Friday, July 26, 2013

Use it or lose it

What it means: If you don't continue to practice or use the ability, you might lose the ability. For example, if a person doesn't exercise his or her physical body, he or she will likely lose strength, endurance, and stamina.


For those of us living with Kennedy’s Disease, even if we use it, we will lose it. However, it might take a little longer to lose it. This is as much about muscle memory as it is motor neuron stimulation. The key for me is that as long as I perform the right exercises, my muscle groups will continue to function better and longer.

It has been four years that I have been exercising every day. In the four years, I have only missed one day. If I didn’t see the benefit, I wouldn’t do it. Or, saying it another way, as long as I see the benefit, I will do it.

Muscle memory helps perform the same functions repetitively. For example, I perform 60-80 steps in place every morning. This particular function improves the muscles in the quads, calves, ankles and feet. It also is a good cardio exercise. When I combine it with side-to-side steps, leg lifts, and calf stretches, I have a good standing program that has my heart pumping..

What do you do to keep the muscles and motor neurons stimulated? Have you noticed any benefit?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Just Keep Moving

Living with Kennedy's Disease provides its own set of challenges.  I have also found that the older I get, the more I need to keep moving. If I don’t, I stiffen up real quick. Once that happens, it becomes even more difficult to move.

For some reason my wheelchair causes me the most problems. If I sit for more than a couple of hours in my chair, I find it difficult to move when I first stand. Road trips really cause me problems because I am sitting behind the wheel for a few hours and then sitting some more in the chair.

JustKeepMoving-BubblewsdotcomBecause of this, I make it a point to move every two hours. The movement might be as simple as just standing next to a counter and walking in place. Or, if I can ‘safely’ stand and reach for something, I do it.

The best thing I ever did was install a grab bar in the bathroom by the commode. Besides using it to help me stand up, it is where I do my standing exercises every morning. And, whenever I go to the bathroom each day, I use the bar to perform 18 steps in place.

Because of these routines, I end up doing several simple and quick exercises throughout the day. It has made all the difference in the world in regards to feeling better and stronger.

I encourage you to develop your own routines to help keep:
  • You more mobile
  • Your joints and muscles more flexible
  • Your blood pumping and your heart stronger
  • Your lungs functioning at a higher capacity
  • Feeling better and more engaged.
As always, before beginning any exercise program, please consult with your doctor.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

More chimps are being retired

Chimps-earthintransitionWhen I read this study a couple of years ago, I applauded the recommendations.  The process of winding down the use of chimpanzees is not easy, but it is important in my opinion.  The three research analysis principles outlined in the announcement are a good first step in moving this process forward.

It is time to stop the indiscriminate use of chimps for medical research. 

Chimpanzees in Biomedical Research

Posted on June 26, 2013 by Sally Rockey
Today NIH made an important announcement about the use of chimpanzees in biomedical and behavioral research. After accepting the findings of an extensive Institute of Medicine (IOM) study commissioned by NIH, and reviewing the implementation recommendations from the Council of Councils  and public feedback, NIH leadership has decided to significantly reduce the use of chimpanzees in the biomedical research it supports, and expects to designate the majority of NIH-owned chimpanzees for retirement.

The IOM study released in 2011 proposed three principles to analyze research using chimpanzees. First, the knowledge gained by the research must be necessary to advance the public’s health. Second, there must be no other animal research model that could provide this knowledge, and the research cannot be ethically performed on human subjects. Finally, the animals used in the proposed research must be maintained in natural habitats or appropriate physical and social environments.

NIH-supported research projects involving chimpanzees that do not meet these principles will wind down in a planned way that will avoid an impact on the animals and unacceptable losses to the science supported by these projects.

On this website you can find more on the recommendations accepted by NIH, and a summary of the public comments received as part of our request for comments earlier this year.

We plan to prepare subsequent procedural guidance and technical assistance, as appropriate, to implement some of these decisions. Researchers should continue to follow the existing guidance regarding the submission of applications, proposals, or protocols for research involving chimpanzees until NIH finalizes this procedural guidance. We will be working closely with all of our stakeholders to ensure as smooth a transition as possible for research projects that will be affected by NIH’s decision.