Breaking News
September 20, 2018 - Potential drugs to treat neurodegenerative diseases garner $3 million grant
September 20, 2018 - Processing speed important to higher order cognitive function in multiple sclerosis patients
September 20, 2018 - Helping a patient survive a hurricane
September 20, 2018 - Tafamidis Treats Transthyretin Amyloid Cardiomyopathy
September 20, 2018 - Low academic achievement can lead to drug abuse decades later, research finds
September 20, 2018 - Study identifies stem cell that gives rise to new bone, cartilage in humans | News Center
September 20, 2018 - Celltrion and Emory University sign ‘Incubation’ agreement to develop new drug candidates for atherosclerosis
September 20, 2018 - TGen and PNOC take part in launch of NIH-supported Kids First Data Resource Portal
September 20, 2018 - Could Household Cleaners Make Your Kid Fat?
September 20, 2018 - Addiction nonprofit makes searching for services simple
September 20, 2018 - We are bombarded by thousands of diverse species and chemicals | News Center
September 20, 2018 - Experts to Present Prostate Cancer Advances at Patient Summit
September 20, 2018 - Alector announces initiation of Phase 1 trial of AL001 for treating frontotemporal dementia
September 20, 2018 - Pfizer’s 20vPnC vaccine receives Breakthrough Therapy designation from FDA
September 20, 2018 - Study could allow doctors to screen patients at risk from Aspergillus
September 20, 2018 - Emergex signs MoU with Brazil’s Fiocruz for development of viral vaccines
September 20, 2018 - The ‘real you’ is a myth – we constantly create false memories to achieve the identity we want
September 20, 2018 - Researchers describe cell mechanism that optimizes proteins production in stressful situations
September 20, 2018 - Cell Medica successfully doses first patient with CMD-501 targeting pediatric neuroblastoma
September 20, 2018 - Senators unveil legislation to protect patients against surprise medical bills
September 20, 2018 - Study provides insights into development of special-purpose cosmetic products
September 20, 2018 - Research shows enlarged genotype-phenotype correlation for three-base pair deletion in NF1
September 20, 2018 - 91% of people around the world believe medical research will result in dementia cure
September 20, 2018 - DePuy Synthes introduces CONCORDE LIFT Expandable Interbody Device at EUROSPINE 2018
September 20, 2018 - Manx Telecom unveils MT clearSound that improves clarity of mobile phone calls
September 20, 2018 - Mediterranean-style diet appears to reduce stroke risk in women
September 20, 2018 - AbbVie Announces Patient-Reported Outcomes Data from Three Pivotal Phase 3 Studies of Risankizumab, Showing Significant Improvements in Health-Related Quality of Life for Patients with Psoriasis
September 20, 2018 - Characterization of pregnancy microbiome reveals variations in bacterial diversity
September 20, 2018 - New guidance for treatment of bone loss in hematologic stem cell transplant Recipients
September 20, 2018 - Experts to present research on prevention, management of dysphagia at international conference
September 20, 2018 - New study focuses on two-way gene switches controlling gene activity
September 20, 2018 - Zika virus could become a weapon against brain cancer
September 20, 2018 - Home-based video game exercises can reduce chronic low back pain in older people, study finds
September 20, 2018 - Investigators find that bile acids reduce cocaine reward
September 20, 2018 - Cannabinoid drugs reduce perceived unpleasantness of painful stimuli and increase tolerance
September 20, 2018 - Health care companies’ data could enable more accurate flu season forecasts
September 20, 2018 - Geroscience takes center stage in Journal of the American Medical Association
September 20, 2018 - Ambient Particulate Matter Linked to Emergency Asthma Care
September 20, 2018 - Patient satisfaction with plastic surgery—it’s the surgeon, not the practice
September 20, 2018 - Medicine is a team sport – and that’s exactly how it should be
September 20, 2018 - Logos Biosystems releases new electrophoretic tissue clearing system with twice the features in half the space
September 20, 2018 - Novel micro-platform reveals never-before-seen behaviors of cancer cells
September 20, 2018 - PAREXEL partners with Datavant to enhance clinical study design and generate real-world evidence
September 20, 2018 - Robert Koch Institute publishes new data on allergies, mental health problems, and accident injuries
September 20, 2018 - Study finds higher readmission rates in for-profit hospitals
September 20, 2018 - Encouraging youth to do strength-based exercises could help tackle child obesity
September 20, 2018 - Sleep apnea, congenital heart disease in hospitalized infants strongly associated with death
September 20, 2018 - Researchers find way to map mysterious content of non-coding RNA
September 20, 2018 - Air Pollutants Reach Placenta, Might Harm Fetus: Study
September 20, 2018 - Sleep apnea, congenital heart disease may be deadly mix for hospitalized infants
September 20, 2018 - My relative has cancer, should I worry? Encouraging cascade genetic testing
September 20, 2018 - Investigators determine specific treatable traits that can predict future asthma attacks
September 20, 2018 - More doctor visits can lower risk of suicide attempts in fibromyalgia patients
September 20, 2018 - Computer avatars play role in diagnosis of dementia
September 20, 2018 - Addition of CTLA4 targeted therapy to PD-1 targeted therapy may benefit patients with ovarian cancer
September 20, 2018 - ASPREE trial explores whether low dose aspirin can prolong good health in elderly people
September 20, 2018 - ATS publishes new guideline focused on weight loss strategies for sleep apnea patients
September 20, 2018 - The Current issue of “The view from here” is concerned with Drug Delivery
September 19, 2018 - Sleep apnea could favour tumor growth at young ages
September 19, 2018 - Stealth vaping fad hidden from parents, teachers
September 19, 2018 - Witnessing school violence linked to later risk of psycho-social and academic impairment
September 19, 2018 - Common household cleaners could make children overweight by changing gut microbiota
September 19, 2018 - Salk research in yeast leads to serendipitous finding about hypomyelinating leukodystrophy
September 19, 2018 - Study: Overweight or obese women may have increased risk of urinary incontinence
September 19, 2018 - Study shows how cellular waste disposal processes also promote inflammation
September 19, 2018 - New multidisciplinary microsurgery microscope, PROVIDO, introduced by Leica
September 19, 2018 - Phase 2b STORM Data Evaluating Selinexor in Patients with Penta-Refractory Multiple Myeloma Presented at the Society of Hematologic Oncology 2018 Annual Meeting
September 19, 2018 - Decisions recruiting gut feelings seen as reflection of true self, more assuredly held, study says
September 19, 2018 - How AI can improve end-of-life care
September 19, 2018 - UNIST and Ulsan initiate research collaboration to develop human organs-on-chips
September 19, 2018 - Study highlights key role of migrating shoals of fish in sustaining deep-ocean microorganisms
September 19, 2018 - Disagreeable individuals can benefit most from behaving more compassionately, finds study
September 19, 2018 - Janssen Submits New Drug Application to U.S. FDA Seeking Approval of Erdafitinib for the Treatment of Metastatic Urothelial Cancer
September 19, 2018 - Neuroplasticity is increased but dysregulated in the aging brain, study finds
September 19, 2018 - Suicide: A public health crisis
September 19, 2018 - Infants using popular anti-reflux medicines are not at increased risk of lung infections
September 19, 2018 - Stanford team will participate in NIH-funded study of tobacco policies | News Center
September 19, 2018 - Women with high levels of anti-Müllerian hormone more likely to develop breast cancer
September 19, 2018 - Researchers use larval zebrafish model to reveal role of locus coeruleus in anesthesia
September 19, 2018 - Effects of prematurity found to be more severe for the brains of males than females
Experimental treatment improves invisible symptoms of a man with spinal cord injury

