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Monday, February 24, 2014

Transverse Myelitis and Stem Cell Therapy (3)

For those of us with Transverse Myelitis, we are eager to know whether Stem Cell Therapy may make a difference to our recovery, and whether there may be problems as part of the treatment. I tracked down Neil Burton's blog (from the UK (see Transverse Myelitis and Stem Cell Therapy (2)) to see whether he had posted an update since the 23rd January 2014. No luck, so I left a message to enquire how things are going. I guess we don't know whether no news is good news or not.  :-(  (

The discussions certainly continue. A post by Dr. Michael Levy, a member of the Medical and Scientific Council of the TMA, and an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Johns Hopkins University ( on 14th February 2014, was very technical, and did not answer the question: "Are we ready?"
There is a great Youtube video you can watch of a lecture by Dr. Levy ( Very clear. Very cautious. Essentially the message I get is that we should wait for sufficient suitable trials, before we all rush to the clinics, and spend enormous amounts of money.

Conversely, another site: "Stem Cell Regen Med" ( has clinics in Florida and Peru, and their front page seems to be very upbeat, as though the research is already completed, and overwhelmingly positive:

"Transverse myeltis is a condition that results in the inflammation of the myelin sheath of the spinal cord. The area targeted goes across the width of the spinal cord at a certain level of the spinal cord. The problem occurs after vaccines (DPT, Influenza, viral infections, post radiation treatments, etc.). The underlying problem is that certain elements of the patient’s own immune system cause inflammation and sometimes destruction of the myelin.
Symptoms include pain in the arms, legs, back and neck, numbness, paresthesias, numbness below the affected area of the spinal cord, weakness of the arms and legs, muscle spasms, and/or headache. Tests may include lumbar spinal tap, functional MRI, or NMO-IgG test.
Many patients will clear up uneventfully after the acute phase, while others may have relapses. Some patients may go into a chronic phase with partial or total paralysis of the upper and lower extremities, spasticity, osteoporosis, and/or sexual dysfunction.
Treatment initially should include intravenous cortisone. If symptoms continue, plasma exchange therapy (apheresis) is considered. If the condition does not improve, StemCellRegenMed recommends stem cell therapy treatment.
Treatment by StemCellRegenMed consists of the following:
  1. -> Autologous stem cells. The patient is given an injection of G-CSF once daily for three days. Peripheral blood or a bone marrow aspirate is withdrawn and in the laboratory, autologous stem cells are extracted and administered to the patient.
  2. -> Following the above administration, the patient is given via spinal canal administration at the level of disease, neuron stem cells mixed with neurotrophins, nerve cell factor, neuropeptide protein, and glial derived neurotrophins oligodendrocytes. In addition, the following may be given: riluzole that targets sodium dysregulation in the affected spinal cord, minocycline that targets apoptosis, and neuroinflammation.
  3. -> Targeting immune factors include anti-IL-6, anti-TNF, IL-17 and IL-1beta which attack the myelin in this condition.
  4. -> Targeting axonal inhibitors such as Rho with Cethrin and ATI-355 against Nogo.
  5. -> Electric field stimulation."

There is further work going on in India at a group called Neurogen ( Again some of the work seems promising, and there is a video you can watch on Youtube (

I guess all of that comes at a price.

There may well be research evidence that this approach works, but I have yet to find it. Some of the new work I have found is not necessarily positive. (

There seem to be so many factors involved: the spinal level of TM, the age and fitness of subjects, the type of stem cells, the method of providing stem cells. It is hard to get your head around the detail.

Current Status: Sadly, I think we have to watch and wait. Be cautious. Beware of snake oil.
Keep watching the Transverse Myelitis Association site for updates. I will keep reporting progress as and when I can

Conflict of Interest: Yes, I do have conflict of interest. I have had T7 level Transverse Myelitis for the past 4 years, and reached a plateau last year. My function is slowly deteriorating, and I am feverishly looking for things I can do to stop that.

