Research on Spinal Cord Injury by Andrew K Fletcher
Spinal Cord Injury. The Importance Of Gravity In Nerve Regeneration
- Andrew K Fletcher
- Spinal cord injury (SCI) Inclined Bed Therapy Research
SCI's and the Importance of Gravity Dependence in Nerve Regeneration.
By Andrew K Fletcher.
Work on the regeneration of the optic nerve, In fish, frog, mouse, rat and rabbit, have been carried out at the Max Plank Institute in Germany. Ronald Meyer has also studied this field at the University of California.
With the optic nerve in all species being surgically severed, regeneration occurs in the goldfish and frog. Within a period of four months, sight is near normal in both cases. Yet, if the optic nerve in the mammalian subjects is severed, no regeneration occurs.
However, Meyer demonstrates that nerve regeneration in mammals is possible by removing part of the optic nerve and growing it on a special culture dish. The optic nerve is observed to grow vertically down In relation to the television screen and in doing so passes directly through, what appears to be a horizontally placed nerve-, which does not appear to be growing. The growth is observed as a long thin tubular vessel, which has globules of fluid pulsing vertically down its entire length, this appears to be causing the tubular vessel to lengthen.
Meyer concludes that there is something about being inside the mammalian body which prevents growth and this problem of nerve regeneration he relates directly to the spinal cord injury in man. It is my belief from the evidence presented in the documentary that the special culture dish used to demonstrate the growing mammalian nerve was tilted in order to use gravity to initiate the growth and to give it direction.
If this simple connection between gravity and nerve regeneration is applied to the goldfish and frog, it becomes obvious why nerve regeneration of the optic nerve is achieved. Goldfish and frog are always vertical and if found on their side they are either dead or very sick.
When the optic nerve is cut, the fluids are still able to flow in the same direction, because it is only the tube, which carries the fluids that is severed. The brain in relation to the position of the eye remains unchanged. In my opinion nerve regeneration occurs because the fluid circulation and the causes of said circulation remain intact.
It is my belief that nerve endings respond to exactly the same influences that plant seeds respond to and that in order to grow they need a stable environment. For instance, if I were to turn or rotate grass seeds, they would not thrive and would become confused to say the least.
Now apply this simple logic to the mammalian subjects. Mouse for instance leads a very active life and is continually altering its posture, it sleeps curled up in a tight ball and contorts to every conceivable posture during its normal daily routines, even to the point of hanging upside down at times. If I were to place some grass seedlings along its spine and water them, (hypothetically), I could not expect them to grow. Why should I expect a damaged spinal cord to restore itself when it is exposed to the same postural confusion.
Humans lead a similar life to that of mouse or most mammals, when our daily routines are taken into account, we are continually altering our posture all of our lives, and the most important changes in relation to the direction of gravity occur during sleep. We roll over from side to side, curl up in a ball, sleep on our back or tummy and all the time we are doing this we are horizontal, except for a couple of pillows.
If I were to slice a person from head to toe (hypothetically), I would find that almost all of the tiny tubes within the body run from head to toe. Gravity therefore must have played a very important part in the development of this network of fluid filled tubes! Even the intestines run predominantly downward.
A baby appears to understand the importance of standing and walking and once those first steps have been take the babies progress accelerates at a phenomenal rate. Could it be that gravity performs the living equivalent of a neurological computer upgrade? Is intelligence for that matter directly related to our vertical posture? But that's another paper for another time.
The most important observation in relation to the spinal cord injury is the position of the spinal cord.
While resting on a flat bed, irrespective of whether you are on your side, front or back, your spinal cord is horizontal. If gravity is the stimulus for nerve growth, one would expect the nerve endings to become totally confused and to tie themselves in a knot. It is my belief that this is exactly what happens in SCI's and is evident in the massive amount of MRI scan data from countless thousands of cases.
In Britain it is thought that confining people who have suffered spinal cord injury to prolonged bed rest aids recovery and prevents further damage. Some people spend a year and more stuck in bed at a phenomenal cost to their health and to the health service. Yet there are many papers produced which point to the fact that this practice is unproductive and leads to further degeneration. (too many papers to site). In fact NASA and the former USSR have used prolonged bed-rest to imitate the harmful effects of space travel upon astronauts, which has been shown to cause neurological problems in healthy subjects. Many countries are realising that prolonged bed-rest should be avoided in not only SCI's but many other conditions too. Pregnancies which used to result in a long rest period are now turned around in a couple of days.
If my words have any truth it should be very simple to test them. After all the culprits appear to be horizontal bed-rest, and poor sitting posture so it would be simple to intervene with a couple of blocks of wood placed under the head of a bed to allow the bodily fluids to run continually from head to toe. Or to raise ones bottom so that it is higher than ones knees while sitting. But at what angle should a bed be raised, in order to stimulate the nerve endings?
I have been working with an angle of no less then five degrees to the horizontal, which I arrived at by observing the circulation of fluids within a loop of water filled tubing which I placed across the whole length of the bed. It was found that when coloured saline solution was injected at the top or head end of the loop at this angle or more, it generated a circulation, which occurred in the whole loop of tubing. Any lower and no overall circulation occurred, Just a two tear flow in one side of the tube, which was undesirable.
Based on the nerve regeneration in fish and frog, which took around four months, a newly injured spinal cord should significantly improve within the same time-scale. However if the SCI has been damaged for several years the progress will inevitably be much slower. This appears to be the same for multiple sclerosis, based on my pilot study results.
The fact of the matter is that this simple intervention has been shown to reverse a substantial amount of neurological damage in complete spinal cord injuries and neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis.
A body of evidence in case histories from people with spinal cord injury, who have tested this theory is provided. https://inclinedbedtherapy.com/research/spinal-cord-injury
Vertical vs Horizontal
Standing upright and vertical has tremendous benefits for all of our vital functions. Even more so for a person with a spinal cord injury. And yet progressing from a horizontal bed to an upright posture presents it's own challenges for a person who has spent days, weeks and often months being immobilised and confined to a horizontal sleep position. Which is without doubt the major compounding factor in preventing recovery from spinal cord injury!
While a standing frame, a tilt table or a wheelchair that enables you to stand upright is without a doubt advantageous to recovering bone loss, restoring nerve function, bowel and bladder function. The time spent sitting in a chair or laying in a flat bed, or indeed a bed that raises only the upper torso and facilitates legs being flat or raised, which is not the same by any means as sleeping on an inclined bed, will inevitably undo the progress that is made by being achieved while vertical.
The following link will prove an interesting read for anyone who needs to know what can be accomplished by standing and using exercise to enhance it's effects.
CLINICAL GUIDELINE FOR STANDING ADULTS FOLLOWING SPINAL CORD INJURY Spinal Cord Injury Centre Physiotherapy Lead Clinicians United Kingdom and Ireland
We need more people with sci to help me to either prove or disprove my theory by joining this very important trial. If I am correct then you should experience some impressive changes. If I am wrong then you have lost nothing!
What have you got to lose?
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