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Hormone Replacement Therapy and Natural Alternatives Dr …

Posted: September 5, 2017 at 9:40 pm


Sexual hormones have a pervasive effect on our mental, emotional and physical function.

They regulate sexual maturity and function as well as physical development, and they also act as neurotransmitters and can affect mood, mental and emotional processes.

Such common symptoms as depression, insomnia, and anxiety can be associated with sexual hormone levels.

Living in a Sea of Estrogen. Common Xenoestrogens; Factor in increased incidence of breast cancer:


Herbs with clinical, scientific, and historical use for hormone-regulation.

Useful for assisting the body to maintain proper hormone levels and function.

Table: The Benefits of the Use Of Vitex In Comparison to HRT

Table 1. Overview of Commonly-Recommended Hormonal Herbs

PMS Liver regulators, Hormone regulators, Antispasmodics, Pain-relieving herbs, Mood Regulators

Menopause Blood tonics, Liver regulators, Hormone tonics

Anemia Blood tonics, digestive bitters and digestive tonics to enhance assimilation

2000 Christopher Hobbs L.Ac., A.H.G

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Vaginal estrogen not tied to cancer or heart disease risks – Reuters

Posted: at 9:40 pm

(Reuters Health) – Using vaginally applied estrogen to ease menopause symptoms likely doesnt increase a womans risk of heart disease or certain cancers, a U.S. study suggests.

Many women have been reluctant to use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopause symptoms since 2002, when the federally funded Womens Health Initiative (WHI) study linked pills containing man-made versions of the female hormones estrogen and progestin to an increased risk for breast cancer, heart attacks and strokes. Some women have also been reluctant to use vaginally applied estrogens, which can ease symptoms like dryness and painful intercourse.

For the current study, researchers examined data on 45,663 women in the WHI study who didnt take HRT pills. After an average follow-up of more than six years, there wasnt a meaningful difference in the odds of cancer, stroke or blood clots based on whether or not women used vaginal estrogen.

The results of the study suggest that the use of vaginal estrogen may not actually carry the same health risks as the use of estrogen pills, said lead study author Dr. Carolyn Crandall of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

These results are reassuring, Crandall said by email.

Women go through menopause when they stop menstruating, typically between ages 45 and 55. As the ovaries curb production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone in the years leading up to menopause and afterward, women can experience symptoms ranging from irregular periods and vaginal dryness to mood swings and insomnia.

Study participants who used vaginal estrogen were less likely to be black or African-American, Hispanic, current smokers, diabetic or obese. They were also more likely to be white and college graduates with household income of more than $100,000 a year.

Compared with women who didnt use vaginal estrogen, women who did had a 48 percent lower risk of heart disease and 60 percent lower odds of hip fractures, researchers report in Menopause.

When researchers looked just at women who still had a uterus, the results looked even more favorable for vaginal estrogen users.

Among women who had not had their uterus removed, vaginal estrogen users were 61 percent less likely to have heart disease, and 60 percent less likely to have a hip fracture than women who didnt use vaginal estrogen.

The study wasnt a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how vaginal estrogen might influence the odds of heart disease, cancer or other health problems.

Another limitation of the study is that researchers lacked data on different types of vaginal estrogen, so they couldnt tell whether one form might be best for avoiding cancer or heart disease.

Even so, the findings should reassure women, said Dr. Michelle Warren, medical director of the Center for Menopause, Hormonal Disorders and Womens Health in New York City.

This shows that it is perfectly safe for any woman to take low-dose vaginal estrogen, Warren, who wasnt involved in the study, said by email.

Some women who have avoided vaginal estrogen because they thought it was just as risky as pills may now be able to get relief for previously untreated menopause symptoms, said Dr. Michael Thomas of the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center in Ohio.

A study like this allows women to safely use a form of estrogen that will help their (vaginal) symptoms, Thomas, who wasnt involved in the study, said by email. They can have intercourse without pain and feel safe they are not risking their life.

SOURCE: Menopause, online August 14, 2017.

