If you clicked on this article then you’re probably wondering what this medical trial is about and how I was able to stand. So let me tell you.
Last July, a friend told me about a successful, nonsurgical trial for people with cervical spinal cord injuries (SCI). Now, let me help you understand one very important thing, I ALWAYS hear about SCI related trials involving surgical implants and they’re great but they’re invasive, have a long recovery time, and most are difficult to undo. On top of all that, sometimes the trial is successful for individuals. Honestly, all of that work does not sound extremely appealing. And the sound of surgery makes me feel sick. SOOOO, when my friend mentioned that this trial was non-surgical, I was immediately interested. And maybe just a little doubtful in its success, so I had to learn more.
So what is this trial? How is this trial nonsurgical?
Basically, they put electrodes above and below your injury level, lower back, and your abs. While you work out in physical therapy, the electrodes are stimulating your body. I like to say they’re waking up the spinal cord.
NeuroRecovery Technologies is the medical technology company behind this trial. What this team noticed during the trials was the results of implantable system vs transcutaneous system (which is fancy terms for on the skin). They were getting similar results! So the idea was, if you can get the same results from the transcutaneous system, that should be the first step. And if you do not respond well, then you can decide if you want to go through with the implantable system. The target is not just voluntary movement either, but stimulating every organ system in your body.
In a recent presentation, it was stated that out of 38 patients, 33 patients had success in voluntary movement and new secondary outcomes. Patients that go through this study now have improved hand functions, they are able to stand within days, they start sweating (which is a function lost after a SCI), improved blood pressure, and more. How insane is that? From my understanding, a typical SCI trial notices improvements after a couple weeks, if not months. These results for transcutaneous stimulation occur within a few days. A FEW DAYS.
And I am a testimony to that. This is no joke. When I was in California to celebrate my sweet niece’s 3rd birthday, my parents and I met with Dr. Terrafranca, the founder of NRT, to discuss the study. We tested my abilities and I responded well. After 3 sessions of stemming and physical therapy, I was standing (the trainer was blocking my knees but I was doing the rest), I could balance my hips, I was sweating, anddddddd my blood pressure wasn’t dropping!! Which the blood pressure thing is insane to begin with because every time I try to stand at therapy back home, I border line pass out. It’s just how my body is. I usually have to sit down multiple times. BUT on the third day with the transcutaneous stimulation, I didn’t have to sit down at all norrrrrr did I ever feel light headed!
So this transcutaneous system had a positive, humongous, mind blowing impact to my nervous system. And here’s a video to prove I could balance my hips.
Take that! Yeah baby!
The companies next step is FDA approval and commercialization. After experiencing the effect it had on my spinal cord, I really believe this trial can change thousands of lives. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to participate in this trial long term!
Thank you for reading! Be sure to like and subscribe 🙂