Anatomy of a Moonbuggy: Give It a Brake

It is upon us! Buckle your seatbelts and give the team advisor a Maalox — it’s time to assault the course and go for the gold!

Registration began today for teams participating in the 18th annual NASA Great Moonbuggy Race. We’ll hold our opening ceremonies tonight at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.


Like all our teams, Huntsville Center for Technology racers Ezra Logreira and Karine
Wittenborg are itching to roll. Our unofficial “Face of the Race” duo for 2011,
they’re both seniors, headed to the University of Alabama in Birmingham this fall.
But they want one more win for HCT before they go… (MSFC/David Higginbotham)

We’ll welcome old friends and new, go over the guidelines and walk the winding, half-mile race course (which, as you read this, is getting the finishing touches today from the Space & Rocket Center’s elite crew of groundskeepers and “moon mechanics,” under the watchful eye of head axle-breaker Dennis Gallagher… who occasionally breaks into villainous MWAHAHA laughter, we kid you not).

And tomorrow, April 1, at 7 a.m. Central time, the buggies start to roll.

So let’s wrap up our look at moonbuggy hardware with a few final elements — some critical, some cosmetic, but every one of value to your performance. And possibly your posterior.

“Steer! STEER!”

Steering configurations are as varied among moonbuggies as any other element, but the relative simplicity of the hardware — upright or drop handlebars (or a simpler straight handle or riser bar, like that on a mountain bike) which turn the fork and front wheels via a stem rotating in the headset — may mislead teams into giving it too little thought.

The design is paramount here. How are you configuring your riders — side by side or one in front and one in back? Will they share steering duties, or does just one of them take on the responsibility of guiding the vehicle? Do the style and position of your handlebars match the seating angle of your riders? If they’re seated low at a backward angle for better pushing power, for example, you don’t want upright handlebars that force them to awkwardly lean up or forward to maintain control.

Look at a recumbent bike, with under-seat or over-seat steering. You may want to riff on that idea, and design a buggy with steering arms or joysticks positioned at the sides, permitting the riders the most aerodynamic profile and ergonomically satisfying ride positions possible. But testing must be rigorous. Does the system have the necessary responsiveness? How much power will it take to rake that speeding buggy around a sharp turn? Can “lowrider steering” measure up?

Race organizer Gallagher, a NASA astrophysicist who works at the Marshall Space Flight Center, is always quick to point to mountain bikes as a good jumping-off point for basic buggy design, and this is another area where they can give you some good ideas. Especially consider the wider widths of mountain bike handlebars or risers, he says — which can dramatically improve handling.

“And be sure they have some play to them,” he adds. “This terrain’s really uneven, so they’ll need to be able to handle a lot of hard jerks and jolts.” (Mwahaha indeed.)

“Brake! BRAKE!”

Dennis’s fellow engineer and race planner Tom Hancock, chair of the American Institute of Aeronautics and AstronauticsAlabama/Mississippi section, agrees steering is important… but he’s more concerned about brakes. He’s one of the guys who’s out there the night before the race, laying down something like 175 bales of hay — to make sure careening buggies have something soft to run into when they get out of control.


See this? This is important. This is the thing that keeps your advisor’s heart rate
down in a safe zone. Especially during that hairpin left turn right after Obstacle 3.
(MSFC/David Higginbotham)

Hancock says brakes come in all flavors among buggies — from the crude rim brakes found on regular bicycles; to internal hub or disc brakes for sturdier off-road or tandem bikes; to direct-pull or linear-pull brakes like the “V-brakes” found on many BMX and mountain bikes.

With rim brakes, friction pads are compressed against the wheel rims themselves. Among internal hub brakes, they’re contained within the hub of the wheel. Your best options, our experts agree, are disc brakes, which have a separate rotor for braking, or linear-pull brakes, which seem to have the most hardware flexibility, work well with suspension systems based on more rugged off-road bikes, and stand up best to hard, abrupt braking.

Whatever your configuration, Hancock says, whether they’re hand-operated or controlled by foot-pedals, the brakes are absolutely critical, and should be thoroughly tested repeatedly before race day.

“Buggies can pick up so much speed out there, and we’re always surprised to see so many with brakes only on the front, or only on one side,” he says. “That’s because they’ve been salvaged off a regular bicycle, of course, and the end result is they drag really hard to one side.”

And that’s no good, especially if a large rider is paired with a small one. “We see guys close to 200 pounds matched with girls around 110-120,” he says. “Add the weight of the vehicle, and a few critical heavy-side turns on the track where vehicles may pull three or four Gs…”

It’s a recipe for trouble. “Your welds may be good, but they may not be that good,” he laughs. “Or the center of gravity may be too high, and you risk tipping over.”

Riders can offset those dangers — pick a solid braking systems and train your drivers to apply them properly.

Don’t settle for the cheap seats

Let’s move on to one of the most memorable elements of the moonbuggy — or it will be, after your riders disembark at the end of the course and discuss with you why you chose to skimp on seating.

“Bucket seats are the best,” Hancock says. “Find something of quality that conforms, if possible, to the lower back and rear end. You want your drivers seated solidly to provide lots of lower-back pushing power.


The rear seat on a Huntsville Center for Technology buggy. Note the ergonomically
sound handlebar placement. (MSFC/David Higginbotham)

Simple folding seats can snap, Hancock warns — all the riders’ mass and energy is being centered in the lower back, and flimsy chairs won’t hold up. Likewise, saddles — simple bicycle-style seating — won’t suffice, because there’s no lower-back pushing power there at all. “That’s just asking for pain,” he says.

He also advises against angled seatbacks. He’s seen teams cant the back rests 15-20 degrees — maybe in an effort to be more aerodynamic. “But depending on the configuration of the buggy, now you’re expending a lot of energy just to stay up straight to pedal,” he says.

Whatever your seat of choice, Gallagher reminds all racers to include strong, buckling seat belts. No Velcro, no rope, no duct tape. “Seat belts are NOT part of the façade,” he says.

Finishing touches: The accessories

The façade is where we’ll round out this exploration of the moonbuggy’s inner workings. This race is a historic legacy, after all, celebrating the Apollo-era Lunar Roving Vehicles that rolled across the surface of the moon in 1971 and 1972.

It’s been 40 years since those fabled moonbuggies raised the bar for off-road racing, and your buggy needs a few accessories that put the finishing touches on this homage to NASA ingenuity and can-do spirit.

According to the race guidelines, each buggy must have a simulated TV camera approximately 2 inches by 3 inches by 6 inches or so; a simulated high-gain antenna with a reflector approximately 2 feet in diameter; two simulated batteries (roughly 4 inches by 6 inches by 8 inches); “moon dust abatement” devices, better known as wheel covers (or sweet, sweet fenders); a simulated electronic-controls radio and display console (totaling an approximate 1 cubic foot in size); and a national or school flag. Items get checked before and after each run… and you want to have the same set of goodies at the end that you had at the start.

Secure your gizmos,” says Hancock. “Otherwise, it can cost you. You lose a point for every piece that comes off. People drop fenders, cardboard instrument boxes and other things all over the track.”

He suggests that new racers in particular keep everything simple to start. Try to keep accessories out of the way of the riders, so they don’t inadvertently knock them loose. “Small, secure and out of the way,” he advises, then chuckles. “One of the most novel approaches I ever saw was a team that just had a sign on the side of the steering column. It said, ‘Our whole instrument system is on the side of the steering column.’ ” Not exactly kosher — but it kept the teams’ focus on the bigger challenges.


Huntsville Center for Technology keeps its accessories, such as this mini-camera,
anchored and out of the drivers’ way. Don’t get penalized when that fancy contraption
comes flying off! (MSFC/David Higginbotham)

Don’t be afraid to get creative, though. “Some accessories are really great,” Hancock says. “We’ve had kids make working displays. A lot of them will bring a video camera and mount it on the front end to tape their run.” To get a look at what’s possible, check out the buggy from last year’s winning high school team, the International Space Education Institute. Their GPS tracking and other on-buggy hardware is mind-blowing!

And visitors can get an actual buggy-cam experience — shot by high school racers in 2009 — inside the U.S. Space & Rocket Center at the NASA Education Competition exhibit. Just look for the mini-moonbuggies.