Experimental treatment improves invisible symptoms of a man with spinal cord injury

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

An experimental treatment that sends electrical currents through the spinal cord has improved “invisible” yet debilitating side effects for a B.C. man with a spinal cord injury.

A diving accident six years ago left Isaac Darrel, of Langley, British Columbia, with a spinal cord injury. Side effects of the injury include dizziness, fluctuations in blood pressure and changes in bladder and bowel function.

Darrel made the decision to have electrodes surgically implanted over his spinal cord in 2016 to test out a treatment known as epidural stimulation in the hopes of improving some of the side effects. A case study about his experiences was published today in JAMA Neurology.

“Mobility issues or paralysis are the most visible consequences of a spinal cord injury but as a clinician, I know that many of my patients suffer from other ‘invisible’ consequences,” said Dr. Andrei Krassioukov, principal investigator of the study who worked with Darrel for a number of years as a professor of medicine at UBC and chair in rehabilitation research with ICORD, a Vancouver research centre focused on spinal cord injuries.

“Many of my patients have abnormal blood pressure and bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunctions that can be quite devastating.”

Epidural stimulation involves surgically inserting electrodes permanently above the spinal cord and then stimulating the nerve cells in the spinal cord with electrical currents. The therapeutic benefits of epidural stimulation have been well-documented for chronic back pain, but a small number of experimental trials are testing the treatment on people with spinal cord injuries.

With a remote control, Darrel uses the stimulator for up to 45 minutes each day, applying different programs to transmit electrical impulses into his spinal cord that mimic the same signals that would come from the brain. The programs are designed to stimulate specific nerves that help with various motor functions, but Darrel and Krassioukov have observed other positive changes.

Before the treatment, Darrel said he often felt light-headed, especially when he moved from his bed to his wheelchair or during exercise, and his blood pressure would drop.

“My blood pressure would tank right down into the 60s,” said Darrel, who describes feeling nauseous and like the world was spinning. “I would pass out or black out sitting in my chair sometimes. Now, since I have the implant, I’m able to turn up the stimulation enough that it makes it impossible for me to black out.”

The symptoms Darrel experienced are part of a disorder known as orthostatic hypotension, resulting from poor cardiovascular function. Since the surgery, a team of researchers at ICORD have been following Darrel’s case and running tests to determine how his cardiovascular function has changed. Using something called a tilt table, they put patients into an upright position to see if they are able to maintain their blood pressure.

“If there is no drop in arterial blood pressure, it is considered normal,” said Dr. Krassioukov. “It means the person has good control of blood vessels in their lower extremities and the abdomen.”

The stimulator has improved Darrel’s ability to control his blood pressure as well as other benefits.

“I’ve had better blood pressure, better core muscle, much improved bowel function, and basically I have more energy,” said Darrel, who noted that this means he can now sit in his wheelchair for up to eight hours, a big improvement from the two hours he could endure prior to the surgery.

The results point to the need to fully understand how this treatment could be used in clinical settings. Krassioukov and his colleagues are currently collaborating with colleagues in the U.S. on a larger trial, examining the benefits of epidural stimulation on a bigger group. They are also involved in research on a similar but non-invasive version of the treatment that involves stimulating the spinal cord with a device positioned on top of the skin at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“We see very interesting and exciting results but as a clinician-scientist, I need more robust data before I would recommend this procedure,” he said.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles