Peter Wildetrotter, President and CEO of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, sent a letter to brainandspinalcord.org to show his appreciation and to share with our readers some of the recent breakthroughs in spinal cord injury and brain injury research. The Reeve Foundation funds projects dedicated to finding a cure for paralysis.
The letter brings up many important discoveries and advances, including a recent experiment on rats with severed spinal cords. The rats were able to walk again after a complex, three-part treatment. The rats had completely severed spinal cords. They were given a dose of the drug quipazine, electrical stimulation below the spinal cord injury site, and then locomotor training.
Surprisingly, the rats were able to walk on treadmills while fully supporting their own weight. Previous to this experiment, it was widely believed that movement was impossible below the site of severed spinal cord. Wildetrotter added that the physical movements of the rats was nearly identical to their walking motions before their spinal cord injury.
Even more importantly, the study proves that movement is still possible even when the line of communication between the brain and spinal cord is severed. In order to make such advanced studies possible, many forces must harmonize and collaborate with one another. New research often must confront dated and obsolete ways of thinking, and it is the determination and hard work of countless scientists, universities and medical facilities, public and private funding sources like the Reeve Foundation, and sites such as this one that are necessary to make the formerly impossible possible.
It is not only the scientists and foundations that make a difference, it is every individual who donates time, energy, and money toward paralysis research. Wildetrotter wrote of the recent paralysis breakthrough, ‘Every time you and other Reeve Foundation supporters donated your hard earned money, contacted your Congressperson or Senator to fund paralysis research, participated in a Team Reeve event, attended a comedy night or other event, you helped make this happen.’
He also expressed gratitude for the public and private support that make possible the Reeve Foundation’s International Research Consortium, as well as the NeuroRecovery network, where spinal cord injury survivors receive locomotor training.
Wildetrotter concluded his letter with a promise to continue the Reeve Foundation’s noble efforts toward a cure for paralysis and expressed enthusiasm that, ‘Science is fulfilling Christopher’s vision.’
You can donate to the cause by visiting the Reeve Foundation’s website:www.christopherreeve.org/