any level $209,324




    So you can tell that the cost of acupuncture treatment is very insignificant. But the results of acupuncture treatments are significant compared to its cost. After SCI becomes chronic, acupuncture should always become part of combination treatments. The most important fact is that acupuncture has no side effects and always has benefit. For those people who have done the overseas treatments, Acupuncture can also help a quicker recovery.

    If you ask a billionaire to support your acupuncture treatment for a year, he is more than likely to help. So ask him to help your case directly instead of a remote cause with a big commitment. A lot of people cannot afford to continue the therapies during the chronic stage. We need funding to help these people.
    Good luck to you with Mr. Gates and take care.
    hopeforSCI,

    I am sorry but your argument is not convincing for the following reasons.
    1. Clinical trials. Acupuncture is not or should not be any different from any other therapy. Its safety and efficacy needs to be demonstrated. If you or others are interested in showing that acupuncture helps spinal cord injury, the path is to do a clinical trial to obtain the data. Once the treatment is shown to be effective, you or somebody has to show the data to the insurance companies and convince them to pay for it. By the way, the NIH does fund acupuncture and other alternative medicine therapies. But, I hope that you and others would be willing to accept the results of clinical trials if it shows that acupuncture has little or no effect. Bill Gates may be willing to fund a clinical trial but he is very likely to ask some very good scientific advisors to review the trial, so at least be prepared for a rigorous review.
    2. Trial costs. You made several assertions that the funding of clinical trials will not benefit people with spinal cord injury and made some calculations to support your assertions. I think that you may have a fundamental misunderstanding of both the reasons for the costs of clinical trials and what the trials are for. Clinical trials are costly because they bear the burden of the costs of delivering and assessing the effects of experimental therapies. The subjects of the trials should not pay. The sponsor of the trial pays. The subjects volunteer for the trial so that the trial can determine whether the treatment is safe and effective. If the treatment is safe and effective, it is then approved by the appropriate regulatory agency and insurance companies will then consider paying for the cost of the therapy.
    3. Government and society should be willing to pay the costs of safe and effective therapies. As you yourself pointed out, the costs of caring for patients with spinal cord injury are high. Therefore, any treatment that reduces these costs will be very worthwhile, even treatments that are quite expensive because the costs are so high. At the present, physical therapy is as expensive or more that acupuncture. Acupuncture is relatively safe but its efficacy has not yet been demonstrated in spinal cord injury. The papers that you cite are interesting but not of sufficient rigor or convincing to doctors in the United States. If convincing data is obtained for acupuncture's efficacy in reducing bladder spasticity, for example, I believe that there will be no difficulty getting insurance companies to pay for the therapies. So, that should be your goal.


    Wise.

  2. #122
    plus, hopeForsci, you failed to note i have tried acupuncture and it is covered under my insurance.

    so, no, i won't be knocking on gates's gate.
    Last edited by cass; 06-18-2006 at 03:06 AM.

  3. #123

    acupuncture

    There is much scientific evidence suggesting that acupuncture can restore some function in both acute and chronic human SCI. Furthermore, scientists have shown that acupuncture influences neuronal stem-cell expression in a number of animal models of neurological disorders. Because of these suggestive studies, acupuncture has been incorporated in several SCI stem-cell programs.

    Harvard University’s, Dr. Charles Shang (Boston, MA) believes that the acupuncture system and stem cells are closely linked through an “organizing center network” composed of under-differentiated, electromagnetically sensitive cells. This network is created very early in embryogenesis before the formation of other physiological systems (e.g., spinal cord) and has the potential to influence these later-formed systems throughout life. Under this model, acupuncture-triggered electromagnetic cues can jump-start the network cells into action. As a crude analogy, view the “organizing center network” as a behind-the-lines’ general ready to send in reserve troops (i.e., stem cells) to replace the front-line cells who have fallen from the attacks of disease, trauma, and aging. In the case of transplanted stem cells, Shang speculates that they can be recruited into a new network for repair and regeneration.

