On Wednesday, May 7, I attended this Symposium on Current Advances in Spinal Cord Injury Research held at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (formerly UMDNJ) in Newark. I was joined by Push to Walk’s Program Director, Tommy Sutor, another trainer (Isaak) and a client. We also saw Steven, a member of Push to Walk’s Medical Professionals Network. I was proud that Push to Walk was well represented at a conference of this stature.
The program for the day included Robert Heary, Brian Strom, David Lowell, Charles Tator, Susan Harkema, and Philip Popovich. After a networking type lunch, the afternoon speakers were W. Dalton Dietrick, Brian Kwon and V. Reggie Edgerton. (I have chosen not to include all of their degrees and titles, because this paragraph would have looked like alphabet soup! Suffice it to say that all of these speakers are at the top of their fields and are very well educated and experienced!)
Admittedly, most of the science presented is over my head, similar to other research and scientific symposiums I attend, but I do appreciate all the different efforts that these scientists and their teams are working on. Bringing research from “the bench to the bedside and back again” is a slow, time consuming tedious process, but so many people are dedicating their lives and professions to spinal cord injury research that I continue to be hopeful that soon enough, one or more will actually become a reality in “curing” spinal cord injury.
From the Miami Project’s hypothermia and Schwann cell studies, to Susan Harkema’s extraordinary work with epidural stimulation, much is happening in the field. During the lunch break, our Push to Walk trainer Isaak, made one very telling statement: everything that was presented (and I do mean everything) had ONE common denominator: EXERCISE! It was true! All of the speakers and presenters spoke about the importance of exercise, movement, activity based training and rehabilitation. While not many of the clinical trials and tests (although successful to some extent in animals) have actual and tested results, everyone spoke of the need to exercise.
This reinforced our work at Push to Walk that we do every single day. Getting people out of their wheelchairs, helping them to strengthen themselves and seeing what their bodies CAN do is our main focus in every single workout. Movement, movement and more movement – all with a plan, of course! Every day we see people reaching their goals, performing new movements and becoming more independent. While the science progresses along the path of approvals, tests and evaluations, we plug away every day to help people keep their bodies strong and healthy – ready for the cure when science DOES bring us something to help all of those with spinal cord injuries.
May God bless the scientists, their minds, hearts and hands as they do this VERY important work!
P.S. Don’t forget to vote for Push to Walk to win a $25,000 grant to help Veterans and provide workouts! Vote Here!
Thanks, and have a good weekend! Cynthia