Written by Julie Taylor
Hope for Human Spinal-Cord Injuries –
Thanks to Paralyzed Rats…
We can learn so much by observing nature. Observing animals allows us a precious window into our ‘real’ behavior, uncluttered by our thinking brains. By exploring this animal behavior – and by thinking of it in terms of how we humans interpret it – my hope is that we can learn how to overcome both disease and the affects of tragic accidents.
This latest story shows how therapy for paralyzed rats is giving hope to humans with spinal-cord injuries at UCLA because researchers, using a combination of drugs, electrical stimulation and exercise, have enabled paralyzed rats to walk and run…
Can you imagine the emotional impact suddenly being rendered incapable of free movement must have on a young person? Many, if not most, of these paralyzing injuries, including brain injuries, affect young people. The trauma is unthinkable – many have said that they feel that their old selves have literally died. This research rekindles hope.
This article shows that the spinal cord contains nerve circuits can generate activity without input from the brain to drive the hind legs in a way that resembles walking. This movement is called ‘stepping’ says principal investigator Reggie Edgerton. He says this is the first time full weight-bearing and sustained stepping – despite complete spinal-cord injuries – has been demonstrated. http://www.physci.ucla.edu/physcifacultyindiv.php?FacultyKey=82
This story was published in Nature Neuroscience. The findings suggest “the regeneration of severed nerves is not required for rats to walk again and may hold promise for humans with spinal-cord injuries.”
At Last! Unique Adult Speech Therapy Books
I can’t say enough good things about this series of wonderful speech therapy books for adults who are higher functioning (but still need help) after their brain injury.
“What I Mean Is…” has been written by a qualified and innovative speech pathologist who sees patients every day that need this kind of help: help that until now wasn’t available. Hilary, along with her colleague Anita Kess, has successfully created and designed exercises that help put our language ‘back together’ again. All the pieces of our language are there, waiting… Waiting for this!
There are 2 books in the series for mild to moderate level language challenges – sometimes known as BRAIN FOG. And one book for more seriously affected asphasic patients. All of these books can be used by you – together with your local speech therapist. Your visitors, partner and the nurses in your own rehabilitation program can also use this book with you. Using “What I Mean Is…” results in a significantly higher level of satisfaction and reduced level of frustration in your daily use of language and in your own ReBuilding process.