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Harrison Browne talks retirement, his comeback, and advocacy – The Ice Garden (blog)

Posted: at 9:40 pm

For transgender athletes, deciding when to pursue a medical transition is deeply personal. Because medical transitioning involves changing sex hormones, athletic performance is almost immediately affected when treatment begins. Last March, Harrison Browne, the first transgender athlete to ever play professionally, announced his retirement from the NWHL in order to pursue testosterone therapy to bring his body into more alignment with his gender identity. Just recently Browne made a second announcement, letting his fans know that hed decided to come out of his brief retirement and would be back for at least one more season, signing a contract with the New York Riveters.

For Browne, it was not a decision that came easy. As the summer wore on, Browne didnt start the hormone therapy that would have made him ineligible to play under the NWHLs new transgender participation policy. In an interview for The Ice Garden, Browne explains that instead he found comfort in his usual training routine.

I felt like I had been doing it my whole life, so i just kept going in the gym and on the ice. I felt like I had more hockey to play, I still felt like my game was still good and I was happy with the way I was playing, Browne said.

Brownes thought process makes intuitive sense for any athlete. After all, who would willingly choose to walk away when their game still feels sharp?

Trans athletes, however, have other calculations to make in their careers. Because of the direct influence that testosterone has on athletic performance, pursuing a medical transition is especially disruptive to the careers of trans athletes. As a former closeted athlete myself who grew up in a time when trans people were not welcome on the field, I had to decide between the sports I loved and my gender.

The field or court was my only refuge from my dysphoria. When I was playing, there was just the ball, my opponents, and my teammates. I wasnt a boy or girl, I was just an athlete. When forced to choose between my gender and sports, I chose sports. That decision ended up costing me 20 years of living my authentic life.

Professional athletes tend to have a special relationship with their bodies, but for trans athletes, its a juxtaposition. The bodies that provide them with their passion for their sport, in some cases providing an education or even a living, also betray them in very fundamental, gendered ways. It can be a love-hate relationship between a trans athlete and their body.

And for Browne, his decision to come back was deeper than just how well his training was going.

I thought that the message that I could put out there, living your life authentically, would be more powerful as an active athlete, Browne said. I felt that I didnt really give enough time to let it blossom into what it could be, so I thought that I could come back and do even more good than I already have.

Hes confident in his decision and feels confident that he can keep his gender dysphoria at bay and be a productive player for the Riveters.

According to Browne, just being able to come out last season and have people use his correct name and pronouns were enough to alleviate a lot of his dysphoria. Having shed the closet, he was able to focus more on hockey and his LGBTQ advocacy while helping the Beauts win the Isobel Cup just five days after announcing his retirement.

Caitlyn Jenner had the chance to complete her playing career long before transitioning, but for many trans athletes today, transitioning means an end to their official playing days. Browne himself admits that having a go in mens hockey would be a tough sell, citing his size at 55.

At the same time Browne came out publicly last year, the NWHL introduced a new transgender participation policy.

The policy itself states that trans women (who were assigned male at birth), must have testosterone at the level of a cisgender female in order to be eligible, while trans men like Browne can compete given they havent started hormone replacement therapy with testosterone.

The NWHL partnered with the You Can Play project to develop their new policy, a move that Browne praised.

You Can Play did a really good job in helping the NWHL in language and how to approach it. They are experts and its good that the league brought them.

The policy itself mimics the current Olympic and NCAA trans inclusion policies in that it has very clear and fair standards for athletes to meet. More importantly, however, the policy and the warm welcome that Browne received for coming out last year both work to ensure that even fewer trans athletes will have to make the difficult decision between living their authentic selves and their athletic careers.

While Browne has received overwhelming support from his teammates, fans, and the league, its hard to say how people would react to a trans woman who wants to play womens professional hockey. Very few trans women have ever pursued professional athletics before, and the public ridicule faced by the likes of Fallon Fox and Renee Richards would be a difficult obstacle to overcome for any trans woman thinking about dipping her toe in the waters of pro womens sports. Browne, however, says theres a lot of ignorance surrounding the science of hormones and athletics and hopes that the leagues fans would welcome a trans woman with open arms.