Drivers — to the starting line!
As the race draws ever nearer, Gallagher and Hancock reflect on what it offers — practical, real world engineering challenges that may open new career doors for many of our intrepid racers.

“This is professional experience,” Gallagher says. “Design work, specc’ing out your requirements, fabrication, welding, rigorous testing… This is the real deal, and it leaves an impact.”

For his part, Hancock loves watching new teams tackle the course for the first time. “They may come from small towns, and their team may not have all the resources of bigger school systems,” he says. “But so many show up with work that is just great — intuitive, slick and well thought out. They may not have all the materials to take their ideas to the next level, but the spark is there. The flame is lit.”

Expect that inventive flame to deliver no end of unique, unexpected moonbuggy designs and configurations when we take the course on April 1. We may see three-wheelers. TWO-wheelers. Anything is possible. One team years ago designed something that looked like an exercise machine — both drivers were standing up. “Worked great til they hit the first obstacle,” Gallagher laughs.

“We had a tank once,” Hancock remembers. “It was eight feet long, it wasn’t very well put together, it was dropping cleats all over the course…” He smiles. “But it was COOL.”

Be safe out there, teams.

And be cool.

You’re invited to watch live race coverage all day Friday, April 1, via UStream at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc. The race is expected to start at 7 a.m. Central time. Our deepest thanks to Dennis Gallagher and Tom Hancock for their help in developing this blog series. For those interested in learning more about these good folks who help us execute the NASA Great Moonbuggy Race year after year, you can read more about them here.

18 thoughts on “Anatomy of a Moonbuggy: Give It a Brake”

  1. My daughter is riding on one of the Purdue Calumet moonbuggy teams! Can’t wait to find a video of them! Go Purdue!

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  3. To Every Action There Is No Equal And Opposite Reaction

