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Q Are there any new treatments for post-polio syndrome?
A Post-polio syndrome (PPS) -a disorder in which muscles previously injured by polio are further weakend-strikes between 25 and 50% of polio survivors. Symptoms include muscle and joint weakness or pain, fatigue, and cold intolerance, as well as problems sleeping, breathing, and swallowing.
PPS typically occurs decades after an initial bout with polio, possibly because never cells wear out after they take over for those damaged by polio.
Studies are under way to determine whether nerve-growth-stimulating factors might preserve existing neurons and their muscle connections, and drugs to ameliorate fatigue are being tested. But symptom management is the only current treatment.
Exercises done under doctor supervision can improve muscle strength. Fatigue may be lessened with rest; planning activities around energy highs and lows may help. A healthy diet and optimal body weight can also boost energy. Joint pain can be treated with analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs. Finally, psychological counseling may improve a patient's coping ability.
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