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Poliomyelitis

Use Of Drugs

Drug studies show that using high doses of prednisone, a drug used as an immunosuppressant did not produce added strength or endurance. Amantadine, used for Parkinson's disease and the fatigue of multiple sclerosis, also was not effective. Another drug, Mestinon, however, showed that post-polio people could benefit from its use. Physicians advise their patients to try it for a one month period starting with a small dose and then over a period of a month to build up the dosage. After the full dosage is reached the user should be able to determine whether or not it will help improve symptoms, especially in the area of strengthening weak muscles. It is particularly recommended to deal with fatigue in emergency situations, such as when driving a car when a low dose can carry the person through the activity safely.

Another medication post-polio people have found helpful and which is available at health food stores is LCarnitine. This is a substance that is already present in the muscles and it has been used in Switzerland and Australia. It is now being tried in the United States to help build up strength and endurance in post-polio cases.


Resources

Books

Cefrey, Holly, et al. Epidemics: Deadly Diseases Throughout History (The Plague, AIDS, Tuberculosis, Cholera, Small Pox, Polio, Influenza, and Malaria). New York: Rosen Publishing Group, 2001.

Crofford, Emily, and Steve Michael. Healing Warrior: A Story about Sister Elizabeth Kenny. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, 1989.

Rogers, Naomi. Dirt and Disease: Polio Before FDR. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1992.

Smith, Jane S. Patenting the Sun: Polio and the Salk Vaccine. New York: William Morrow. 1990.


Periodicals

Geier, R. "The State of Polio Vaccination In The World. " Toxicology Methods 12, no. 3 (2002): 221-228.

Markel, Howard. "The Genesis of the Iron Lung." Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine 146, no. 11 (november 1994): 1174-1181.

Nair, V. Mohanan. "Polio Eradication - Global Initiative" Journal of Public Health Medicine 24, no. 3 (2002): 207-210.

Ortolon, Ken. "Short On Shots." Texas Medicine 98, no. 5 (2002): 30-33.

Schanke. "Mild Versus Severe Fatigue In Polio Survivors." Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine 34, no. 3 (2002): 134-140.


Jordan P. Richman

KEY TERMS


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Acute flaccid paralysis

—An early symptom of poliomyelitis, characterized by weakening or loss of muscle tone.

Guillain-Barre syndrome

—A rare disorder of the peripheral nerves that causes weakness and paralysis, usually caused by an allergic reaction to a viral infection.

Iron lung

—An artificial respirator developed in the twenties and widely used throughout the polio epidemics in the United States and other countries of the thirties and thereafter.

L-Carnitine

—A health food substance being used by some postpolio people.

Post-polio syndrome

—A group of symptoms experienced by survivors of the polio epidemics before the period of vaccination.

Sabin vaccine

—The oral polio vaccine developed by Albert Sabin from weakened live polio viruses and introduced in 1961; the vaccine WHO recommends for immunization programs.

Salk vaccine

—The polio vaccine introduced by Jonas Salk in the mid–1950s using dead polio viruses by injection.

Smallpox

—A viral disease with a long history which in 1980 WHO announced was eradicated as a result of an effective worldwide immunization program.

Wild polio virus

—As opposed to vaccine polio viruses, which are transmitted as a result of the Sabin vaccine, wild polio viruses are those naturally circulated from natural sources of contagion.

World Health Organization

—A body of the United Nations formed in 1948 to manage world health problems, such as epidemics.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Planck mass to PositPoliomyelitis - Incubation And Natural Immunity, The Iron Lung, World Eradication Of Polio, Feasibility For Eradication