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SIU Study Offers Hope to Raynaud's Disease Patients
"It just feels very numb, the numbness gets so
strong, your bones just kind of hurt," Joni Stahlman of Springfield, a Raynaud's patient, said.
Joni was diagnosed with Raynaud's disease as a teenager. It's a disorder that impacts blood vessels in the fingers, toes, ears and nose. Dr. Michael Neumeister said Raynoud's is a lot more than just cold fingers and toes.
"Most patients complain of severe coldness in their hands, numbness and tingling can come on," Neumeister said. "It feels like their fingers are dead, can't feel much. If the blood supply is so slow, it can result in ulcers and sores in the fingertips."
Researchers at SIU are studying the effect of Botox in regards to pain relief and blood flow in the hands. Since 2004, 32 people have participated in the clinical study.
"The intent is that this is a permanent fix for their condition," Neumeister said. "Some patients never require a second injection, others do. More than 80 percent of patients beneifit from the Botox injections."
"It's been a good experience," Joni said. "I had the Botox injections and it has improved. I still get some coldness, but my hands have not turned white."
Here's how it works: patients undergo a health exam and a CT scan to show blood flow, and then four injections are made inside the palm of the hand.
Joni advises others with the disease to give Botox a try.
"I encourage everyone to attempt it and I keep hoping as the time goes on the fingers are not as cold," Joni said. "I see positive results, so don't stay away from it."
SIU is the only site in the United States participating in this Botox study. Researchers are still looking for people to participate. To be eligible, you must be between 18 and 75 years old and be diagnosed with Raynaud's. If you're interested, call (217) 545-7014.