Teen goes from wheelchair to walking in three weeks
It’s the leading cause of debilitating illness in this country but imagine being told as a teenager you’ll spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair. Eighteen-year-old Ariadne Popma, of Michigan, was determined not to let that happen. A stroke paralyzed her left side two years ago, most likely caused by a blood disorder she has called beta thalassemia. Electro-stimulation therapy to shock her muscles into working again didn’t work. She couldn’t feel her leg, let alone think about standing on it, until she came to Cleveland and met Dr. Jeffrey Bolek in the Motor Control Restoration program. In three weeks, his therapy not only helped her stand, it helped her walk again. Unlike traditional therapies that electrically stimulate individual muscles, Dr. Bolek’s program forces Ariadne’s brain to tell her body what to do.