    Why apple falls on the earth from the tree? Why it does not go high on the sky? At this scientist Newton was surprised. I also become surprised when mango falls from the tree. Why does the mango falls? According to my mother, it falls as it ripes. Then my question, why it falls when it ripes? Mother answered that when it ripes, its stem becomes loser. When mango hanged from tree , its weight mg (action) forced downwards , and the stem held the mango by the force (reaction) is equal to mg . After 1 second when it is falling , the weight of the mango was same as mg (action) , but the capturing capacity (reaction) of the stem was less than mg. so mango falls. i.e. before falling,
    The weight of the mango was mg(action) ≤ capturing capacity (reaction) of the stem. During falling ,
    the weight of the mango was mg (action)> capturing capacity (reaction)of the stem. i.e. the action and reaction during falling the mango are not equal. That proves incorrect of newton’s third law of motion. I try to understand on the other way. I hang a rope & strap 2kg weight with it , it is hanging; then hang 4kg , it is hanging. But it is fall down just when I hanging a 5kg weight in it. When there was hanging 2kg or 4kg weight, the capturing capacity of the rope was same or more than 4kg, but less than 5kg. So it is falls when 5kg is hanged.
    i.e. at 2kg or 4kg;
    The weight (action)≤ the capturing capacity (reaction) of the rope.
    At 5kg;
    The weight (action)> the capturing capacity (reaction) of the rope.
    Then again when 200gm weight is hanged in a cotton , it falls down. Here capturing capacity of cotton is less than 200gm. Then it can be said that the idea of reaction force of Newton does not depend on the quantity of using force , it depends on that object on which the force is used. Reaction is a personal characteristic of object. In particular situation a object has a limitation to react. Object can not reaction equally when standard of the action is more. Now let explain the motion of train ;
    Engine with mass m, is pulling the body with mass M(>>m) by p force. Body prevent it by force q . Now fe = acceleration of engine ; fb = acceleration of body ; From newton’s second law of motion(p=mf),
    At engine ; q=mfe => fe = q/m
    At body ; p= Mfb => fb = p/M
    According to Newton’s third law of motion action and reaction are equal. Here IqI=IpI=>ImfeI=ImfbI=>Ife/fbI=M/m=>IfeI>IfbI.
    As engine and body are connect with each other , so it never possible IfeI>IfbI.
    Therefore, IpI≠IqI.
    That means action and reaction are not equal.
    Original case, as engine & body are connected with each other so Ife I = Ifb I => Iq/mI = Ip/MI => Ip/qI = M/m => 1
    => IpI>IqI.
    So we can say as the engine create more force , it goes towards. Again if IpIAnother explain ;
    When the wheel of goods carrying lorry gets into the mud , the wheel is moving when the lorry use force. The wheel use force on the mud but the ability of protesting of mud comparatively low. So the mud can not protest the wheel equally. Then the mud begins to move instead of moving the wheel and so the wheel slips. In this matter the action and reaction are not equal also.
    That is , it can be said that the quantity of reaction is not related to action and they are not always equal.
    Do the action and reaction act opposite direction?
    According to Vector’s law , Resultant of two equal and opposite directed force is always zero. That is meant that if action and reaction are equal opposite directed then any work is not possible. whatever the direction of the action is , object always prevents at right angles to that plane of applied point . It can not be said in every field that the action and reaction acts on opposite direction.
    After the analysis it can be said that action and reaction are neither equal nor acts from opposite direction .
    Removing the mistakes the Newton’s third law can be written following:
    force is always used against the stability of object, if the quantity of the used force is more than the stability then with the rest force the work is performed. object always prevents at right angles to that plane of applied point and tries to change it’s direction.
    Through this law every incident can be explain comparatively more easily and logically . At first let’s explain the definition of the force of stability :-
    The Stability is the force which prevent or try to prevent the change in the shape , volume or position of the object occurred by external force.
    Characteristics of Stability :-
    Stability always prevents the used force and tries to change its direction but it itself does not work. The quantity of stability is equal ratio of the inertia & elasticity of the object. stability depends on stability of the particular frame in which the object situated. In special condition the stability of object has a limitation and if more force is used, stability can not prevent it. The quantity of stability is possible to increase or decrease. If does not go highest position then stability is not wasted. The use of stability force never goes higher than the used force. Lets some events are explained:-
    Explanation- 1 A circular toy train is taken. As if it can move around freely its centre. When toy car is switch on , it goes forward and the railway goes backward. Suppose the car use p force and the railway prevent it with q force . When p> q then the railway prevented the p with q and q changes its direction of equal force q from p. By which force the car goes forward. With the rest force ( p – q ) the car goes backward . Here the quantity of q is stable so speed of the car does not increase though the quantity of p is increased but the railway moves faster as (p-q) increases. Again if p=q then the car goes forward with equal force of q , but ( p-q) = 0 then the railway remains fixed. If pExplanation- 2
    A gun of M mass use P force on a bullet of mass m(m< q and will not move if p≤q. Here M>> m and p>>q => r >>q. According to Newton’s second law of motion (p=mf). Here
    As for gun , q=Mfg [fg = Acceleration of gun ]
    => fg = q/M
    As for bullet , (p-q)= r =mfb [fb = Acceleration of bullet]
    => fb =r/m
    Now fb/fg = (r/m)/(q/M) =Mr/mq>>1
    =>fb >> fg.
    i.e. as the acceleration of bullet is great, the bullet moves very fast.
    Explanation-3
    A man is pushing a wall with force p. the stability of the wall is F , if the quantity of prevention of the wall is R ; When P= R ≤ F then the wall changes the direction by preventing the used force. So the wall does not break. When P>R=F then the quantity of the used force is more than the stability of the wall, and so the wall can not prevent the used force. As a result the wall remains broken. Am I wright ?