Monday Free Download: Considerations On Research in Family Therapy: An Interview with Rudolf Moos.

Professor Rudolf Moos was Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, California, USA, from 1972, and throughout his career has been a prolific researcher in a number of domains, most recently drug and alcohol abuse and recovery. He is now Emeritus. At the time of this interview in 1985, he was best known for the Family Environment Scale, an instrument providing a rich psycho-sociocultural measure of family functioning.

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Download here: Considerations on Research in Family Therapy An Interview with Rudolf Moos

Martin, G., 1986. Considerations On Research in Family Therapy: An Interview with Rudolf Moos. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, Vol 7, No. 2.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Haiku on Nice/ Harsh/ Attempt/ Winter


A nice little girl
Sits listening to grandma
Smile hides evil thoughts

Sitting quietly
it's nice being here with you
Minds, bodies, in tune

We drove down through Nice
On our way to St. Tropez
Great little Vespa

Not nice News tonight
The body count seemed endless
Totally bereft


For a woman, Gaia...
You birthed harsh environment...
Test of man, I guess...

Last dregs of coffee
A harsh over-roasted taste
But I paid for it

All I did was spit
Dark faced father's harsh dictate
"Go to your bedroom!"


Attempt seventy
OK, nearly achieved that
Let's try for eighty

A meditation
Letting thoughts, and old griefs, fade
Attempt peace of mind

Quite dry conditions
Attempt to water garden
Then it poured with rain


A scent from my past
Old aromatic cure all
Oil of Wintergreen

Albino features
Winter-white hair and pale skin
Strangely pink eyes

Only hurt you once
I have never forgotten
Your winter-cold look
(From 'Sensual Haiku' the book )

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Haiku on Zesty/ Sigh/ Join


Lemon meringue pie
Zesty middle; mouth waters
My favourite food

Three year olds at play
On the run from here to there
Zesty little things

New ginger grater
Zesty toppings on dishes
Tastebuds on alert


Practicing his sigh
Oh dear, oh John, oh bother
Sounds just like his Mum

Light breeze playing games
Gentle sighs through Silky Oaks
Down on the foreshore

Wave of ecstasy
Rose within to heights unknown
Tide ebbing; she sighed


They joined together
Then she joined the club, pregnant
He joined the army

Join me in the dance
Move together to music
Till the band goes home

Everybody smiles
Not at the toupee he wears
Just they see the join

I would never join
Any club that would have me
As a club member
(Apols to Grouch Marx)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Haiku on Conscious/ Admit/ Mysterious


Responds to my needs
Is the Internet conscious?
An eerie presence

I'm barely conscious
Listening to your breathing
Rhythm of my life

They grow, live, and fall
Trees are not responsible
But are they conscious?


Admitted to bar
Excelled at legal studies
Now time for a drink

Admit to success
Lowly beginnings, worked hard
Seem to have made it

New Year admitted
A loud fanfare of trumpets
Then the same old thing


Deep in the green wood
Mysterious toadstool ring
Must be the faeries

Damp winter weather
Mysterious illness strikes
Evolving virus

A mess by the bins
Mysterious nightly sounds
Those possums again

Monday Free Download: Mental Health and Work-Issues and Perspectives

This book was commissioned in 2001/2 by Auseinet, developed in collaboration with VicHealth (the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation), and funded by the Commonwealth through its Mental Health Branch. It sought to address the significant issue of work and mental health, significant issue from a variety of perspectives. Identity, meaning and participation are critical social and emotional dimensions of work. It has meaning for all individuals in society. As a consequence, work directly impacts on whole of community emotional and social wellbeing.
Morrow, L., Verins, I. and Willis, E. (2002). Mental Health and Work: Issues and Perspectives. Adelaide, Auseinet: The Australian Network for Promotion, Prevention and Early Intervention for Mental Health.