People are really ignorant to what being transgender means and obviously Im still in a female body and havent undergone hormone therapy but I still see people who think I have and I get criticized for that, Browne said. People wouldnt understand the androgen (testosterone) blockers that trans women take. They dont understand that theres no advantage when you have [blockers] in your body.

A medical transition would mean the end of Brownes playing career, so finding that right balance between making his body right finally at 24 and the game he loves is key.

Its tough. Its a really big crossroad that people dont have to deal with and people dont really understand what that means, Browne said. Its fine when Im at the rink, its fine when Im talking with people that know my story who know what to call me but its difficult when I go out in public life and people dont really know how to address me. I enjoy hockey and I love helping people and reaching out to people. I can deal with that a little bit longer in the public eye.

So with his medical transition on the backburner, it feels like the start of just another season for Browne, whos looking forward to being in a new environment and meeting his new teammates and seeing how they all click. For now though, Browne is just ready to get back out and play hockey again, and maybe thats the most important thing, in the end.

Its so rare to have a positive public example of a trans athlete who we can look up to and learn from, but Browne definitely fits the bill. My mind goes back to my own adolescence, growing up thinking I was all alone as a trans athlete, dreading the day Id have to choose between my passion for sports and being true to my own self. All of those sleepless nights add up. What I would have given for a role model to show me that the life I dreamt about was even possible.

At the end of the day, thats going to be the real impact of Harrison Brownes legacy.

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Dealing with eczema – Metro

Posted: September 4, 2017 at 7:44 pm

(Picture: Getty)

I hear stop scratching at least once a day.

For someone with eczema its one of the most annoying things. Do you not think Id stop if I could? Im certainly not itching because its fun.

According to the National Eczema Society, however,one in twelve adults have eczema, which is no small figure for something so misunderstood.

Put in the most simple terms, people with eczema produce less fat and oil in their skin. This means they have less of a barrier against bacteria and infection, and skin can become cracked and inflamed. Everyone experiences this differently, with some having red patches, some getting itchy, and some getting weeping or bleeding sores (or a mixture of those).

While eczema cant be cured it can be managed, and finding the right combination of treatments means you wont feel like a flaky, sore mess.

These are every eczema suffers best friend, and act an as everyday moisturiser to help reduce moisture loss from the skin. My weapon of choice is Doublebase Gel, which comes in huuuuge pump bottles and I douse my whole body in up to three times a day.

Ive devised a handy system for applying mine, but it sounds ridiculous to anyone that doesnt require efficient post-shower moisturising. Each part of my body gets a different pump dosage: Four for each arm, two for each calf, etc. Its important to find a way that works for you so that you keep up with your regimen, as the drier your skin gets, the more likely it is to get infected.

You can be prescribed emollients, or use readily available options like E45, Cetraben, or Eucerin. Steer clear of using aqueous cream for this purpose, however, as they contain sodium lauryl sulphate which can do more harm than good.

For more severe eczema, your GP might prescribe you a steroid cream or ointment. One of the milder versions you may recognise hydrocortisone which is safe for use on children and on the face. Depending on the severity of your condition and where youre affected, there are different strengths. Some also come with anti-microbial ingredients if your skin is already infected.

As someone whos been on some pretty harsh creams (holla at my Dermovate gang), I cant stress enough the importance of following doctors instructions. Some of these can thin the skin, so they should only be used during a flare-up in the way youve been told to use them.

Similarly, if youre discontinuing use, speak to your pharmacist or GP, as in some cases you can experience a steroid flare-up which is super painful.

All your hard work can be undone in this stage, so you have to be very careful with what you use to wash.

Most shower gels have some form of surfactant/sulphate, which is what takes the dirt off your body in a foam to wash it away. There are plenty of variants of these, with some being more irritating than others. If you can find a low sulphate gel, or one that has no SLS, itll probably be a lot gentler.

In any good chemist youll be able to find loads of options like Oilatum, that keep you clean without stripping natural oils.

