Ukraine: Results more than just groundbreaking !
On 14th of October 2014 I had a meeting in a small town near Lviv in Ukraine, just at the foot of the Carpathian mountains. This was for me to meet one of the first patients who had been operated on with Neurogel (out of 30 patients who been operated on ). When I arrived with my interpreter at the agreed rendez-vous (a bar near the road), Dmytro Denkevitch was waiting for us at the wheel of his car in the car park near the bar. He took his wheel-chair which was on the rear seat as well as two wheels that had been put on the front passenger seat of his vehicle. He locked them promptly from both sides of the wheel chair before putting them on the ground. Turning round on his seat he moved from his car to the wheel chair in few seconds.
He told me that all these movements that had been restored to him, the car that he was able to drive from now on, his job in commerce which allowed him to earn his living, this reactivated autonomy, was all due to the piece of neurogel that had been placed in his spinal cord. He had been injured in a road accident in May 2006 at the age of 20. He had a spinal cord injury of his 6th thoracic vertebra. After the accident he was in rehabilitation, but he did not recover movements below the armpits. This level corresponded with the place of the lesion. His upper injury had removed his ability to perform physical movements such as turning and bending… He had only the muscles of his arms with which to guide the wheels of his wheel-chair, thus condemning him to inactivity.
Three years after his accident, his doctor told him about a product that a fellow doctor, a neurosurgeon at the hospital in Kyiv (Kiev in Russian), had obtained on a trial basis. He suggested that he should try to be operated there, rather than to resign himself to total inactivity, Dmytro went to Kyiv and met a neurosurgeon, Dr. Yaminsky. It was operated on in May 2009. At the same time two electrodes were grafted onto the envelope of the spinal cord, the dura mater, at the location of the lesion, and where the Neurogel was implanted. These electrodes were designed to be connected to an electrical apparatus in order to allow him to get stimulation sessions in order to activate the neurons.
Over the months Dmytro felt the strength coming back to his muscles. This force increased along with personal rehabilitation. After two years, having regained the movements necessary for driving a car. He succeeded in getting his licence in 2011. He adapted his car himself because he could not use his legs.
Thus, five years after the accident, he was able to regain his autonomy, and now eight years later he praises the benefit of Neurogel. He feels that the innervation of muscles continues to work. The connectivity work is realized through the piece of spongy gel irrigated by thousands of invisible channels that Dr. Yaminsky grafted into his spinal cord.
He also feels that the process of progression goes on inside his legs, but he could not continue the rehabilitation of the lower limbs because the spastic movements of the legs made him lose his balance. He would have had to be followed regularly by a physiotherapist, with material adapted to his needs.
At this point we see the problem of Ukraine which can not afford to finance the rehabilitation and aftercare of such patients.
The same situation exists with electro stimulation: Dmytro was able to operate the device connected to the electrodes on his back, the first time for 6 months. Then he had to be operated on to remove the callus flesh that had grown over and covered the electrodes. And again for six months the machine worked. But after that Dmytro did not want to be immobilized any more by a new operation and the period of inactivity.
He had no financial resources, so little medical care and rehabilitation was possible :
So I met and then followed up the evolution of several people who had been operated like Dmytro: these were Petro Marugenko , Serguiy Solodovnik, Nataly Mitiava, Serguiy Kramar, Serguiy Burkalow, Olga Kovalyova, Serguiy Bondar…
It is with the latter, Serguiy Bondar that evolution has been the fastest. Because he was a child and therefore still growing. I met him in Kyiv with Dr. Eric Pinet, who makes a gel for us in Canada. Dr. Yaminsky who operated on Serguiy and asked us to come in order to witness the fast evolution of his leg movements. We met him at the hospital and were able to film him. The little Serguiy also had another big problem: he had a crushed hip, along with the spinal injury. It would have required a major operation that his parents were not able to afford. Also, I contacted the Necker Hospital and the University Hospital of Brest for it. Eric Pinet had also contacted hospitals in Canada, but his parents living far from Kyiv, did not want to leave their child alone abroad, hoping it would work out one day! Today Serguiy is in a wheelchair with his dislocated hip and his spinal cord connected, but sadly it left him inactive.
Here is what is “Neurogel” and how it is implanted in the people in the only Country where it could be used.