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Tongue stimulation for MS---Who'da thunkit?
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Tongue stimulation for MS---Who'da thunkit?

Wow, I just read about testing of new therapy involving stimulation of the tongue to help create new neural pathways. See

http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense.html

Researchers at the Univ. of Wisconsin have achieved some pretty amazing results. I wasn't able to view the internal link, but even so, I was astounded by the improvements in MS patients. Can't wait to find out more.

ess
11 Comments Post a Comment
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1740498_tn?1328966185
Thanks for sharing! I would sign right up for that, just for the improvement in fatigue.

I think this might be a more durable link to the page:
http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2013/02/27/pons_therapy_stimulates_the_tongue_to_treat_m_s_and_traumatic_brain_injury.html
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751951_tn?1299202836
MedHelp is notorious for not allowing URLs to post intact.  I think someone set it up that way to guard against spammers who post links to ads or other objectionable -- stuff (I had another word in mind, but they'd probably censor it) --in assorted online forums.  Some of us have succeeded posting valid addresses by using the word form -dot- instead of the period between the domain address and the "com," "org," or other extension.  Takes a little bit of typing to transfer those to your browser's address bar, but it's better (IMHO) than having a "working" hyperlink that tries to take you to a page that's not there, because part of the address was "edited" by MedHelp's censoring program.
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987762_tn?1331031553
Hmmm interesting idea, i'll check it out. lol it makes me wonder if my new electric toothbrush that leaves my tongue tingling and half my mouth numb is doing some good after all? lol funny if getting an electric toothbrush becomes part of your therapy, it would have to be better for your hip pocket at least :o)

Cheers.........JJ  
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987762_tn?1331031553
This is another link to this...

http://www.army.mil/article/96521/

Its worth a read too and its Feb 2013 so just listed. I would like to point out that the idea of brain plasticity is inter related to the theory and in this article, it says

"The treatment involves sending specially-patterned nerve impulses to a patient's brain through an electrode-covered oral device called a "PoNS," a battery-operated appliance placed on the tongue. The 20-30 minute stimulation therapy, called cranial nerve non-invasive neuromodulation, or CN-NiNM, is accompanied with a custom set of physical, occupational, and cognitive exercises, based on the patient's deficits. The idea is to improve the brain's organizational ability and allow the patient to regain neural control."

If this devise/theory is being tested whilst people are 'also' getting cognitive, speech, physio etc therapies targeted to their individual needs, its not going to do much to prove the devise 'is' responsible for any recovery/improvements. From my perspective and understanding of brain plasticity, targeted therapies are suppose to be generating alternate neuro pathways and producing improvements so i'm not sure how they can measure accurately the tongue connection, without taking out all other factors that are already proven.

Cheers.........JJ    
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751951_tn?1299202836
Jj, my late wife was given a box, roughly a 10-inch cube, that was supposed to stimulate regrowth of bone after having her heel surgically repaired (at age 55; not sure if that was a factor).  It made no noise, carried its own batteries, didn't warm up, move, turn colors, or light up.  We were told that, after 40 treatments, we were to toss it in the trash.

Well, I was told that.  She was still anaesthetized.

Anyway, she always figured it was snake oil, just something else for which somebody found the insurance.companies would pay.  Oh, did I mention that she spent much of her life as a health insurance claims analyst?

I will keep using my electric toothbrush.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm going to pads on this one!
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1045086_tn?1332130022
According to the article "....patients with multiple sclerosis have been shown to have a 50 percent improvement in postural balance, 55 percent improvement in walking ability, a 30 percent reduction in fatigue, and 48 percent reduction in M.S. impact scores (a measure of physical and psychological impact of M.S. from the patient’s perspective)."

I doubt it will ever be available to someone my age but I'd certainly give it a try for improvement like that!  Those numbers are impressive on their own but keep in mind:
They are talking about:
LASTING improvements (it doesn't disappear when the therapy ends)
SUBSTANTIAL gains (more than would be expected with PT/OT alone)
POTENTIAL to restore previously lost function (not just delay further loss)

Brain stimulators spinal stimulators, bladder stimulators and TENS units are already used by MS patients.  Why not stimulate the cranial nerves?  They influence SO many functions.  I think this could be a great idea.  If I'm willing (and able) to do the therapy exercises, don't gag on the stimulator and keep up with my DMD I might gain long lasting improvements as well as fewer relapses in the future.  It’s movement forward!

Here's my biggest concern.  Since this therapy is designed to coax the brain to form new neural pathways..... We really, really, really need a way to make sure MS won't start attacking the new stuff once it's in place!

Thanks for sharing ess.  I hadn't seen this.
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1045086_tn?1332130022
Oh -- Don't be shy to try either link that was given. Both worked fine for me.

MH doesn't block these. They do ask us to be mindful of the TOS agreement and copyrighted material. MH isn't fond of links to competitor sites just like one burger joint doesn't hang ads for the competitor inside their store.

For those who don’t know, links leading to another MH page will appear in blue and are of the click-to-go-there variety. Links to anything outside of MH must be copied and pasted.
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1045086_tn?1332130022
I hope your late wife used that box because they do stimulate bone growth.  Bone is living tissue.  In fact it's very vascular.  The cells within bone are in a constant process of being replaced.  It’s called restructuring.  Lose too much of the old without laying down some new and you get osteoporosis.

Sometimes the process of building and repairing bone needs some help.  Stimulators use electrical or ultrasonic energy to do that.  I'm not sure if your toothbrush will do the trick.

Just wondering....
Did you ever notice the nice growth spurt garden tomatoes get after a good thunderstorm?  I believe it's the lightening that does it :)
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Avatar_f_tn
I do admit I use a TENS unit for my back pain, despite my pacemaker.
I usually have it around the waist area of my back.  It helps when spasms
are more than my baclofen can handle and I don't want to increase the dosage but yeah, doubt it will be available for people of our age, two pack and I.  But we do need something....
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Avatar_f_tn
Considering the enormously positive benefits from this trial, I was a little surprised that there haven't been more comments. I guess I should have done as twopack did and quote the actual statistics.

I wouldn't be so pessimistic about the availability of tongue stimulation to us oldsters in the MS community. It doesn't sound too complicated or expensive, and it's not invasive. What's not to like? I gather the worst that could happen is no effect. In any event, I'll bet this will be a big agenda item this year for the meetings of MS medical practitioners.

Right now I sure could use the help. Pain level is bad, but fortunately for me that's rather rare.

ess
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