Some people find that avoiding certain things helps them avoid flare-ups. Very cold or hot weather can have an effect, as can they type of clothes you wear and the laundry detergent you use. Try to stick to cotton clothing where possible, and use a non-bio washing detergent specifically for sensitive skin.

Keep a diary of eczema triggers, which could be pets or cleaning products, and do what you can to stay away from them.

On top of your skin regime, many people have started changing their diet to improve their skin. Replacing dairy with hemp milk has been recommended online, and so has avoiding gluten.

Essentially, its such an individual skin condition that theres never going to be a one-size fits all solution. The main thing is to keep your skin as hydrated as possible (even if that means waking up earlier in the morning) and trying different things until you find something that works for you.

And for you non-eczema sufferers: Stop telling us to stop itching!

MORE: Mother praises miracle 3.99 cream which cured daughters painful eczema within a week

MORE: Fitness blogger shares photo of the reality of having eczema

MORE: 17 things people with eczema are tired of hearing

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$7m payout for brain damage – The West Australian

Posted: at 7:44 pm

A father who was left severely brain damaged after Royal Perth Hospital doctors failed to act in a timely way to diagnose and treat his bacterial meningitis has been awarded more than $7million in damages.

In a judgment handed down in the District Court last week, Judge Patrick ONeal ruled Peter Panagoulias was entitled to the multimillion-dollar payout after finding failures by hospital staff left him with disabilities that are properly described as tragic.

Mr Panagoulias was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2005 and, while it was benign, he had surgery in 2006 to have it removed.

According to the judgment, the first surgery, at Mount Hospital, was unsuccessful in removing the entire tumour and Mr Panagoulias went under the knife again in September 2007.

During that procedure, neurosurgeon Emil Popovic nicked Mr Panagoulias carotid artery, causing a major bleed, and the surgery was abandoned.

The bleed was treated, but over the next three weeks Mr Panagoulias, then 40, complained of headaches and a constant discharge from his nose.

On October 6, he presented to the RPH emergency department with a severe headache.

Despite doctors suspecting he may have had bacterial meningitis, Mr Panagoulias was not given antibiotics until 7 hours later.

By then, he had suffered an irreversible brain injury.

Mr Panagoulias now requires supportive care for the rest of his life and lives in a nursing home interstate.

At a trial in March, lawyers for his wife Fiona accused RPH doctors of failing to exercise proper care in diagnosing and treating the infection.

Judge ONeal ruled in the couples favour, finding RPH staff breached the duty owed to the plaintiff by failing to act in a timely way to diagnose and treat the bacterial meningitis.

I find that it should have been apparent to any reasonably competent medical practitioner, given the plaintiffs history and presentation … that there was a high probability that he was facing a serious medical emergency and that harm would occur if care were not taken in his treatment, he said.

Judge ONeal awarded Mr Panagoulias more than $4.5 million in damages for his future needs and $425,000 in general damages for pain, suffering and the loss of amenities of life.

He also awarded more than $2 million in special damages and took account of his future earnings as an accountant.

The breach of duty by the staff … transcended mere negligence, the judgment said.

Mrs Panagoulias also tried to sue Dr Popovic, who died in 2011, alleging he failed to advise his patient to seek emergency treatment for what turned out to be a symptom of meningitis.

However, Judge ONeal dismissed the claim.

Lawyer Karen Jarman, speaking on behalf of Mrs Panagoulias yesterday, said that the case was never about finances but a pursuit to ensure that hospitals are answerable for their errors.

For Mrs Panagoulias, this fight is about ensuring that no family has to endure the tragic outcome that they will continue to live through, Ms Jarman said.

An East Metropolitan Health Service spokeswoman said: Given the complexity of the case, the judgment is currently being reviewed … and therefore it is inappropriate to comment.

