14 November 2017

"An unexpected success story". Really? I'd like more info. PART I

This is a story about BBS (bladder, bowel, and sexual function) return, but you'll have to stay with me a bit to follow.

I was pleased to read the following stories in Newsweek (Paralysed man surprises scientists by standing and moving on his own) and Science Daily (Individual with complete spinal cord injury regains voluntary motor function). Very short summary; extended activity-based training with epidural stimulation resulted in the ability for a man with a complete spinal cord injury to stand and move without stimulation six years post injury. The study was done at the University of Louisville in Kentucky and funded by CDRF (Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation), and others through their Big Idea project.

While this is all very exciting, especially with those inexperienced with paralysis cure, the real news for many in the spinal cord injury community, had already been released numerous times by CDRF and their proxies. This big news was that, "Even more surprisingly, all four participants experienced significant improvements in autonomic functions, including bladder, bowel and sexual function, as well as temperature regulation." (9 October 2014).

Another announcement on 31 January 2015 said that, "to prove in meaningful terms that epidural spinal cord stimulation is a valid therapy leading to significant improvement of cardiovascular, respiratory, bladder, bowel and sexual function in patients..."

This is all very good news and even better news is that even though the BBS return was an unexpected return, a proper BBS study is now part of the "stepping" study. I learned this after exchanging emails with Roderic Pettigrew the Director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at the NIH, and his gang. His group penned an article called "Epidural Spinal Stimulation to Improve Bladder, Bowel, and Sexual Function in Individuals With Spinal Cord Injuries: A Framework for Clinical Research".

So, where am I going with this story? Stay tuned to Part II of "An unexpected success story. Really? I'd like  more info."

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