It has been quite a eventful past few weeks. Many of you might remember that last year I was invited to Frazier Rehab in Louisville KY (SCI research is endorsed by the Reeve Foundation) to determine if I qualify for ground breaking research in the Spinal Cord Injury world.
As it turned out, 2014 was not my year to participate, although I qualified, funding only allowed 8 candidates to be selected for the ground breaking epidural stimulation study. After being a little bummed out, I was still excited and amazed with all I experienced in the week long screening. With 2014 pushed to the back of my mind, I received an invitation to return for another screening this April. The only difference between last year and this year was enrollment would be offered to if I qualify.
Well test results are back…I’am a great candidate….Enrollment was offered…and I without a doubt I said, “count me in”!!
I am trying my best to stay cool and calm but the truth is, this study is so much BIGGER than me. It will be a lot of work and require an extended time commitment in Louisville, KY, but the benefits are real and within reach!
God has opened the door to this opportunity of a lifetime! Participating will be a honor as I know by doing so, we will be one step closer to offering hope to those in my position.
WHAT IS EPIDURAL STIMULATION
A stimulator is placed inside the body and wired to the spinal cord. The stimulator is controlled by a remote about the size of a smartphone. When the stimulator is on, commands such as “move my right leg” result in movement. In a way, the electrical pulses are “awakening” the nerve cells in the spinal cord.
THE STUDIES: KEY INSIGHTS
Findings published in the medical journals Lancet and Brain explain how epidural stimulation has transformed the lives of four participants with chronic motor complete SCI and enabled them to recover functions once thought to be lost.
Following implantation, each participant was able to:
Voluntarily move his legs, ankles, hips, knees and toes when the stimulator was turned on
Bear weight independently when the stimulator was turned on
Move with less stimulation after repeated stimulation and daily therapy
See increased muscle mass
Improve blood pressure regulation
Recover improved bladder, bowel and sexual function
Regulate body temperature
The results of the study were an unexpected breakthrough. The long-held belief that a spinal cord injury is permanent has been challenged — we now know that it’s possible to recover voluntary movement and improve cardiovascular and other autonomic functions that are disrupted by SCI.
The groundbreaking discovery that it may be possible to “reawaken” the spinal cord following an injury – even years after the trauma.
Rob, Kent, Drew and Dustin are living proof that epidural stimulation has the potential to be effective for the millions living with paralysis and other conditions that impact movement.