Gordon Mitchell received $37,000 in funding from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation to convene a workshop entitled: “Therapeutic intermittent hypoxia and functional recovery of respiratory and non-respiratory motor function with chronic, incomplete SCI: a “road map” to clinical translation.” The purpose of this workshop is to create a “road map” to clinical application of a highly novel therapeutic approach that restores movement in individuals with chronic, incomplete spinal cord injury. This new strategy, based on several decades of basic research, utilizes a “low dose” of intermittent hypoxia (lower than normal oxygen) to trigger neroplasticity in the spinal cord. This neuroplasticity restores lost breathing and walking function in individuals with persistent deficits, and no hope for functional improvement based on currently available therapies.
The plan is to convene a two-day workshop to identify gaps in knowledge, and steps necessary to develop repetitive acute intermittent hypoxia as a therapeutic tool to treat motor deficits in individuals with chronic, incomplete SCI. The outcome of this workshop will be a strategic plan (“road map”) that identifies areas where additional work is needed to exploit this apparently safe, simple and effective therapeutic intervention. Planning has begun this workshop in early summer of 2016.