    The following is from the acupuncture chapter in my book (Alternative Medicine and Spinal Cord Injury (2006) published by Demos medical publishing):

    • Gao et al (China) treated 261 individuals with SCI, of which 79% had been injured at least one year (8). Ninety-five percent had some improvement, such as improved sensation, bowel-and-bladder function, spasticity, and walking. The authors speculate that acupuncture improves regeneration-promoting circulation around the spinal cord.

    • Wang (China) summarized the treatment of 82 cases of SCI with electroacupuncture of bladder-meridian points (lateral to the vertebrae) (9). Ninety-three percent accrued functional benefits, including improved lower-limb and bowel-and-bladder function.

    • Cheng and colleagues (Taiwan) showed that electroacupuncture-treated patients achieved balanced voiding in fewer days than controls (10). Patients starting acupuncture within three weeks of injury required fewer treatments compared to those treated later.

    • Wong et al., (China) treated acutely injured patients with electrical and auricular (i.e., ear) acupuncture starting in the emergency room and measured functional improvement one-year post injury with the commonly used ASIA (i.e., American Spinal Injury Association) assessment standards (11). Compared to controls, treated patients recovered more function.

    • In eight patients with SCI, Honjo et al., (Japan) demonstrated that acupuncture increases bladder capacity, decreasing urinary incontinence (12).

  4. #124
    Acupuncture in conjunction with proven conventional medical treatments IE: decompression surgery, MP, and extensive rehabilitation..MAY have some benefit.

    But when used solely by itself..it isn't effective in acute cases of spinal cord injury in dogs. And what is effective in humans is effective in dogs. So I would expect the same outcome in humans as dogs.

    It has some minimal effect on pain. At least while taking the treatment. That is all I personally have experienced.

    In chronic dogs...not much is achieved even when using electro-acupuncture.

    I'm not even sure it does promote blood flow any better then whirlpool and massage.

    And would find it a waste of revenue to overstudy it in rats/mice/chickens.

    Use the money to study something to improve the decompression of the cord..salvage of the nerve functions in acutes.

    And something really viable to regenerate in the chronics. From mice to men and all inbetween. JMHO.
    Last edited by Lindox; 06-19-2006 at 03:39 PM.
    Life isn't about getting thru the storm but learning to dance in the rain.

  5. #125
    i'll say it one more time. if acupuncture really was effective in sci, we wouldn't be having this discussion. it has been around for centuries. ppl have not survived sci for even 1 century.

  6. #126

    We All Learn From Your Discussions!

    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Young
    hopeforSCI,

    I am sorry but your argument is not convincing for the following reasons.
    1. Clinical trials. Acupuncture is not or should not be any different from any other therapy. Its safety and efficacy needs to be demonstrated. If you or others are interested in showing that acupuncture helps spinal cord injury, the path is to do a clinical trial to obtain the data. Once the treatment is shown to be effective, you or somebody has to show the data to the insurance companies and convince them to pay for it. By the way, the NIH does fund acupuncture and other alternative medicine therapies. But, I hope that you and others would be willing to accept the results of clinical trials if it shows that acupuncture has little or no effect. Bill Gates may be willing to fund a clinical trial but he is very likely to ask some very good scientific advisors to review the trial, so at least be prepared for a rigorous review.
    2. Trial costs. You made several assertions that the funding of clinical trials will not benefit people with spinal cord injury and made some calculations to support your assertions. I think that you may have a fundamental misunderstanding of both the reasons for the costs of clinical trials and what the trials are for. Clinical trials are costly because they bear the burden of the costs of delivering and assessing the effects of experimental therapies. The subjects of the trials should not pay. The sponsor of the trial pays. The subjects volunteer for the trial so that the trial can determine whether the treatment is safe and effective. If the treatment is safe and effective, it is then approved by the appropriate regulatory agency and insurance companies will then consider paying for the cost of the therapy.
    3. Government and society should be willing to pay the costs of safe and effective therapies. As you yourself pointed out, the costs of caring for patients with spinal cord injury are high. Therefore, any treatment that reduces these costs will be very worthwhile, even treatments that are quite expensive because the costs are so high. At the present, physical therapy is as expensive or more that acupuncture. Acupuncture is relatively safe but its efficacy has not yet been demonstrated in spinal cord injury. The papers that you cite are interesting but not of sufficient rigor or convincing to doctors in the United States. If convincing data is obtained for acupuncture's efficacy in reducing bladder spasticity, for example, I believe that there will be no difficulty getting insurance companies to pay for the therapies. So, that should be your goal.
    Wise.
    Dr. Young:

    Thank you for your comments. You have great expert authority on spinal cord injury research in the western medicine. I have highest respect for your achievements. You have made great contributions to the SCI community and I really appreciate that. But I am sorry that I have to disagree with some of your comments and opinions due to the following reasons:

    1. Your opinions on Acupuncture and Chinese medicine do not have expert authority because your understanding on them is very limited. Chinese medicine is a distinct medicine from Western medicine. Its basic theories were well developed two thousands years ago. Acupuncture is one of the treatments in Chinese medicine even though nowadays it can be practiced separately. Some people think of Chinese medicine to be equal to herbal medicine. This is incorrect. Chinese medicine includes herbal medicine, acupuncture, Chinese therapeutic massage (aka. Tui-na), cupping, and moxibustion, etc. Sometimes we put acupuncture and Chinese medicine together to clarify what we mean even though it is redundant. Chinese medicine has gone through the longest clinical trials and practices for the human being. It has been proven over the last two thousands year that it is effective and safe. Enormous amount of documentations exists for its clinical practice. It is the great efficacy that helped Chinese medicine survive and prosper for two thousands. The efficacy will be the only criteria for any medicine to survive for the long run.

    2. Western medicine is relatively new and still evolving. Western medicine is developing very fast along with modern science. No one can deny the importance of Western medicine. It is easier to understand it than Chinese medicine because it relates more closely to the materialistic world around us. That does not mean Western medicine can supersede Chinese medicine. In fact they both complement each other. Chinese medicine can provide solutions for a lot of ailments that are declared incurable by Western medicine such as autism and cerebral paralysis. Western medicine has not yet fully figured out the workings of the nervous system and sometimes confines itself to its own theories. To achieve higher scientific results, researchers and scientists sometimes need to think outside the box.

    3. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine treat all ailments in the same way because they see them as stemming from the same cause – a disruption of the energy flow or vital force of the body. Many studies have been shown in China and around the world that they can treat spinal cord injuries and recover functions for SCI patients. The reason why you need clinical trials for your procedure is because your procedure has not been proven safe enough on human and could potentially kill people if not applied cautiously. That’s why you need to try it first on animals such as mouse, rats, or monkeys.

    4. Most medical insurance does not cover acupuncture and Chinese medicine currently. For example, HMO does not cover and some PPO only covers 25 visits for $25 per visit (i.e. $625/year). Such coverage is far from adequate for SCI patients. Besides, 45 millions Americans do not have health insurance. Even for people with insurance, the premium is getting quite expensive. So your goal for asking insurance to pay is not realistic for many people here in US. The goal should be to seek a way to reduce the overall cost while making it affordable to as many people as possible.


    5. Here is a list of benefits that Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can contribute to the SCI community. The rate of recovery also depends on the severity of injury, age, and overall health conditions.
    a. For some SCIs, Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can recover functions so that no further treatments from Western medicine are necessary. Western medicine is very effective to save lives during the acute SCI stage but has not found an effective way to recover functions for chronic SCI yet.
    b. For some SCIs, partial functions can be recovered so that the hardship of SCI’s daily life can be reduced significantly. This is also critical to prepare the patients for the eventual mass cure in the future. We believe the mass cure will come but we don’t know when.
    c. The above two categories will be the majority. Some SCIs might not see any functional improvements but will receive other major health benefits. For example, Acupuncture and Chinese medicine will effectively treat the body pain due to SCI. Patients will no longer need to live with pain-relief drugs and to deal with the side effects from the drugs. The drugs can become very expensive over the years or lifetime and some people need to spend $300/month to deal with the pain. So here is a big saving for SCI patients. More importantly, Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can improve the level of health and enhance our body’s own natural self-defense system. When our own natural defenses are strong, our body can help defend any attacks from all kinds of illness. This is much superior way and is exactly the holistic way.