    Animesh Biswas
    Mobile: 09126578673(india)
    E mail: atheistanimesh@gmail.com

  4. To Every Action There Is No Equal And Opposite Reaction

    Why apple falls on the earth from the tree? Why it does not go high on the sky? At this scientist Newton was surprised. I also become surprised when mango falls from the tree. Why does the mango falls? According to my mother, it falls as it ripes. Then my question, why it falls when it ripes? Mother answered that when it ripes, its stem becomes loser. When mango hanged from tree , its weight mg (action) forced downwards , and the stem held the mango by the force (reaction) is equal to mg . After 1 second when it is falling , the weight of the mango was same as mg (action) , but the capturing capacity (reaction) of the stem was less than mg. so mango falls. i.e. before falling,
    The weight of the mango was mg(action) ≤ capturing capacity (reaction) of the stem. During falling ,
    the weight of the mango was mg (action)> capturing capacity (reaction)of the stem. i.e. the action and reaction during falling the mango are not equal. That proves incorrect of newton’s third law of motion. I try to understand on the other way. I hang a rope & strap 2kg weight with it , it is hanging; then hang 4kg , it is hanging. But it is fall down just when I hanging a 5kg weight in it. When there was hanging 2kg or 4kg weight, the capturing capacity of the rope was same or more than 4kg, but less than 5kg. So it is falls when 5kg is hanged.
    i.e. at 2kg or 4kg;
    The weight (action)≤ the capturing capacity (reaction) of the rope.
    At 5kg;
    The weight (action)> the capturing capacity (reaction) of the rope.
    Then again when 200gm weight is hanged in a cotton , it falls down. Here capturing capacity of cotton is less than 200gm. Then it can be said that the idea of reaction force of Newton does not depend on the quantity of using force , it depends on that object on which the force is used. Reaction is a personal characteristic of object. In particular situation a object has a limitation to react. Object can not reaction equally when standard of the action is more. Now let explain the motion of train ;
    Engine with mass m, is pulling the body with mass M(>>m) by p force. Body prevent it by force q . Now fe = acceleration of engine ; fb = acceleration of body ; From newton’s second law of motion(p=mf),
    At engine ; q=mfe => fe = q/m
    At body ; p= Mfb => fb = p/M
    According to Newton’s third law of motion action and reaction are equal. Here IqI=IpI=>ImfeI=ImfbI=>Ife/fbI=M/m=>IfeI>IfbI.
    As engine and body are connect with each other , so it never possible IfeI>IfbI.
    Therefore, IpI≠IqI.
    That means action and reaction are not equal.
    Original case, as engine & body are connected with each other so Ife I = Ifb I => Iq/mI = Ip/MI => Ip/qI = M/m => 1
    => IpI>IqI.
    So we can say as the engine create more force , it goes towards. Again if IpIAnother explain ;
    When the wheel of goods carrying lorry gets into the mud , the wheel is moving when the lorry use force. The wheel use force on the mud but the ability of protesting of mud comparatively low. So the mud can not protest the wheel equally. Then the mud begins to move instead of moving the wheel and so the wheel slips. In this matter the action and reaction are not equal also.
    That is , it can be said that the quantity of reaction is not related to action and they are not always equal.
    Do the action and reaction act opposite direction?
    According to Vector’s law , Resultant of two equal and opposite directed force is always zero. That is meant that if action and reaction are equal opposite directed then any work is not possible. whatever the direction of the action is , object always prevents at right angles to that plane of applied point . It can not be said in every field that the action and reaction acts on opposite direction.

  5. After 6 months of offering stem cell therapy in combination with the venous angioplasty liberation procedure, patients of CCSVI Clinic have reported excellent health outcomes. Ms. Kasma Gianopoulos of Athens Greece, who was diagnosed with the Relapsing/Remitting form of MS in 1997 called the combination of treatments a “cure”. “I feel I am completely cured” says Ms. Gianopoulos, “my symptoms have disappeared and I have a recovery of many functions, notably my balance and my muscle strength is all coming (back). Even after six months, I feel like there are good changes happening almost every day. Before, my biggest fear was that the changes wouldn’t (hold). I don’t even worry about having a relapse anymore. I’m looking forward to a normal life with my family. I think I would call that a miracle.”
    Other recent MS patients who have had Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation (ASCT), or stem cell therapy have posted videos and comments on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFQr2eqm3Cg.
    Dr. Avneesh Gupte, the Neurosurgeon at Noble Hospital performing the procedure has been encouraged by results in Cerebral Palsy patients as well. “We are fortunate to be able to offer the treatment because not every hospital is able to perform these types of transplants. You must have the specialized medical equipment and specially trained doctors and nurses”. With regard to MS patients, “We are cautious, but nevertheless excited by what patients are telling us. Suffice to say that the few patients who have had the therapy through us are noticing recovery of neuro deficits beyond what the venous angioplasty only should account for”.
    Dr. Unmesh of Noble continues: “These are early days and certainly all evidence that the combination of liberation and stem cell therapies working together at this point is anecdotal. However I am not aware of other medical facilities in the world that offer the synthesis of both to MS patients on an approved basis and it is indeed a rare opportunity for MS patients to take advantage of a treatment that is quite possibly unique in the world”.
    Autologous stem cell transplantation is a procedure by which blood-forming stem cells are removed, and later injected back into the patient. All stem cells are taken from the patient themselves and cultured for later injection. In the case of a bone marrow transplant, the HSC are typically removed from the Pelvis through a large needle that can reach into the bone. The technique is referred to as a bone marrow harvest and is performed under a general anesthesia. The incidence of patients experiencing rejection is rare due to the donor and recipient being the same individual.This remains the only approved method of the SCT therapy.

