Friday, February 5, 2016

Mirabile dictu 2

Jim McMahon had nearly given up hope, resigned to a lifetime of pain and frightening memory loss. He even considered giving up completely and taking his own life.

Then a Long Island doctor helped him find a miracle.
Before meeting Dr. Raymond Damadian of Woodbury, the pain in the 55-year-old former quarterback's head was so excruciating, the throbbing of every single heartbeat in his ears so persistent, that he mostly sought refuge in the bedroom of his home in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was the only way he could find any sort of relief, and even then -- just lying on his bed with the lights off -- he couldn't completely escape the pain.
"It got to the point where I wouldn't get out of bed for weeks at a time," the former Super Bowl-winning quarterback said.
The acute memory loss was just as troublesome. On the occasions when McMahon did leave his home, he sometimes couldn't remember where he was. Sometimes he'd decide to go out to the store to buy some chewing tobacco, but half an hour later, he'd still be home because he'd forgotten why he wanted to go out. He had to carry a picture of him and his girlfriend, Laurie Navon, with her telephone number in case he forgot who he was or where he needed to go.
"I'd be driving down the road trying to go home, and I wouldn't know where I was at," he said. "I called my girlfriend and I told her I didn't know where I was. She said, 'What are you driving past?' I said, 'Well, I just saw the casino, and I know I'm supposed to go past that to get home.' I just couldn't get home."
There were thoughts of suicide, he said, especially the times when he'd flash back to his last meeting with former Bears teammate Dave Duerson, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Feb. 17, 2011…
As it turns out, Damadian and his brother-in-law, Dave Terry of East Quogue, not only may have saved McMahon's life and alleviated much of his suffering, but ultimately could help other former players dealing with similar situations.
"I read the article two years ago and I'm like, 'Oh, man, I didn't know he was having a problem,' " said Terry, who with Damadian co-founded Melville-based Fonar, the first company to manufacture magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines in 1980. "I'd met Jim at a golf tournament about seven years ago and I really got a kick out of him. My brother-in-law was starting a new science, and I thought maybe we can help."…
Damadian took a closer look at McMahon's neck and found that the top two vertebrae were misaligned, which caused a blockage of his cerebral spinal fluid. 
"If that fluid gets obstructed and backs up, you get symptoms of pressure, numbness, loss of vision, and ultimately, people end up in wheelchairs," Damadian said. "When the fluid is blocked, it backs up into the head, a condition called cranial cervical syndrome."
McMahon said he was never told about any neck problems, believing that his post-NFL issues were solely concussion-related.
"Dr. Damadian said that the only thing that would make something like this happen to your neck is if you got dumped on top of your head," McMahon said. "I told him that's what happened in 1986. But I had taken so many painkillers when I was playing, I couldn't feel anything.''
A few days after the MRI, Damadian and Terry accompanied McMahon and Navon to the upstate Rock Hill office of Dr. Scott Rosa, a cranio-cervical specialist who has treated many athletes, as well as others suffering with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, autism, Lou Gehrig's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. Rosa performed a noninvasive procedure -- the Image Guided Atlas Treatment -- that aligned the C-1 and C-2 vertebrae near the base of McMahon's skull.
The relief was almost instantaneous.
"When they first did it to me, it was like the toilet flushed," McMahon said. "I thought to myself, 'No wonder I can hear my heart beating. It was bang, bang, bang.' I was having trouble speaking. I couldn't see clearly. But as soon as [Rosa] moved those bones, it was amazing."
Terry saw McMahon shortly after the procedure and was astonished.
"I saw a face that was almost ghostly white flush pink right after it," he said. "I said, 'Jim, how are you feeling?' He said, 'Actually, pretty good.' I said, 'Don't BS me.' He said, 'No, I feel really good. I don't have a headache anymore.' "
Navon, who once thought her boyfriend would never be whole again, almost couldn't believe what had just happened.
"Laurie was teary-eyed because it was like a miracle," Terry said.
Navon simply said, "I got my Jimmy back."
McMahon needed a few more treatments -- and still requires help in making sure his spine is properly aligned -- but he is living a relatively normal life again.
There still is some short-term memory loss, but not nearly to the extent he experienced before getting help.


  1. What can be dangerous, however, is portraying a serious clinical procedure’s anecdotal efficacy without rigorous questions asked about whether or not it’s real.

    That’s what the producers did while following the storyline of former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, who claims that a New York-based chiropractor restored and refreshed his diminished brain function by realigning the bones in his neck. It has been described as an alteration in the flow of spinal fluid to allow toxins to drain properly from the head.

