Theophylline and Post-Polio Syndrome
From an email to a Post-Polio-Med Listowner Email List With Permissions
Date: Sun, 03 May 1998 12:35:54 -0400
From: (Dr. Harry Goshgarian)
Date sent: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 11:28:00 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Theophylline

Thank you for your inquiry about my research on theophylline. Specifically, in laboratory animals which were subjected to high cervical spinal cord injury, we found that theophylline activates latent, but undamaged axon pathways which connect respiratory centers in the brain and spinal cord. The result of the activation of these pathways is restoration of function of diaphragm muscle which was paralyzed by the injury. Theophylline does'nt replace what is damaged by injury or disease, but activates an alternative route for nerve impulses between the brain and injured spinal cord.

In polio, the disease kills the nerve cells in the spinal cord responsible for making muscles contract. In my research, these nerve cells are not damaged--we just figured out a different way to activate them. Thus, I'm not sure that post polio patients will benefit from this therapy. The therapy was designed to reroute nerve impulses in the spinal cord after the main nerve pathway is injured.

For those who would be interested in reading about this research (these are technical articles written in medical journals):

Our human clinical trials have just started and we have only published in abstract form. The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine will publish this abstract in October or November (look for Ferguson et al.)

Please feel free to post this message on your website.


Harry Goshgarian, Ph.D
Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology
Wayne state University

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