Posts Tagged ‘ABR’

Crossing a Line

July 14, 2010

Recently, the inventor of what I call “our wacky therapy” published an article in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapy, an important step toward scientific legitimacy, acceptance by mainstream medicine, and, most importantly, insurance payments. I’ve researched many therapies in an effort to find the best ones for Chloe, and I’ve seen many which present only anecdotal evidence, or cite tiny, badly organized studies to prove themselves, so the fact that ABR is being so thorough and careful in its approach makes me very happy. It also makes me think about the arbitrary line between “mainstream” and “alternative” approaches to health and medical treatment.

In medicine today, there are several issues that seem to divide people into these two camps. Vaccinations come to mind immediately. People who are against vaccinating children point out, correctly, that big drug companies get away with, (literally in some instances) murder and that they are not trustworthy. They also claim, preposterously, that vaccinations have been “proven” to cause autism and that this is a valid reason to expose millions of children to deadly diseases. The other side points out, correctly, that without vaccinations, many children would die and that our quality of life would plummet. They also claim, absurdly, that we should all shut up and trust doctors and drug companies, in a country that falls at the bottom of the list when it comes to quality of healthcare.

This either/or approach drives me nuts, because I believe that there are many valid treatments and medical approaches that are stuck on the “alternative” side of fence, destined to be scoffed at by doctors and championed by freaks. And when your child has an “uncurable” condition, like CP or autism, it’s frustrating to get handed the same old useless prescriptions by a doctor who warns you against trying anything nutty. It’s also frustrating that the “nutty” approaches tend to take short cuts to legitimacy, such as Dr. Wakefield’s severely flawed study of vaccinations and autism.

Which is why I’m happy that my bet, four years ago, that ABR was the most promising “nutty” therapy for CP seems to be paying off. Not only is Chloe’s range of motion and motor function steadily improving, but the therapy is improving as well. They are gathering extensive data of every child involved, and making their case in legitimate forums. ABR claims to present a paradigm shift in the field of biomechanics, and maybe someday we’ll see that shift having an impact.

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The Mysteries of Cerebral Palsy

April 29, 2010

I got a text from Chloe’s aide today:  “B says it’s the foam.”  Translation, Chloe’s school PT thinks that the foam inside her ankle-foot orthotics is causing the red marks on her feet.  Thing is, the foam was put there two days ago by the orthotist, in an attempt to stop the red marks.  This is not exactly a surprise.  When it comes to the details of brain injuries, no one seems to know what they’re doing.  When Chloe started taking anti-seizure medication last year and started having twitches in her hand, one neurologist told us to decrease her dosage, while another one told us to increase it.  Everything about cerebral palsy, from the head to the toes (quite literally) seems to fall into the category of medical mystery.

Sometimes I wonder if this is because people are looking at things the wrong way.  The best therapy we’ve tried, ABR, is based on theories that completely contradict the traditional views about cerebral palsy and biomechanics.  Sometimes I wonder if everyone else–the neurologists, the physical therapists, the orthopedists–are operating under false assumptions, practicing their trade in the medical equivalent of Ptolemy’s universe, where the sun revolves around the earth, and no amount of studies and theorizing can do any good.  Does that mean that ABR is Copernicus?  I hope so, but, without any solid scientific data on this therapy, there’s no way to be sure.

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