The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs down the middle of your back. It carries signals back and forth between your body and your brain. A spinal cord injury disrupts these signals.Spinal Cord injury occurs after road traffic accidents, railway accidents, falls from heights and sports injuries. It affects 25 out of every 10 lakh people. The consequences of spinal cord injury whether it is paraplegia or quadriplegia are severe and crippling.Spinal cord injury (SCI) occurs when there is any damage to the spinal cord that blocks communication between the brain and the body. After a spinal cord injury, a person’s sensory, motor and reflex messages are affected and may not be able to get past the damage in the spinal cord. In general, the higher on the spinal cord the injury occurs, the more dysfunction the person will experience.
It has been a long standing belief that patients with paraplegia and quadriplegia following spinal cord injury (SCI) will remain wheelchair bound or bedridden for the rest of their lives. The medical community has always felt devoid of a tool to make these patients walk again. But, now with the emerging era of stem cell therapy we can make a difference in the quality of life of these patients and help them get back to their feet once again.
Here is case report of a Paraplegic patient, Komal Bora, who with the help of stem cell therapy carried out at NeuroGen Brain and Spine Institute, has been able to achieve a new life after the injury.
Komal Bora is a 26 year old young woman, who sustained a severe spinal cord injury in a grave road accident. She was travelling to Rajasthan along with her aunt, when suddenly the car collided with a heavy truck and both Komal and her aunt were thrown out of the car with tremendous force. Unfortunately, her aunt wasn’t able to survive the accident. Passersby rushed an unconscious Komal to a nearby hospital where she was kept under observation for 24 hrs to monitor her vitals. Once her condition became stable, doctors began examinations and it was seen that 19 year old Komal had a spinal cord injury at the D-10 and D-11 level. Komal was then admitted to a hospital in Pune where she was completely bed ridden for the next 6 months and due to the injury, operations at that stage were also not possible. A string of doctors visited her while she was hospitalized, most with the opinion that improvements, if any, would be insignificant.
It was through a relative that her family learnt about NueroGeN Brain and Spine Institute. Her family then first called up Dr Alok Sharma & Dr Nandini Golukchnadran and set up an appointment for her.
“ I had lost hopes of anything good happening to me, but after meeting with Dr Alok Sharma I was filled with a spirit of optimism. He explained to me in detail what Stem Cell Therapy is and how it can help me to regain my movements. I didn’t know at that point of time, whether it would work or not. I decided to go ahead and take a chance.” Says Komal Bora.
Komal Bora underwent Stem Cell Therapy at NeuroGen Brain and Spine Institute in June, 2009. Along with Stem Cell Therapy she was also put under an extensive rehabilitation program. The aim of rehabilitation was to improve her functional activities and to help her gain independence in performing day to day activities. She was taught rolling, sitting with legs stretched out on the bed, moving backward and forward, rotations and balance training.
What the Patient Had to Say
“ Slowly, I started sitting up. Then I was put into a wheel chair. Finally, there arrived a day when I was able to stand. Each transition has given me so much of joy. I heartily thank Dr Alok Sharma and Dr Nandini Gokulchandran for their support in my journey. My decision to undergo Stem cell therapy has proven to be a huge advantage for me. It has given me my energy and motivation to work once again. It’s been 8 years since my injury now and five years since I underwent SCT. Over the time, I have kept in touch with my doctors and give them a regular update. If any problem rises, they have never failed to help me.” Says Komal Bora.
Based out of Nerul, Navi Mumbai, NeuroGen Brain & Spine Institute, India’s first and only institute that offers not only just Stem Cell Therapy but also Rehabilitation as well. This 11-storeyed building is a superspeciality hospital and has 51 beds and with special rehabilitation therapy centers. Neurogen BSI has been set up to help patients suffering from incurable neurological disorders, get relief from their symptoms and physical disabilities by the use of stem cell therapy in a safe and effective way. NeuroGen BSI offers stem cell therapy and holistic rehabilitation for Autism and Neurodevelopment disorders like cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, brain stroke, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury, head injury, cerebellar ataxia, dementia, motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis and neuropsychiatric disorders. Till date, the organization has already successfully treated 2000 patients from over 33 countries.NeuroGen Brain & Spine Institute, unique international center of excellence for neurological disorders has been set up by Dr Alok Sharma, Professor & Head of Neurosurgery, LTMG Hospital & LTM Medical College, Sion, Mumbai. Dr. Alok Sharma is a world renowned Neurosurgeon, Neuroscientist and Professor who brings with him extensive surgical expertise & experience in the areas of Neurosurgery, Neuroscience and Stem cells.
Clinical Improvements seen in Komal Bora after Stem Cell Therapy
- Can perform activities of self care like bathing, grooming, eating, dressing and toileting with complete independence. Required assistance before
- Can perform transfers from bed to wheelchair and vice versa independently
- Has started locomotion activities
- Can walk with help of splinters and walker
- Can move around independently in the wheelchair
- Able to move herself from the right side to left side
- Functional independence measure has improved from 65 to 110
- Spasticity has reduced as compared to before
- Can efficiently undergo longer session of physiotherapy
- Overall stamina and energy has improved
- Can perform household chores like cooking, cleaning, sewing independently
At present, Komal runs her own boutique from home where she sells designer ethnic wear like saris and lehengas and has been doing so from the past three years. Besides, she also helps her father run their family business. Being from a creative background, she does acrylic paintings and designing in her leisure time. Last year she even participated in Miss Wheelchair India contest.
One of the most memorable incidents after her accident so far has been her marriage to Rohit Ostwal, that took place eight months back. “It was a beautiful wedding, just like a Bollywood movie. Throughout the nuptials, I was on my wheelchair and after that my husband proudly carried me out.” blushes Komal.Her days have never been so full and busy, she claims. Now besides managing her boutique, she also has to tend to several daily chores. “There was a time when I wasn’t able to lift a spoon, now I can whip up food for 15-20 people in a couple of hours. Sometimes, I have so much to look at; I wish my days would be 48 hrs long. In fact, this year I will be performing with my husband at the Miss Wheelchair India pageant and am really looking forward to it. I have forgotten I am on a wheelchair now and I feel like any normal person would.” Says Komal.
What the Patient’s Husband Had to Say
“It’s just an injury. Her body may be damaged but her willpower is intact. You get one life to live and it’s necessary to make each moment, a memory you’ll remember for a lifetime. Everyone faces challenges in their life, but that doesn’t mean we give up. Sometimes you just have to keep moving forward I encourage her in all that she does. She’s a living example of inspiration for me.” Says Rohit Ostwal, her husband.