    Dr. Scott Rosa received the bulk of the airtime in the movie, pointing at fancy-looking imaging and using what looked like a delicate jackhammer to work his neurological magic.

    The problem is that he’s not really a doctor, at least not in the sense of actually having gone to medical school. He graduated Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1987. The procedure upon which he means to stake his professional name hasn’t been the subject of medical peer review, to then be legitimized by an accredited medical journal.

    670 The Score reached out to multiple MDs in multiple specialties on the condition of anonymity for background and comment on the procedure, and the responses varied from curiosity to outright dismissal, but all were wary.

    All accept the possibility that new discoveries can be made. They remain skeptical, though, of anything not conducted by licensed physicians and submitted for scientific replication by peers. Also noted was the existence of placebo effect — that McMahon could indeed be feeling like he’s thinking more clearly, but only due to the mind’s powerful ability to perceive what it wants.

    One doctor said “be dubious — I have no idea how chiropractic adjustments ‘change flow of spinal fluid.'” Another doubted the too-facile description of “toxins,” pointing to the much more complicated and posthumously proven causes of football-related brain deterioration — physically destroyed neurons and the accumulation of tau protein.

    Another was more direct, fearful that a failure to properly subject claims like McMahon’s to genuine medical vetting can lead to needless expense or far worse for many of those so desperate for help.

    “I honestly feel bad for (McMahon),” the doctor said. “But the individuals taking advantage of the uncertainties around CTE/prolonged concussion symptoms are the worst kind of scumbag.”

  2. The inspiration for this post: Last night, by pure chance I caught parts of a sports documentary that aired on ESPN--"30 for 30". It showed Dr. Scott Rosa out of New York. He uses a special Fonar MRI that takes pictures of the cervical spine in an upright position. He shared, "Neck misalignment can block the flow of spinal fluid and pool toxic proteins directly onto the brain." His treatment aligns the C1C2 vertebra which immediately allows the draining of the CSF. He showed MRI's before and immediately following his treatment that provide evidence of this.

    No doctor has been willing to thoroughly look into my daughter’s complete medical history. I understand the long history between chiropractors and medical profession. At age 4 weeks, my daughter’s chiropractor did a gentle adjustment that dramatically and instantly improved how she presented and acted. He told me that she had an (AS) Anterior Superior Condyle Subluxation near her brainstem. No has ever commented why my daughter had such an improved presentation in her presentation and decreased agitation after every chiropractic adjustment...

    I've also seen that the typical MRI done laying down cannot show where everything is placed when the patient Is sitting up...

    I consider that chiropractor my daughter's hero as his treatment changed her life-- she appeared like a baby with severe CP before treatment.

  3. McMahon was in Chicago this week, where he attended Tuesday's Bears reunion marking the 30th anniversary of their Super Bowl victory. He was also featured in an ESPN "30 for 30" screening of a documentary about the team, which includes a focus on his health struggles.

    Now 56, McMahon has been plagued by debilitating health problems following his 15-year career and multiple concussions in the National Football League. He has been diagnosed with early onset dementia and has severe headaches, depression, memory loss, and vision and speech problems. He also said he suffered a broken neck.

    As a result, he joined a pending class-action lawsuit accusing the NFL of negligence and misconduct in handling concussions.

    Since going public with his health issues, McMahon said he has recently been feeling significantly better after chiropractic neck treatments to relieve the pressure.

    But the key to getting off the prescription narcotic painkillers he took throughout his career, he said, was medical marijuana.

    McMahon got his medical marijuana card in Arizona, where he lives, after it was approved by a voter referendum in 2010. Before that, he said, he'd been taking 100 Percocet pills a month for pain in his shoulders, neck and arms.

    "They were doing more harm than good," he said. "This medical marijuana has been a godsend. It relieves me of the pain — or thinking about it, anyway."

    On a typical day, McMahon will smoke marijuana in the morning to help him get up, a little in the afternoon depending on how he feels, and before bed, saying he couldn't sleep without it.

  4. So, I spent about 5 hours at the drs office today. I had 8 seizures. Ended up having to take a muscle relaxer in an attempt to calm my nervous system. I finally managed to get back at around 3 pm and promptly fell asleep until 6.

    He believes he's managed to get the vertebrae back into place and they are holding. But due to all the brain inflammation, the seizures and over worked nerve receptors, my central nervous system is still on the fritz. The sensory area in my brain is damaged from the over use for so long.

    I'll continue to have seizures until we can get it to calm down. Only issue is, if no one holds and braces my neck properly, my vertebrae get thrown out with the seizures. It's a vicious cycle that we some how have to break. This, all of it, will take a long time to heal. Longer than I expected.