Ka Me Ha Me HA!


I saw my neurologist, Dr. Kita, a couple of months ago.  I made an appointment to talk about difficulties I am having with walking.  She assured me that I was doing well, but I pressed the issue.  I understand that my disability is not very severe, but I wanted to know what can we do to strengthen my body and keep me moving for as many years as possible.  I want to remain strong, and walking for exercise is going to help me stay healthy.  She began to tell me about a medication called Ampyra.  It is a new drug, just approved by the FDA in January 2010.  In explaining how the drug worked, I got a little science lesson from Dr. Kita.

In short, our neurons gather a charge and send it out to the intended target.   The MS patient has lesions or scarring in the myelin sheath which insulates the axon and nerve endings (the path on which the signal is carried).  The demyelinating areas slow and weaken the transmission.  Our nervous system initiates these transmissions in the brain and spinal cord, so the longest path the transmission has to travel is to the legs.  The farther the charge has to travel over scarred areas, the weaker it can get, and sometimes it will even fail to transmit completely.

Dr. Kita explained that Ampyra helps the neurons gather a larger charge before transmitting the signal.  That larger charge allows the signal to power through the scarred areas.

I was fascinated with the science lesson, but when she said “gather a larger charge,”  my mind immediately went to “Dragon Ball Z,” a cartoon I used to watch with my son.  All I could think of was the character, Goku, putting his hands together to gather his Ki power, which he is then able to release in an explosive beam of energy.  As he gathered this power, he would chant, “Ka-me-ha-me- HA!”

So that is where I am.  Gathering neuron powers to summon my legs to do as I wish, with the help of Ampyra.  I just started taking this medication on Monday.  I will keep you posted.



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