Re: [GRG] hypoxia – new treatment for spine injuries – American Academy of Neurology

Contact: Rachel Seroka
American Academy of Neurology

Researchers discover promising new treatment to help people with
spine injuries walk better

MINNEAPOLIS – Scientists may have found a new treatment that can
help people with spinal cord injuries walk better. The research is
published in the November 27, 2013, online issue of Neurology®, the
medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“About 59 percent of all spinal injuries are incomplete, leaving
pathways that could allow the spinal cord to change in a way that
allows people to walk again. Unfortunately, usually a person
affected by this type of spinal injury seldom recovers the ability
to walk normally,” said study author Randy D. Trumbower, PT, PhD,
with Emory University in Atlanta. “Our research proposes a
promising new way for the spinal cord to make the connections
needed to walk better.”

The research involved 19 people with spine injuries between levels
C2 and T12, no joint shortening, some controlled ankle, knee, and
hip movements, and the ability to walk at least one step without
human assistance. Research team members were based at Emory
University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Shepherd Center in
Atlanta, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and the University
of Wisconsin, Madison.

The participants were exposed to short periods of breathing low
oxygen levels, which is called hypoxia. The participants breathed
through a mask for about 40 minutes a day for five days, receiving
90-second periods of low oxygen levels followed by 60 seconds of
normal oxygen levels. The participants’ walking speed and endurance
was tested before the study started, on the first and fifth days of
treatment, and again one and two weeks after the treatment ended.

The participants were divided into two groups. In one, nine people
received either the treatment or a sham treatment where they
received only normal oxygen levels. Then two weeks later they
received the other treatment. In the other group, the participants
received the treatment or sham treatment and then were asked to
walk as fast as they could for 30 minutes within one hour of the
treatment, then received the other treatment two weeks later.

Those who received just the hypoxia treatment increased their
walking speed on a test of walking 10 meters, walking an average of
3.8 seconds faster than when they did not receive the treatment.

Those who had the treatment plus walking increased their endurance
on a test of how far they could walk in six minutes by an average
of 100 meters, which was more than a 250-percent increase compared
to those who had the sham treatment plus walking.

All participants improved their ability to walk. More than 30
percent of all participants increased their walking speed by at
least a tenth of a meter per second and more than 70 percent
increased their endurance by at least 50 meters.

“One question this research brings to light is how a treatment that
requires people to take in low levels of oxygen can help movement,
let alone in those with compromised lung function and motor
abilities,” said Michael G. Fehlings, MD, PhD, with the University
of Toronto in Canada, who wrote a corresponding editorial on the
study. “A possible answer is that spinal serotonin, a
neurotransmitter, sets off a cascade of changes in proteins that
help restore connections in the spine.”

Trumbower cautions that chronic or sustained hypoxia in untrained
hands may cause serious injury and should not be attempted outside
the scope of a supervised medical treatment.


The study was supported by the U.S. Department of Defense Spinal
Cord Injury Research Program.

To learn more about spinal cord injury, please visit

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than
26,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to
promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A
neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing,
treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system
such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis,
brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and

Media Contacts:
Rachel Seroka,, (612) 928-6129
Michelle Uher,, (612) 928-6120

About Johnny Adams

My full-time commitment is to slow and ultimately reverse biological aging and age related decline for more years of healthy living. I’ve been active in this area since the 1970s, steadily building skills and accomplishments. I have a good basic understanding of the science of aging, and have many skills that complement those of scientists so they can focus on science to advance our shared mission. Broad experience Top skills: administration, management, information technology (data and programming), communications, writing, marketing, market research and analysis, public speaking, forging ethical win-win outcomes among stakeholders (i.e. high level "selling"). Knowledge in grant writing, fundraising, finance. Like most skilled professionals, I’m best described as a guy who defines an end point, then figures out how to get there. I enjoy the conception, design, execution and successful completion of a grand plan. Executive Director Gerontology Research Group (GRG). Manages Email discussion forum, web site, meetings and oversees supercentenarian (oldest humans, 110+ years) research. CEO / Executive Director Aging Intervention Foundation (dba for Carl I. Bourhenne Medical Research Foundation), an IRS approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Early contributor to Supercentenarian Research Foundation. Co-Founder Geroscience Healthspan Forum. Active contributor to numerous initiatives to increase healthy years of life. Co-authored book on conventional, practical methods available today to slow the processes of aging – nutrition, exercise, behavior modification and motivation, stress reduction, proper supplementation, damage caused by improper programs, risk reduction and others. Fundamental understanding of, and experience in the genomics of longevity (internship analyzing and curating longevity gene papers). Biological and technical includes information technology, software development and computer programming, bioinformatics and protein informatics, online education, training programs, regulatory, clinical trials software, medical devices (CAT scanners and related), hospital electrical equipment testing program. Interpersonal skills – good communication, honest, well liked, works well in teams or alone. Real world experience collaborating in interdisciplinary teams in fast paced organizations. Uses technology to advance our shared mission. Education: MBA 1985 University of Southern California -- Deans List, Albert Quon Community Service Award (for volunteering with the American Longevity Association and helping an elderly lady every other week), George S. May Scholarship, CA State Fellowship. BA psychology, psychobiology emphasis 1983 California State University Fullerton Physiological courses as well as core courses (developmental, abnormal etc). UCLA Psychobiology 1978, one brief but fast moving and fulfilling quarter. Main interest was the electrochemical basis of consciousness. Also seminars at the NeuroPsychiatric Institute. Other: Ongoing conferences, meetings and continuing education. Aging, computer software and information technology. Some molecular biology, biotech, bio and protein informatics, computer aided drug design, clinical medical devices, electronics, HIPAA, fundraising through the Assoc. of Fundraising Professionals. Previous careers include: Marketing Increasing skill set and successes in virtually all phases, with valuable experience in locating people and companies with the greatest need and interest in a product or service, and sitting across the table with decision makers and working out agreements favorable to all. Information Technology: Management, data analysis and programming in commercial and clinical trials systems, and bioinformatics and protein informatics. As IT Director at Newport Beach, CA based technology organization Success Family of Continuing Education Companies, provided online software solutions for insurance and financial professionals in small to Fortune 500 size companies. We were successful with lean team organization (the slower moving competition was unable to create similar software systems). Medical devices: At Omnimedical in Paramount CA developed and managed quality assurance dept. and training depts. for engineers, physicians and technicians. Designed hospital equipment testing program for hospital services division. In my early 20’s I was a musician, and studied psychology and music. Interned with the intention of becoming a music therapist. These experiences helped develop valuable skills used today to advance our shared mission of creating aging solutions.
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