Stroke treatment has 'dramatic effect'

The former Invercargill police officer having experimental stroke recovery treatment in the United States is making ''remarkable progress'', a friend says.

Brian Cowie had a stroke almost three years ago, when he was 47, that left him with pain, fatigue and severe communication and mobility problems. His ill health forced him to resign from the police 18 months ago.

But his first treatment, in which a fusion protein called Etanercept was injected into the back of his neck recently to rejuvenate the parts of the brain in shock from the stroke, had brought dramatic results, Detective Sergeant Mark McCloy, of Invercargill, said.

''The news is encouraging. The first injection has had a pretty dramatic effect on reducing his level of fatigue.

''His sense of taste has returned and he has gained some sensation in the limbs on the right side of his body.

''It's remarkable progress and very exciting for Brian and his partner, Jo [Parnham]. They are ecstatic.''

Mr Cowie and Ms Parnham, who is also a police officer in Invercargill, are expected to return home this week after three weeks at the Institute of Neurological Study in Los Angeles. Det Sgt McCloy said because Mr Cowie's progress was so good, he would be given another injection while in Los Angeles.

Det Sgt McCloy and other police colleagues and friends have all but raised the $30,000 Mr Cowie and Ms Parnham needed for travel and treatment.

More than $22,000 has been raised from donations and another $7000 from a quiz night in Invercargill last week. A rugby jersey signed by members of the All Black squad and auctioned at the quiz fetched $1200.

Fundraising was continuing to help meet Mr Cowie's ongoing rehabilitation costs, Det Sgt McCloy said.

-allison.beckham@odt.co.nz

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