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Veterans Court ‘saved my life’ – Monroe Evening News

Posted: at 7:44 pm

One man’s story

Fed up with the unrelenting pain and feeling despondent about his life, Gerald Duvall stuck the loaded gun into his mouth and pulled the trigger.The arthritis in his knees and feet, the herniated disc in his back and the effects of a brain injury had become overwhelming. After serving 10 years in the Army that included five deployments to the Middle East, Duvall came back home to Monroe and battled feelings of worthlessness and depression. And he drank.But the alcohol mixing with the 20-some prescription pills he ingested daily led to blackouts that were confusing and frightening. And when he did pull that trigger, the gun simply clicked. It was a misfire. And it was also a sign.I said to myself: What am I doing? Duvall recalled. It meant that I needed to be here.During one of his blackouts, he drove and was pulled over. Arrested for drunken driving, Duvall could have become another statistic, another defendant in the criminal justice system. Instead, he entered Veterans Treatment Court. And after a year of counseling, treatment and supervision Duvall is now much more content and has remained sober for the past six months.They really do care, Duvall said. They treat you like a human being. It probably saved my life.Duvall, 37, said he was worried at first about sharing his story publicly but decided that by doing so, he might make a difference in another veterans life. He said he knows there are others out there like him who had to battle substance abuse, despondency and feelings of worthlessness that accompany many servicemen and women who return from the war and find themselves in transition to civilian life without direction, order or even reasons for living. He fought all those demons before receiving the help he needed.You start feeling worthless, he said. The anger was probably the worst.As a member of the 82nd Airborne, Duvall made 67 jumps during his decade in the Army. All those landings from the jumps damaged his back and injured his feet and knees. He said he lost three inches from his height.Every year from 2002 to 2010 was spent in Iraq or Afghanistan. And while he didnt see much combat, the nearby explosions were ever present and threatening. Back home, he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).But the booze mixing with the pills led to serious problems, such as the blackouts where he couldnt remember arguments or even fights.I definitely had drinking issues, he said.After his arrest in 2016, Duvall entered the Veterans Court program and began intense therapy that involved four trips a week to the VA hospital in Ann Arbor. He said those involved with the program are veterans so they could relate to his issues. He understood that he needed help and realized that he either must complete the program or be sent to jail.He had a relapse while in the program that involved alcohol, anger and guns. Again, it was a wakeup call and hes remained on course ever since. Duvall completed the requirements and after a year he graduated from the program. Now he wants to become a mentor and join the countys Veterans Court to help others.Im all about helping veterans, Duvall said. Im definitely a success story.These days Duvall and his wife of six years, Melissa (theyve been together 12 years), are hoping to close on a house in Jackson where the couple and their four children can live hopefully in peace. He said he is happy and focuses on being a better husband and father.He is confident he will remain sober and stay out of trouble. He says hes doing well and is ready to move forward while enjoying life, something he believes might not have been possible without Veterans Court. His legal issues also have been resolved.If I didnt go through Veterans Court I would be in prison or dead by now, Duvall said. And I do know I have friends if I need to talk.

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FSU Researcher Studying Ways To Treat Spinal Cord Injuries At Cellular Levels – Los Alamos Daily Post

Posted: at 7:43 pm

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Supported by a new $800,000 National Science Foundation grant, Florida State University College of Medicine Professor Yi Ren is studying the immune response to spinal cord injuries and how cellular functions contribute to paralysis and organ dysfunction.

While instant paralysis is an obvious point of fear in spinal cord injuries, a great deal of the damage actually takes place after the initial trauma.

Most of the research being done by scientists who focus on spinal cord injuries is about trying to prevent the secondary injury from happening, said Ren, a biomedical scientist and immunologist.

During a severe spinal cord injury, the myelin sheath that protects nerves and axons the central nervous systems primary transmission lines shatters into tiny pieces. As part of the bodys immune response to such an injury, damaged tissue in the area is filled with macrophages, white blood cells that ingest foreign material.

The macrophages job is to act as scavengers and clear myelin debris from the injury site to promote regeneration. Macrophages remain in the injured area for months or even years, which is not necessarily a good thing.

By absorbing debris, macrophages help to prevent inflammation and stimulate tissue healing. However, once the debris is consumed, the macrophages convert from healing cells to harmful killer cells, destroying axons and amplifying inflammation at the injury site.

Rens four-year study funded by the NSF grant aims to better understand the underlying mechanisms in this process.

