Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Spinal Chord Injuries & Belief

New research shows that the central nervous system can reorganize itself after spinal injury, via Slashdot:

For the first time, a UCLA study shows that the central nervous system can reorganize itself and follow new pathways to restore the cellular communication required for movement. The lead researcher said, "This pessimistic view [that severe injury to the spinal cord means permanent paralysis] has changed over my lifetime, and our findings add to a growing body of research showing that the nervous system can reorganize after injury."
There are as many false beliefs in science as there are in religion. Many of the limitations stem directly from beliefs. I can only wonder how many spinal chord injured patients sit in a wheel chair because they were told that "they'd never walk again" and they believed it.

And yet, there has always been conflicting evidence. Doctors have seen people who should be dead, who shouldn't walk, get up and live and walk with the exact same injury another person sustained that kept them incapacitated for life. Consider this:
Less than a third of patients walk again after a spinal cord injury, whereas every one of them wants to try. Residual function, energy expenditure, the extent of orthotic support needed, and patient motivation will determine the outcome.s:
What is not mentioned is the belief of the care givers on the case. That matters. After an injury there is a critical time both psychologically and physiologically for the patient. He needs to hear hope and encouragement. He needs an authority's belief to believe himself because the road will be long and hard, no matter the outcome.

There is no such thing as false hope, only hope. And limiting beliefs can have life-altering consequences.

1 comment:

sandy said...

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