JHMI Office of Communications and Public Affairs

October 7, 1999

For press inquiriesonly, please call (410) 955-6680.

Cody Unser: Her Road Race Takes a Detour

Last February, 12-year-old Cody Unser, daughter of race car legend Al Unser Jr., left her middle school basketball practice one afternoon because her legs and feet felt oddly tingly. When she awoke the next morning, Cody Unser was paralyzed from the chest down, a victim of transverse myelitis (TM), an inflammation of the spinal cord that affects hundreds of people in this country.

"TM can be a bizarre disorder," says Douglas Kerr, M.D., Ph.D., who, with fellow neurologist David Irani, M.D., heads Hopkins' Transverse Myelitis Center, the only one of its kind. Approximately a third of TM patients are completely well within a few months. Another third have some lasting problems, and an unfortunate third show no recovery at all.

Cody Unser arrives at Johns Hopkins on Wednesday, Oct. 13, for three days of evaluation at Hopkins. She'll learn how to manage her disorder and will hear about TM research here. Cody, her mother and her physicians are available for interviews during her stay.

For more information on TM, these websites are helpful:

Johns Hopkins Transverse Myelitis Center: http://www.med.jhu.edu/jhtmc
Transverse Myelitis Association: http://www.myelitis.org/tm.htm

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