HealthDay News — A first-of-its-kind surgery has restored the ability to walk in a boy paralyzed by acute flaccid myelitis (AFM).
Brandon Noblitt was struck by the disease in 2016 and could no longer walk. He was eventually seen by Amy Moore, M.D., of Washington University in St. Louis. “My goal with the children with AFM was to restore hip stability, and then motion of the upper legs,” she told CBS News.
Fourteen months ago, Moore performed nerve transfer surgery on Brandon’s leg at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. She said she is the only doctor in the United States to perform nerve transfers on children’s lower extremities. “I used what they have. They were wiggling their toes, and so I was able to move a nerve that wiggles the toes to the hips,” Moore told CBS News. At a check-up last week, Brandon was walking again.
The cause of AFM is unknown, but it seems to develop after a viral illness. Nearly 400 people in the United States have been diagnosed since 2014, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So far this year, there have been 72 confirmed cases in 24 states, CBS News reported. CDC director Robert Redfield, M.D., recently called for a special task force to investigate AFM, which affects about one in a million people.