    6. I understand the importance of clinical trials. What I wanted to illustrate is the importance of care for current SCIs. I suggest we need more attention and fund to help current SCIs. Let me explain it with a story. I had a colleague whose husband was diagnosed with cancer. She was devastated with the news. And they just had a new baby boy for a few months. She devoted all the available money and resources to try to save her husband’s life. Ten years later, her husband survived. But now her son has a lot of health problem due to mal-nutrition during his infancy. She regretted very much about neglecting her baby during his critical growth stage. She said a few pennies on the dollar could not make much difference on her husband’s treatment but would have made huge difference on her baby’s health. Now she needs to spend a lot more money to improve her son’s health or her son will suffer the hardship for the whole life. The lesson from this story is: SCI research is very expensive and takes time. Simply putting more money does not necessarily speed up the process proportionally. Taking care of current SCIs is equally important and the cost will be much less in the long run.

    7. Western medical doctors have no understanding on Chinese medicine and should not advice people about how Chinese medicine works. Only the experts in the subject matter can make a right decision. Can we ask our lawyer for advice on how to invest money in stock market? Our lawyer might give us the advice but we might be hurting from that advice. Can Nobel Chemistry Prize committee consist of people who know nothing about Chemistry? Can Nobel Peace Prize committee consist of people who support terrorists? The answer is an obvious NO.

    Thank you for your discussions and we all learn from you.

    Best regards,

    HopeForSCI
    Last edited by HopeForSCI; 06-22-2006 at 11:19 AM.

  7. #127

    You Need to Find an Expert Acupuncturist to Treat SCI

    Quote Originally Posted by cass
    i'll say it one more time. if acupuncture really was effective in sci, we wouldn't be having this discussion. it has been around for centuries. ppl have not survived sci for even 1 century.
    Cass:

    I am sorry to hear your bad experience with acupuncture. I wonder if you could describe the skills of your acupuncturist, how many treatments you received and how often. Here are some comments for you to think about.

    · A single practitioner does not represent the whole medical system. If your family doctor cannot treat your illness, you cannot say Western medicine does not work. Some SCI cases are caused by mal-practice during the acute stage, but that does not mean all SCI doctors are not good. If the treatment has no effect on you, it does not mean it has no effect on other people.

    · SCI is one of the most difficult illnesses and a huge challenge for any medical practice. Only an expert can treat effectively for such illness. You do not go to your family doctor and expect him/her to recover you from SCI, instead you go see the SCI expert. Same logic applies to acupuncturist. You need to see an expert acupuncturist. For simple back pain, average acupuncturist will be able to relieve the pain. You are an engineer and I hope you can understand the logic here.


    · The healing process is accumulative. Every type of treatment needs to apply a certain dosage. If the dosage is not adequate, it does not have effects. For example, when we have flu, our doctor normally prescribes ten-day antibiotics for us. We have to finish all the pills for ten days even if we feel better after 5 days. Because ten-day is a determined dosage to be effective. Same applies to acupuncture. In order to see any functional improvement for any SCI, it is recommended to continue acupuncture treatments for three times a week for two months. Please also make sure the expert acupuncturist applies following treatments: scalp acupuncture, body acupuncture, and Chinese therapeutic massage (aka. Tui-na).


