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Archive for the ‘SCI Research’ Category

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

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Hello Everyone,

I’ve written about Boyd Melson in prior posts, and we’ve shared his story in Facebook postings as well. In summary, Boyd is a professional boxer and donates all of his purse winnings to Just A Dollar Please in order to bring spinal cord injury clinical trials to the United States. Boyd’s best friend, Christan, is a long time Push to Walk client, and our relationship with him started many years ago.

Boyd’s next fight is coming up on Wednesday, December 4 at BB King’s in New York City. Again, he will donate his winnings to Dr. Wise Young and the clinical trials. You can buy tickets (if there’s any still available) at www.teamfighttowalk.com. But my blog today is really about Boyd coming to Push to Walk and working out with our clients. Under the program “The Mission Continues,” Boyd is working with Drs. Patricia Morton and Wise Young on a spinal cord injury exercise program and walking. When Boyd is at Push to Walk, he has his boxing gloves and gets the clients to throw punches, block punches and keep themselves upright. With his constant banter, encouragement, smile and laughter, he has these clients working HARD!

Here’s a video clip that says it all. Let’s just say I got as much enjoyment out of watching this taking place as I’m sure the participants had actually doing it. Only thing is, I’m not sore or tired afterwards. I only had to hold the camera! 🙂

Enjoy watching, and please support Boyd’s next fight and justadollarplease.org

Thank you! Cynthia

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It would seem only right that the Push to Walk staff and I spent the last few days of September at the Working 2 Walk Science and Advocacy Symposium in Boston this past weekend.

Marilyn Smith and her entire team at Unite 2 Fight Paralysis (U2FP) hosted an amazing event that brought together researchers, scientists, advocates, related professionals and people with SCI and their families to hear the latest information as related to finding a cure for SCI and how to advocate as a community.

While much of the science was over my head, I am excited and energized about all that is going on in the US and abroad to find a cure for SCI. Admittedly, I am also frustrated at just HOW LONG this stuff takes! But it is exciting to learn about new research and hear updates from those who have presented at previous conferences.

Travis Roy’s opening remarks on the second day of the symposium were open and honest, revealing personal details about his challenges from the moment he opens his eyes in the morning. While mostly familiar to me, I hope his comments opened up some other eyes and brought just a small dose of reality to those working for a cure in their labs and not necessarily knowledgeable about the intricate difficulties a person with SCI faces each and every day.

U2FP does an awesome job of not only pulling together this conference, but also spreading the information afterwards. While some or most might not be available yet, stay tuned to the following links for posted details:

Unite 2 Fight Paralysis

Care Cure Forums for Kate’s incredible live blogging

(I see Care Cure has recently updated their forums, so please be patient if you find any bugs or problems. I know Wise Young and other moderators are working hard on needed fixes. They are scientists and advocates, not IT experts. It might some time to iron out the new system.)

Travis Roy Foundation

Here’s to hoping research continues for SCI and even more people and funds are allocated to work on this area. I am thankful there are dedicated scientists and teams doing a lot of exciting work, and pray every day that a cure will be found………we must ALL work towards this goal, support the research and ADVOCATE for ourselves!

Cynthia

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Happy Friday Everyone!

I want to wish all the mothers out there a very Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday! I hope you enjoy precious time with your families, and if you are not near hopefully you can celebrate with a phone call, video chat or Skype session. Oh, the joys of technology to keep us connected! Hopefully this is one time where you can use it for a celebration, not job or work related!

While I do think some holidays are over commercialized, including this one to some extent, I do enjoy Mother’s Day. We mothers are special! Who does all the things we do?? And I love (almost!) every minute of it!

To all the mothers, especially those with challenges of children who have special needs and disabilities – THANK YOU for all you do! Enjoy your special day and celebrate the love you have for your children, and treasure the love they have for you.

Cynthia

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Our Own “Push Girl” will be on HBO Real Sports! Thanks to Christan Zaccagnino, and her willingness to share even the most intimate of details about her life, her relationships and her challenges, spinal cord injury is getting some well-deserved media attention from someone who is living a very full life. I am sure Christan’s story will make you laugh and make you cry, and will hopefully provide a spark for the bundle of dynamite needed to set off interest and funding for clinical trials for SCI in the U.S.

As many of you know, we follow Boyd Melson, a professional boxer who donates all of his winnings in the ring to Dr. Wise Young and the quest to bring clinical trials from China to the US. Boyd’s best friend, Christan Zaccagnino is a Push to Walk client, and she has worked tirelessly for many years to bring SCI into the media and the forefront of people’s consciousness. One HUGE step forward for Christan and Boyd (and the entire SCI community) is the filming of an HBO Real Sports segment which will be aired tomorrow, Tuesday, April 16, at 10 pm.

Set your DVR’s NOW!

To read a short clip about their story, click on this link: http://www.hbo.com/real-sports-with-bryant-gumbel/index.html.

I’d love to hear your comments after watching! Let me know what you think!

Cynthia

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Every once in awhile, I like to get on my “soapbox” about any number of topics, but I don’t always feel I have the most interesting, worthwhile or news-worthy items to write about. If you have something you’d like to share about ANY topic of interest that would be helpful to people who follow Push to Walk, I would love to hear from you! Maybe you enjoy writing but don’t have a place that anyone would see? Perhaps you enjoy a particular activity or hobby you’d like to share? Or if you have any helpful hints or tricks you’ve found that work for you – related to disabilities or not – maybe you’d like to send them to me, and I’ll post them from my guest bloggers!

Please write to me at ctempleton@pushtowalknj.org. I’d love to review your writings and include them here.

Thanks! Cynthia

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Push to Walk Program Director, Tommy Sutor, received approval from William Paterson University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) for Human Subject Research to conduct a pilot study, “An Investigation of the Intra- and Inter-Rater Reliability of the Neurological Impairment Movement Strength Test on Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury” in mid-January. This is a long and fancy title for saying that we want to develop a more objective way to conduct our initial evaluations with new clients.

While what we’ve been doing to this point is helpful, there is a certain amount of subjectivity to the methods, and we want to change that. By conducting this pilot study, we hope to develop a standardized method of testing movement strength so that measurements found in initial evaluations would prove more beneficial in subsequent tests and progress reports. Actual measurements can then be tracked and analyzed, showing us exactly how our program is helping any given person.

Push to Walk is very grateful for the assistance provided by Michael Figueroa, EdD, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology at William Paterson University, especially in obtaining approval of the IRB. This is very exciting for Push to Walk as an organization and will help us validate and document methods and progress for our clients.  Stay tuned for more details as this comes together!

Cynthia

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