Post-Polio Update 2000 Seminar Notes

by Fredson T. Bowers, Jr.

A seminar on post-polio syndrome attended by approximately 100 members and guests was held at the Holiday Inn in Newton on November 19, 2000 with Richard Bruno, Ph D and Nancy Frick, Lh D as guest speakers. Dr. Bruno is a clinical psychophysiologist specializing in pain and fatigue management, biofeedback and post-polio sequelae (PPS). Dr. Frick is an educator, author, counselor and researcher specializing in the psychology of disability. Both have written many articles, some of which have appeared in this newsletter.

Registration, vendor displays and networking occupied part of the morning. After the serving of a sitdown lunch, Dr. Bruno was introduced, presenting a slide lecture entitled "PPS From Head to Toe." Dr. Bruno discussed treatment of PPS including pacing, energy conservation, work simplification, use of assistive devices, bracing of weak limbs and nonfatiguing exercises. The old admonition to "use it or lose it" has been replaced by a more enlightened "conserve it to preserve it." He overthrew, gracefully and with humor, some of our most cherished misconceptions including the fact that no medications for treating PPS have proven effective, and that in his opinion there is no evidence from a medical standpoint that magnet therapy is useful as a treatment for pain.

After a break for more networking, viewing vendor displays and socializing, Dr. Frick was introduced, presenting a slide lecture entitled "The Psychology of Polio Survivors." She discussed the 1985 National Post-Polio Survey conducted by Dr. Bruno and herself which studied a group of 1,185 polio survivors as well as a control group of 566 non-disabled persons. A major finding was that a large proportion of polio survivors exhibit Type A behavior (aggressive, outgoing, determined, stubborn, self-reliant, etc.). A show of hands requested of the audience indicated that most polio survivors at the seminar also considered themselves Type A individuals.

The seminar ended at approximately 5:00 P.M. Many thanks to all who worked so hard to assure the success of the seminar, in particular prime movers Elaine Burns and Linda Dobkin as well as Betty and Steve Anderson. Thanks also to Pat Prell, Marie Vienneau, Dick Iliff, Pat Gaudet, Larry Schmitt, Anne and Vinny Harpin and Barbara Irving. Thanks to Jack Memishian who gave unstintingly of his time and energy to make certain that no detail in the planning process and its implementation was overlooked. A very special thanks to Antonia Blinn and the March of Dimes who awarded us a substantial grant toward our speakersí expenses.


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