    · Here is an example why acupuncture and Chinese medicine have a better solution. Intervertebral disc degeneration causes herniated disc. It is well known to be difficult to treat in Western medicine. Western medicine normally resorts to epidural injection and surgery when regular therapy fails. But epidural injection can only relieve the pain temporarily and you can only receive three injections a year as the maximum. More injections will no longer be effective and increase the side effects. What about surgery? Surgery is not a permanent solution for the condition in most cases. There is a great risk of developing another herniated disk in another location. Besides it takes 4 to 6 months to recover after surgery. But acupuncture can relieve the pain quickly and can also permanently address the cause of injury so it will not recur. Don’t you see acupuncture is much more superior in this case?

    · Acupuncture has just started to grow enormously in popularity in the West during the last two decades. But a lot of people still don’t understand it yet. The western medical society will still need time to accept it. That does not mean it does not work. For example, soccer is not very popular in US but you cannot deny the fact that it is still the number one sport in the world.


    Take care.
    HopeForSCI
    Last edited by HopeForSCI; 06-21-2006 at 06:02 PM.

  8. #128
    [quote=HopeForSCI]

    a. For some SCIs, Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can recover functions so that no further treatments from Western medicine are necessary.
    /quote]

    Aaaaahhhh. This explains why my stock in the Shanghai Wheelchair Manufacturing Corporation is plummeting.

    Just a thought hope, have you considered that the people you have "cured" (based on the thread title "some SCI can be cured") are actually veeeery incomplete SCI's????
    T6 complete (or so I think), SCI since September 21, 2003

  9. #129
    There are so many errors in what you purport, HopeforSCI, that I don't quite know where to begin.

    Antibiotics are NOT used to treat viral influenza. Antibiotics DO NOT kill a virus.

    This is basic science.

    If Chinese medicine "cured" SCI I wouldn't be sitting where I am. Neither would hundreds of thousands of others.

    I had improvements over the eighteen months post SCI. I'm incomplete. So are many others. I suppose had I utilized accupuncture during this time, you'd have credited it for my betterment.

    You don't have an effing clue.
    Last edited by LaMemChose; 06-20-2006 at 02:05 PM.

  10. #130

    Acupuncture

    The following was emailed to me a number of years ago. Because it is just an anecdotal case, we should not overly extrapolate its significance. Neither should we over extrapolate the significance of anecdotal experience of individuals who have not accrued benefits from acupuncture.

    Because every spinal cord injury is different, the responsiveness to various therapies will also be different. I do not know the amount of function-restoring benefit that will accrue for the average individual. As a former NIH director for scientific review, I agree with Wise that the therapy needs additional scientific scrutiny, but I believe that non-conventional approaches tend to be pushed to the backburner. If acupuncture was a patentable pharmaceutical agent instead of some ancient therapy that can’t make money for anyone, we would be rushing to carry out clinical trials given the amount of positive preliminary data.

    People are clamoring to travel across the world and pay through the nose for a risky, magic-bullet surgical intervention with perhaps very modest, if any, benefits accruing because it fits their view of the world. There is virtually no downside to acupuncture; it’s relatively inexpensive (i.e. you don’t have to mortgage the house to access the therapy); and the evidence in support of it use for a variety of applications (as stated in a prestigious NIH Consensus Statement) is often much greater than many commonly used medical practices.

    Einstein stated “Condemnation without investigation is the height of arrogance”

    “I am a 49-year old Vietnam veteran. Due to depression resulting from post-traumatic stress combined with overmedication, I attempted suicide. I stuck a gun to my chest and shot myself. The bullet missed my heart and deflected off my sternum into my spine. My discharge summary reads T-12 SCI, permanent paralysis.”

    “After attending a wedding in Bolivia, I hooked up with a South Korean acupuncturist. I ended up having 30 days of inexpensive treatment and continued it back home. The speed at which I am rehabilitating is overpowering. Two weeks ago, I walked on a treadmill for almost two minutes (kafo on left leg and plastic afo on right leg). Presently, I can walk 45 feet with the kafo unlocked assisted by a rolling walker. The improvement I have gained is a direct result of my acupuncture treatments.”

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