Spinal Neuromodulation

Literally just last evening Joan and I were talking about Matthew’s hemispherotomy and our concern that he might not fully recover in his ability to walk with fluidity. And then this morning in therapy a new technology is applied to him – only the second kid at Schreiber to receive this.

I think I’m justified in believing the Denlinger family is increasingly being thrust into the cutting edge of things going on medically. Frankly it is mind blowing to me – and results in my needing to expand my vocabulary with words big enough to attempt to contain bigger ideas.

The research on spinal neuromodulation is published in September, the therapist at Schreiber Pediatric attends the seminar / receives training in October, and it is applied to Matthew in November. That’s what I call warp speed application of scientific discovery!

Part of Matthew’s therapy (begun at CHOP and continued at Schreiber) is something known as “functional electrical stimulation.” Prior to this, much of therapy was focused on muscle strengthening. However, stronger muscles only help get Matthew part of the way to where he needs to be. His brain must also know where his body is in space in order to send the appropriate signal to the right muscles so they are used effectively. Better sensory input from muscles to brain results in the brain sending better signals in return. What Matthew has been receiving (functional electrical stimulation) helps that to happen.

Matthew will continue to receive the above therapy, but the belief is that with the addition of spinal neuromodulation Matthew could improve ten times faster because this approach bypasses the brain and gives him the ability to walk from a more primal function of the spinal cord. “Ten times faster” – once again feels like warp speed.

Schreiber is also telling us they have another therapeutic device on order (a whole-body vibration unit – not as in “shaking him up a little” but generating specific frequencies like what muscles would produce – so much so that the brain doesn’t know the difference) which does a similar thing as the therapy he has been receiving – with the goal of giving better input to the brain. I know, it sounds like science fiction more than anything, right? By the way (huge disclaimer here), I’m regurgitating all this info based on today’s at-Schreiber Ted Talk – not sure if Matthew’s therapist would be impressed or depressed with my level of comprehension.

Today’s takeaways

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings. (Proverbs 25:2 NIV) God’s creation is astounding – probably far beyond what we’ll ever fully understand. Those who understand the complexity, yet orderly nature of his creation become very excited about the possibility of discovery – and they should!

What is the answer when scientific discover seems to outpace our morality? Simple: Go back to the Bible and update the application of our morality. Note that I’m not saying to change morality but use wisdom to understand how the new technology should be applied correctly, helping people and God receiving the glory. The alternative is to cower and fear and not take advantage of the good things God is allowing. Real Christianity applied never does that. Look at history and see how many scientists were propelled in their work by having a theistic worldview and see how much suffering has been relieved – an effect that continues even though a specific present-day scientist may not have the same base of thoughts about God.

I’m so thankful for the amazing organizations around us (including Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development and the Clinic for Special Children). What a difference they are making to the quality of life for my children. By the way, if you happen to be looking for organizations to bless during Lancaster’s Extraordinary Give, both are on the list. 😊

5 thoughts on “Spinal Neuromodulation

  1. If the “whole body vibration unit” stimulates the brain and helps the body, I’d like for them to order me one, please! Sounds very useful!

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  2. This is what I like to think of as God giving the “over, above and beyond” what we can ask, think or imagine!! AMAZING!!!!! ALL GLORY TO GOD!!!! Continued love and prayers for Kari, Matthew, baby girl Denlinger and the entire Denlinger family!!💝💙💝🥰🥰🥰🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻

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  3. Thanks for sharing. So encouraging! also have to wonder if I should be looking into new things for Kylie and her arm/hand.

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