26 December 2010

A late Christmas snow!

Maybe it's because we don't get snow very often here in eastern NC that when we do it seems even more beautiful than I remember it growing up in the midwest.

We were all very excited to wake up today to a gorgeous dusting of snow and then enjoyed a trip all over town before people got out in it.

Our 300 year old town makes for some beautiful photos when it snows.

And, lucky us, it continued to snow all day!

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25 December 2010

Happy Christmas!

From our house to yours, we wish you a wonderful day filled with joy, peace, and laughter! And praying that you would be blessed by His love this Christmas season!

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16 December 2010

Just not enough...

There is an apparent and obvious discrepancy in the amount of food Liam should eat versus how much his body will let him eat.

Yesterday he had his 6 month check up with the GI at their satellite clinic in Wilmington. We were supposed to have an endocrinology appointment immediately following the GI, to talk about his growth, but they had to cancel.

Imagine my surprise when the practitioner told me she does most of her work with endocrinology!

We talked about Liam's height and weight issues. He is only growing about 3-4 cm a year. The average child grows 7. While his slow height growth doesn't set off any alarms (children with CP who can't bear weight don't get good growth) it's his weight that seems to be the detrimental factor.

And while I thought we were doing great with his feedings (he hasn't vomited in months and we are now up to 5 oz at a bolus) he still isn't getting enough. He is holding steady at 25 lbs and has been hovering at the 24/25 lb mark for the last year.

Liam gets 3 cans of formula a day (about 24 oz of formula plus 7 oz of water) and they want to him to get 5 cans (40 oz of formula plus 10 oz of water).

I don't know how we are going to accomplish this without making him eat all night long while he is sleeping.

According to the NP, Liam isn't getting but 750 calories a day and they want him at 1200.

And if we still can't get him gaining wait with 1200 calories a day, then we will look at growth hormones....which I've heard isn't necessarily a bad thing for kids with significant CP.

So, I am to try and up his feeds as I see fit and hopefully get him at or near the goal within the next three months. The NP in Wilmington is going to see Liam every month and keep a close eye on his length and weight and hopefully we can get this boy growing. Afterall, he needs good caloric intake to grow his muscles as well!

I just hope he tolerates the changes and we can keep everything down.

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10 December 2010


While it has been encouraging to see the new therapists come in and work with Liam, it is always a painful thing for me. I love having someone else around to work with Liam but I also dislike needing all the help. You would think things get easier but they don't. For me, it is always a daily giving of my heart over to God because sometimes things just suck. We have to adjust to new people, new attitudes, new ideas, and new methods. Things that I don't always enjoy doing.

And Liam's had to adjust too.

He has a new physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech teacher and an itinerant preschool teacher. When Liam turned 3 on November 27th, he qualified to receive services from the school district.

This has been our second week of 'getting to know you' sessions. Last week Liam did not appreciate his new PT getting her hands all over him and working with him. He whined the entire session. Once I told the PT that Liam doesn't ever act that way, it helped her realize that Liam was stating his opinion as loudly as he could: Who are you and what do you think you are doing with me?!?

The second session went a bit better; he fell asleep while they read him a story.

And yesterday was his third session of PT combined with OT and he was doing much better with them.

They now have a good idea of what Liam likes and wants and yesterday they played with him, read The Gingerbread Man story and then had him make his own ornament.

The new therapists are all very excited to work with Liam. They are really good with him. And their enthusiasm is exciting. Even if I have to change my perspective and adjust.

06 December 2010

How the stem cell procedure would look

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Fat cells become stem cells

Adult fat cells easily become multi-purpose stem cells:

