Monday, March 05, 2012

Neuroplasticity, neurogenesis baby!

Today while I was at the gym I became very interested in the experience one of the managers has had with a vibrating machine there. It's been there a long time, and so has she, but she only started using it three weeks ago. She uses it up to 20 minutes a day, just standing on it and holding on to the sides, letting it shake her at a very high frequency and tiny amplitude. Some days she only has time to be on it a few minutes. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me introduce her to you. I'm going to call her Susie (not her real name). She has given me permission to blog about her. 

Twenty-five years ago, friendly outgoing Susie was 22 years old, in good health. She was having a baby by C-section. Something bad happened, and she had a stroke that affected her left side. 

I met Susie 5 months ago when I started attending the little women's gym here in town. I noticed that she was unable to use her left arm, and that she walked with a limp. For all I knew, she might have been born with a disability. She does everything needed for her job, which includes measuring for inches lost on all the clients at the gym, with her right hand, and also takes care of her family, runs a house, doesn't let anything stop her. 

Today, she started chatting about how she is regaining function in her arm, and demonstrated a couple things - most of her movement regained so far is in shoulder girdle function - she can raise her arm up over her head while standing, in supine she can raise her arm over her head, can externally rotate, but not internally, not yet at least. But she can also bend her elbow to about 90 degrees. The thing she's most proud of is being about to support her weight on that arm in prone enough to enable her to do a "plank".  She showed me that her fingers have started to move a bit as well. 

All of this is after 25 years. And after being told that part of her brain that runs her arm was dead and would never recover. In typical Susie style, she wants to get back enough hand function to at least be able to flip a bird at the doctor who told her that. All this improvement in just 3 weeks, after 25 years, by using a vibrator platform. 

Remarkable, no? Never say never. 


  1. Video: How Neurons are Born, with Fred Gage
  2. Going mental: Study highlights brain’s flexibility, gives hope for natural-feeling neuroprosthetics
  3. Whole-Body Vibration Has No Effect on Neuromotor Function and Falls in Chronic Stroke.

    4. No specific effect of whole-body vibration training in chronic stroke: a double-blind randomized controlled study.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks again for all this. The Neil Pearson's webcasts you have on the side menu were also amazingly clear and incredibly helpful.