After eating the myelin debris, the killer macrophages secrete a lot of inflammatory substances and molecules that participate in tissue damage, Ren said. We think this is one of the reasons for secondary injury, so now wed like to target it. We want to study the myelin-laden macrophages molecular pattern and find out what roles they play in the pathological process in a spinal cord injury.

The work will produce an extraordinary amount of data that Ren and her collaborators will use to develop a new statistical method of analysis. She hopes the acquired data will allow her team to find cellular and molecular clues to target local and systemic inflammation that can result from spinal cord injuries.

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FSU Researcher Studying Ways To Treat Spinal Cord Injuries At Cellular Levels – Los Alamos Daily Post

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InVivo slashes staff and ousts science chief – Boston Business Journal – Boston Business Journal

Posted: at 7:43 pm

Boston Business Journal
InVivo slashes staff and ousts science chief – Boston Business Journal
Boston Business Journal
The restructuring follows a setback in the Cambridge biotech's effort to win approval for a spinal cord injury treatment.

and more »

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Stem Cell Treatment for Cerebral Palsy – Beike Biotechnology

Posted: at 7:41 pm


Acupuncture is a technique in which practitioners stimulate specific points on the body – most often by inserting thin needles through the skin. It is one of the most effective practices used in traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture stimulates nerve fibers to transmit signals to the spinal cord and brain, activating the bodys central nervous system. The spinal cord and brain then release hormones responsible for making us feel less pain while improving overall health. Acupuncture may also: increase blood circulation and body temperature, affect white blood cell activity (responsible for our immune function), reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and regulate blood sugar levels.


Aquatic Physical Therapy is the practice of physical therapy in a specifically designed water pool with a therapist. The unique properties of the aquatic environment enhance interventions for patients with neurological or musculoskeletal conditions. Aquatic therapy includes a wide range of techniques allowing patients to improve their balance, muscle strength and body mechanics. Aquatic therapy works to enhance the rehabilitation process and support effectiveness of stem cell treatment.

Epidural Stimulation

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is the medical use of oxygen at a level higher than atmospheric pressure. The equipment required consists of pressure chamber, which may be of rigid or flexible construction, and a means of delivering 100% oxygen into the respiratory system. Published research shows that HBOT increases the lifespan of stem cells after injection and provides an oxygen-rich atmosphere for the body to function at optimum levels.

Nerve Growth Factor (NGF)

Nerve growth factor (NGF) is a member of the neurotrophic factor (neurotrophin, NTFS) family, which can prevent the death of nerve cells and has many features of typical neurotransmitter molecules. NGF plays an important role in the development and growth of nerve cells. NGF is synthesized and secreted by tissues (corneal epithelial, endothelial, and corneal stromal cells), and it can be up-taken by sympathetic or sensory nerve endings and then transported to be stored in neuronal cell bodies where it can promote the growth and differentiation of nerve cells.NGF can exert neurotrophic effects on injured nerves and promote neurogenesis (the process of generating neurons from stem cells) that is closely related to the development and functional maintenance and repair of the central nervous system. It is also capable of promoting the regeneration of injured neurons in the peripheral nervous system, improving the pathology of neurons and protecting the nerves against hypoxia (lack of oxygen)/ischemia (lack of blood supply).

Nutrition Therapy

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy interventions focus on adapting the environment, modifying the task and teaching the skill, in order to increase participation in and performance of daily activities, particularly those that are meaningful to the patient with physical, mental, or cognitive disorders. Our Occupational Therapists also focus much of their work on identifying and eliminating environmental barriers to independence and participation in daily activities, similar to everyday life.


Physical therapy or physiotherapy (often abbreviated to PT) is a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialty that, by using mechanical force and movements, remediates impairments and promotes mobility, function, and quality of life through examination, diagnosis, prognosis, and physical intervention. We combine our PT with stem cells for maximum physical rehabilitation improvements.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Research has shown that TMS can effectively treat symptoms of depression, anxiety, neurological pain, stroke, spinal cord injuries, autism and more. This procedure is very simple and noninvasive. During the procedure, a magnetic field generator or coil is placed near the head of the person receiving the treatment. The coil produces small electrical currents in the region of the brain just under the coil via electromagnetic induction. This electrical field causes a change in the transmembrane current of the neuron which leads to depolarization or hyperpolarization of the neuron and the firing of an action potential.