Stanford research
September 8, 2009 | 9:53 am

Get out your liposuction wands, everybody: that fat you've been carrying on your hips, thighs and belly can be transformed with relative ease into cells that may one day be capable of repairing a wide range of your damaged or diseased tissues, according to a new report by Stanford University researchers. Stem cells found in fat deposits, it turns out, are more primitive than are many adult stem cells harvested from tissues such as skin and blood: with comparatively less effort than is required to make, for instance, a stem cell derived from skin return to an undifferentiated cell form, fat cells can be reprogrammed to become muscle, neuron and stomach lining cells, finds a new study slated for publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "They are more embryonic-like" than stem cells derived from skin, said Ning Sun, who conducted the research at Stanford University's Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Institute. And reprogramming adipose stem cells to become "pluripotent" is more efficient as well, said Sun: using skin-cell "fibroblasts," researchers had to manipulate about 1,000 cells to yield a single induced pluripotent stem cell; the same process conducted on 1,000 stem cells from fat yielded 20 induced pluripotent stem cells.The science of reprogramming adult stem cells to behave more like those derived from human embryos remains in its infancy, and researchers point to many uncertainties, including the risk that the use of some reprogrammed stem cells in patients might jump-start the growth of cancers. But the search for ways to make adult stem cells perform the same feats of transformation that embryonic stem cells do has provided an alternative to those cells with fewer ethical drawbacks. For future patients looking to regenerative medicine to repair hearts, brains and diseases of the soft tissues, the new work suggests that their own fat stores could be plentiful workhorses of medical treatment. And because these stem cells would come from a patient's own body, they are unlikely to be attacked or rejected as foreign intruders by the body's immune system.And what a plentiful resource it is! "We've identified a great natural resource," said Stanford surgery professor and study co-author Dr. Michael Longaker in a Stanford press release. With roughly two-thirds of the American adult population overweight or obese, the United States could become a potential future exporter of this promising new resource. "Liquid gold," Dr. Longaker has called the globs of fat seen by the side of liposuctionists' operating tables.But wait. The nation's ballooning weight problem is expected to be a key contributing factor in rising rates of cardiovascular disease, arthritic joints and cancers -- all of which we will look to regenerative medicine to cure. If fat cells end up playing a key role in treating fat-related diseases, that may lend new meaning to the maxim "patient, cure thyself." And it could mean we will need to horde of our fat deposits for domestic consumption.-- Melissa Healy

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03 December 2010

Stem cells and TBI

SAN DIEGO, May 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ –
Dr. Feng Lin, Director of Research at Bio-Matrix Scientific Group Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: BMSN) and Entest BioMedical Inc., today stated that he believes that an effective new therapy for “traumatic brain injury” (TBI) using autologous “adipose-derived” stem cells represents a potential cure for TBI. According to Dr. Lin, both Bio-Matrix and Entest BioMedical are now studying the “therapeutic effect of fat stem cells on traumatic brain injury-associated brain ischemia and inflammation and replacement of damaged neurons with neuron cells differentiated from fat cells.” Bio-Matrix Scientific Group Inc. and Entest BioMedical Inc. recently submitted a research summary proposal to the U.S. Army with a goal of funding traumatic brain injury treatment research. BMSN is a San Diego-based biotechnology research and development company. Entest BioMedical Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BMSN. Entest is focusing on stem cell research applications, as well as testing procedures for diabetes.

“Currently there is no effective therapeutic approach to reverse the initial brain damage caused by trauma,” stated Dr. Lin. “Brain cells or neurons have limited ability for self-repair and spontaneous axonal regeneration. Extensive studies have been focusing on novel therapeutic strategies for traumatic brain injury. In my opinion, adipose-derived stem cells could possess the capacity for self-renewal and differentiation into diverse cell types such as neural cells. We could be looking at an exciting and potential cure for traumatic brain injury patients.”

Traumatic brain injury (TBI)* occurs when an external force injures the brain. TBI is a major cause of disability and death worldwide, but especially in young people. Causes include vehicle accidents, falls, violence, as well as explosive blasts in battle fields. In the U.S., approximately 1.5 million new TBI cases occur each year, adding to the almost 6.5 million cases that are permanently affected by the irreversible physical, cognitive, and psychological defects associated with TBI. The total annual economic impact of TBI is approximately $60 billion.

The entire article can be found here.

*Liam's brain received trauma from being born so prematurely and at some point decided his cerebellum would not develop. While he was never deprived of oxygen (he cried from the moment he was born), he did have a very hard time oxygenating because of his lungs and pda.

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