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Download here: mental_health_work.pdf (1.9Mb)

Chapters include:
Mental health: overemployment, underemployment, unemployment and healthy jobs (Maureen F. Dollard and Anthony H. Winefield)
Dear Director (Peter Waterhouse)
Section II: Work and Identity
Normalising workplace change through contemporary career discourse (Suzette Dyer and Maria Humphries)
Mental health promotion and work: Rumbalara community’s roundtable discussion 2002 (Rosemary Hoban)
Working women’s health (Thea O’Connor)
Working for Ages: active strategies for a productive workforce project (Bernadette Fallon)
Youth employment, psychosocial health and the importance of person/environment fit: a case study of two Scottish rural towns (Stephen Pavis, Stephen Platt and Gill Hubbard)
Working towards retirement: promoting positive mental health among men in pre-retirement years (Troy Speirs and Martyn Wilson)
Challenges for women combining caring work with employment (Alison Rosser)
Section III: Work and Safety
Mental health and workplace bullying: the role of power, professions and ‘on the job’ training (Lyn Turney)
The impact of workplace violence on third party victims: a mental health perspective (Charmaine Hockley)
Together we do better: marketing meets mental health promotion and work (Melissa Corkum)
Consumer perspective employment in the psychiatric service system: a Victorian view on safety issues (Cath Roper)
Section IV: Work and Emotions
Blue Roses of Collingwood (Peter Waterhouse)
Job-related affective wellbeing and intrinsic job satisfaction related to managers’ performance (Peter Hosie, Nick Forster and Peter Sevastos)
Community care: creating efficiencies and raising concerns (Sue Stack)
Regulation of emotions in the helping professions: nature, antecedents and consequences (Vanda Lucia Zammuner, Lorella Lotto and Cristina Galli)
Work  in the trenches: fear and anxiety in the workplace – an exploration (Monica Leon)
Section V: Work: People, Places and Processes
The Press Operator (Peter Waterhouse)
Using the Internet to empower individuals and organisations to combat workplace stress (John Shephard)
beyondblue – The National Depression Initiative: preventing depression in the workplace (Karen Field, Nicole Highet and Elly Robinson)
More than a hairdresser (Trevor Waring)
Mentally healthy workplaces – a living toolkit (Stephen McKernon, Ruth Allen and Elisabeth Money)
Promoting mental health in nurses through clinical supervision (Daniel Nicholls and Bee Mitchell-Dawson)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Monday Free Download: Youth Suicide Issues in General Practice

In this survey of over 6000 young Australians, evidence suggests that there are fundamental mental health factors that all GPs should explore with young people to assess the risk of self harm. These include feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness, the pattern and type of drug use, a history of sexual abuse, concerns about sexuality and sexual identity.
Slightly elderly paper not a very good pdf copy.... but readable.

Go to
Click Resources Tab
Download here: Youth-suicide-issues-in-general-practice-2001.pdf

Beckinsale, P., Martin, G. & Clark, S., 2001. Youth Suicide Issues in General Practice. Australian Family Physician, 30: 4, 391-394.

Valentine's Day gift for a discerning lover


These are the Haiku of love - sometimes soft and gentle, sometimes suggestive and raw. They are written to a soulmate - sometimes memories and at other times fantasies (You and your friend can decide which...).
Over 100 haiku of 17 syllables (5-7-5), written over 4 years. The book is in four connected parts - Winter to Spring to Summer to Autumn - tracing the stages of loving, but also reflecting the passages of life.

Haiku on Excellent/ Assorted/ Friction


An excellent rout
English cricket dies of shame
a whitewash

An old school report
"Excellent student at times"
"Makes silly mistakes"

Ordinary day
Monday with nothing to do
An excellent start


United Nations
Assorted mix of factions
Terror still rules

Box under the stairs
Assorted mix of old toys
Childhood memories

Riot of colour
Assorted mix of flowers
It is Nature's way


Sitting at his desk
Hour after hour, days on end
Pants shined by friction

Rubbing eases pain
Warmth created by friction
Fools pain receptors

Friction motor car
Released at younger brother
Squeals mark direct hit