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Family hope to raise 160k for groundbreaking stem cell treatment for daughter, Ivy, who suffers from cerebral palsy – Scottish Daily Record

Posted: at 7:41 pm

Little Ivy Rose has a smile that lights up a room but unless her parents raise enough money for groundbreaking treatment she will have to use a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

The three-year-old faces a life of isolation because her cerebral palsy means she can do very little for herself. But she is a delightfully engaging child who shows courage beyond her years.

Stephen and Sky Summers, from Shotts, Lanarkshire, were devastated when their little girl was born prematurely with medical difficulties.

Ivy was born just a year after the couples twins, Xander and Sandy died after being born too prematurely.

Sky, 36, said: They died in my arms. One was just under an hour, the other just over an hour.

When Ivy also arrived early her parents feared she would die too.

Now they are determined to do everything within their power to ensure she gets the very best chance to live as normal a life as possible.

Sky said: When Ivy arrived, she was whisked off to ICU. I didnt even get to touch her. We didnt think there were going to be big problems at first. She came out crying and gurgling.

Initially, Ivy was tube fed and it was three weeks before she could have milk from a bottle. Her problems didnt become completely apparent until Ivy came home at five weeks.

Sky said: We brought Ivy home and within the first 24-48 hours, she had what we call her first episode.

She stopped breathing. She was sleeping in the carrycot next to our bed. I fed her, put her into carrycot, turned round and heard a commotion.

Her arms were shaking and she was very distressed. She couldnt breathe. I picked her up put her across my knee, patting her back but I couldnt get her to start breathing. She started turning blue.

It was a terrifying moment. I started to very gently breathe into her mouth and she came round and started breathing again.

That was the beginning of many episodes over the next eight months. It was a very traumatic time where we just tried to keep her alive.

It transpired the tot had acid reflux and the pain and shock of the acid was enough to stop her breathing.

As she grew, her condition improved but Ivy has never been able to eat anything other than mushy food because of her cerebral palsy.

She is a happy, bright little girl but her mum is not prepared to accept there is no hope of any improvement.

Sky said: Ivy sees NHS specialists but they are only interested in managing her condition, not in curing or rehabilitating it.

When the cerebral palsy diagnosis came through around her second birthday, Sky said: I felt hopeless.

I remember very specifically being told the likely scenario was Ivy would never be able to walk unaided but she would maybe be able to manage around the house, holding on to furniture. She would most likely be in a wheelchair. The best hope is for Ivy to start any therapies as soon as possible because once she is seven her ability to be improve her mobility will diminish.

A connection through family led to meeting Dr Joanne Kurtzberg, who is awaiting approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for stem cell treatment with donor cells on cerebral palsy patients. Kurtzberg has agreed to accept Ivy on to the trial if she meets the criteria.

Ivy also has the opportunity to have treatment from specialists RehabMart including sensory therapies involving work with horses, special suits and trapezes among others.

While some of the therapies will be free, many others are expensive.

The family will have to live in the US for six months to give Ivy her best chance of improvement but it will cost 162,000 which they are hoping to crowdfund.

Sky said: It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Ivy. I am so blessed she is so happy, so affectionate, intelligent and funny but she is excluded from everywhere in life.

Exclusion is a horrendous part for a child with cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy is the name for a group of lifelong conditions which affect movement and co-ordination, caused by a problem with the brain which occurs before, during or soon after birth.

The symptoms arent usually obvious just after a baby is born. They become noticeable during the first two or three years. It affects each person differently but the condition may limit a childs activities and independence.

The problem with the brain doesnt worsen but the condition can put a lot of strain on the body.

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Family hope to raise 160k for groundbreaking stem cell treatment for daughter, Ivy, who suffers from cerebral palsy – Scottish Daily Record

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