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Do You Research?

Suffering with disc disease, I take some comfort in scouring the Web for information about treatments and clinical research. It's an obsession, maybe it's therapeutic, but I keep treading the same ground.

I was curious what types of spine-related "research" anyone here does. Are there particular journals or websites that you frequent? What topics interest you?

Personally, I visit Google News and ScienceDaily.com every day. Through Google searches, I've read many research papers on intradiscal cell injections, nucleus pulposus replacement, disc replacement, disc repair. It becomes an exercise in frustration when I read about a hydrogel or scaffold that's only been tested on animals. It's disappointing, too, when I read about cell injections leaking out of the disc or disc augmentation material dislodging into the epidural space.

Three times, I've emailed and received replies from doctors/researchers regarding information I've read about. About 5 years ago, I got in touch with Dr. Kevin Pauza, whose fibrin disc sealant was still under investigation. I also emailed an inventor who created a unique surgical tool for treating stenosis that never became popular. Recently, I emailed Dr. Lawrence Bonassar, whose bioprinted disc research has made the news. I told him about myself and assured him that there is a human face to the work he does. In his reply, he said, "It is for people like you that we are working so hard to find new alternatives to disc degeneration. We are in animal trials on these studies and do not have approval for human trials at this time."

Regardless of the outcome of my "research," I'm glad that it helps me get through another day, and I'm thankful for the Internet for making it possible.


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