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Has there been any independent study to confirm that the method of recovery from spinal injury proposed by Dr. Valentin Dikul is really as effective as he claims?

Quoting from this The Sunday Times article:

[Dikul's] method seeks to encourage certain nerves and muscles to compensate for those that no longer function. As patients embark on a rigorous physical therapy programme, which lasts at least a year, their bodies are said to learn to reroute nerve impulses to healthy muscle groups, creating greater freedom of movement.

Is there any merit to this method? Has it or any similar nerve impulse rerouting technique ever proven to work to a certain degree?

  • @Oddthinking I clearly see "Dr." on this page of his website dikul.ru/index.php?link=eng Also, many places online (72.000 hits in Google) mention him as such. – luvieere Jun 6 '11 at 5:42
  • (To others reading: @luvieere is responding to an edit I made on the question where I removed any mention of Dikul being a doctor, as I didn't see any reliable mention of it.) – Oddthinking Jun 6 '11 at 7:03
  • it is odd. The same page in the original Russian does NOT say he is a doctor - although it does say another person at his clinic is. Other pages on the site, in Russian, describe him as a "academetrician" (Google translation). Everything in his biography describes him as a circus performer, and doesn't mention any formal training in medicine (nor other PhD). Skimming the other sites, I don't see anyone mention where he studied. (cont'd) – Oddthinking Jun 6 '11 at 7:10
  • So, I strongly doubt he is a doctor. That others describe him as a doctor is probably a courtesy title or a confusion (perhaps aided by Dikul himself). There are other dubious aspects to the reported biographies of him. For example, he was born in 1948, and by 1962 was 16 years old... windowstorussia.com/… – Oddthinking Jun 6 '11 at 7:13
  • @Oddthinking the English version page that I linked to refers to him as doctor, so, if this is how he refers to himself, I just forwarded the title in the question. Anyway, since you believe there is not any proof for this, you can reverse my edit until substantial proof that he is indeed a doctor can be found. Perhaps he equated "doctor" as "medical practitioner" on his website, irrespective of his formal education. I don't know if this is legal, accepted or tolerated by Russian legislation. – luvieere Jun 6 '11 at 11:27
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Check out the official web-site of Dikul's Rehabilitation Centre in Moscow.

Ignore the "English" link - it is broken, but Google's Translate tool does a passable job.

There is much discussion about the technique, including a section titled "Medical and psychological basis of the methodology" (Google translated) . However, nowhere are there any references to any medical journals whatsoever. The only sources are the book by Dikul describing his anecdotal experiences.

I was surprised to find the web-site does not even provide testimonies from other patients! I had a bit of a web-search and found a lot of desparate, hopeful people trying to learn more, and some patients saying it was too expensive to finish the course.

I think it is fairly reasonable to conclude that if there was scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of the treatment, it would be cited somewhere on a web-site designed to attract new patients and tell them about the process.

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  • Correction - SOME of the English page links are broken. Some seem to be working. – Oddthinking Jun 6 '11 at 7:14

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