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(TW: Ableism, Medical Abuse, Neglect, ED (Weight), Ableist Language) The other story from a 'Pillow Angel' Been there. Done that. Preferred to grow.
(TW: Ableism, Medical Abuse, Neglect, ED (Weight), Ableist Language)
Three years ago, a 6-year-old Seattle girl called Ashley, who had severe disabilities, was, at her parents’ request, given a medical treatment called “growth attenuation” to prevent her growing. She had her uterus removed, had surgery on her breasts so they would not develop and was given hormone treatment. She is now known by the nickname her parents gave her — Pillow Angel.
The case of Ashley hit the media in January after publication of an article in a medical journal about her treatment. It reappeared in the news recently because of the admission by Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center that the procedures its doctors had performed to stop Ashley from growing and reaching sexual maturity violated state law. In Canada (as in Australia), a child can be sterilized only with the consent of a court.
At the time of the initial publicity about growth attenuation, Ashley’s parents wrote on their blog: “In our opinion only parents of special needs children are in a position to fully relate to this topic. Unless you are living the experience, you are speculating and you have no clue what it is like to be the bedridden child or their caregivers.”
I did live the experience. I lived it not as a parent or caregiver but as a bed-ridden growth-attenuated child. My life story is the reverse of Ashley’s.
Study identifies new approach to improving treatment for MS and other conditions
Working with lab mice models of multiple sclerosis (MS), UC Davis scientists have detected a novel molecular target for the design of drugs that could be safer and more effective than current FDA-approved medications against MS.
The findings of the research study, published online today in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine could have therapeutic applications for MS as well as cerebral palsy and leukodystrophies, all disorders associated with loss of white matter, which is the brain tissue that carries information between nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.
The target, a protein referred to as mitochondrial translocator protein (TSPO), had been previously identified but not linked to MS, an autoimmune disease that strips the protective fatty coating off nerve fibers of the brain and spinal cord. The mitrochronical TSPO is located on the outer surface of mitochondria, cellular structures that supply energy to the cells. Damage to the fatty coating, or myelin, slows the transmission of the nerve signals that enable body movement as well as sensory and cognitive functioning.
The scientists identified mitochondrial TSPO as a potential therapeutic target when mice that had symptoms of MS improved after being treated with the anti-anxiety drug etifoxine, which interacts with mitochondrial TSPO. When etifoxine, a drug clinically available in Europe, was administered to the MS mice before they had clinical signs of disease, the severity of the disease was reduced when compared to the untreated lab animals. When treated at the peak of disease severity, the animals’ MS symptoms improved.
“Etifoxine has a novel protective effect against the loss of the sheath that insulates the nerve fibers that transmit the signals from brain cells,” said Wenbin Deng, principal investigator of the study and associate professor of biochemistry and molecular medicine at UC Davis.
“Our discovery of etifoxine’s effects on an MS animal model suggests that mitochondrial TSPO represents a potential therapeutic target for MS drug development,” said Deng.
“Drugs designed to more precisely bind to mitochondrial TSPO may help repair the myelin sheath of MS patients and thereby even help restore the transmission of signals in the central nervous system that enable normal motor, sensory and cognitive functions,” he said.
Deng added that better treatments for MS and other demyelinating diseases are needed, especially since current FDA-approved therapies do not repair the damage of immune attacks on the myelin sheath.
The UC Davis research team hopes to further investigate the therapeutic applications of mitochondrial TSPO in drug development for MS and other autoimmune diseases. To identify more efficacious and safer drug candidates, they plan to pursue research grants that will enable them to test a variety of pharmacological compounds that bind to mitochondrial TSPO and other molecular targets in experimental models of MS and other myelin diseases.
- People with CP aren’t all children
- People with CP aren’t all in wheelchairs
- People with CP aren’t all unable to talk
- People with CP aren’t all unable to walk
- People with CP aren’t all dependent on their parents or carers
- People with CP aren’t all lonely
- People with CP aren’t all My Left Foot or David Cameron’s dead son
- People with CP don’t exist to be your “inspiration”
- People with CP aren’t “so brave”
- People with CP have relationships
- People with CP have sex
- People with CP have children
- People with CP have jobs
- People with CP are smart
- People with CP are funny
- People with CP are loud
- People with CP are feisty
- People with CP are awesome
- People with CP could kick your ass.
It’s seriously depressing how many people just have no idea the above items are true.
Feel free to add your own.