  6. “Unnecessary risks are being taken by patients seeking the liberation treatment.” says Dr. Avneesh Gupte of the CCSVI Clinic. “It has been our contention since we started doing minimally invasive venous angioplasties nearly 6 years ago that discharging patients who have had neck vein surgery on an outpatient basis is contra-indicated. We have been keeping patients hospitalized for a week to 10 days as a matter of safety and monitoring them for symptoms. Nobody who has the liberation therapy gets discharged earlier than that. During that time we do daily Doppler Ultrasounds, blood work and blood pressure monitoring among other testing. This has been the safe practice standard that we have adopted and this post-procedure monitoring over 10 days is the subject of our recent study as it relates to CCSVI for MS patients.”

    Although the venous angioplasty therapy on neck veins has been done for MS patients at CCSVI Clinic only for the last 18 months it has been performed on narrow or occluded neck veins for other reasons for many years. “Where we encounter blocked neck veins resulting in a reflux of blood to the brain, we treat it as a disease,” says Gupte. “It’s not normal pathology and we have seen improved health outcomes for patients where we have relieved the condition with minimal occurrences of re-stenosis long-term. We believe that our record of safety and success is due to our post-procedure protocol because we have had to take patients back to the OR to re-treat them in that 10-day period. Otherwise some people could have run into trouble, no question.”

    Calgary MS patient Maralyn Clarke died recently after being treated for CCSVI at Synergy Health Concepts of Newport Beach, California on an outpatient basis. Synergy Health Concepts discharges patients as a rule without in-clinic provisions for follow up and aftercare. Post-procedure, Mrs. Clarke was discharged, checked into a hotel, and suffered a massive bleed in the brain only hours after the procedure. Dr. Joseph Hewett of Synergy Health recently made a cross-Canada tour promoting his clinic for safe, effective treatment of CCSVI for MS patients at public forums in major Canadian cities including Calgary.

    “That just couldn’t happen here, but the sooner we develop written standards and best practices for the liberation procedure and observe them in practice, the safer the MS community will be”, says Dr. Gupte. “The way it is now is just madness. Everyone seems to be taking shortcuts. We know that it is expensive to keep patients in a clinical setting over a single night much less 10 days, but it’s quite absurd to release them the same day they have the procedure. We have always believed it to be unsafe and now it has proven to be unsafe. The thing is, are Synergy Health Concepts and other clinics doing the Liberation Treatment going to be changing their aftercare methods even though they know it is unsafe to release a patient on the same day? The answer is no, even after Mrs. Clarke’s unfortunate and unnecessary death. Therefore, they are not focused on patient safety…it’s become about money only and lives are being put at risk as a result.”

    Joanne Warkentin of Morden Manitoba, an MS patient who recently had both the liberation therapy and stem cell therapy at CCSVI Clinic agrees with Dr. Gupte. “Discharging patients on the same day as the procedure is ridiculous. I was in the hospital being monitored for 12 days before we flew back. People looking for a place to have the therapy must do their homework to find better options. We found CCSVI Clinic and there’s no place on earth that’s better to go for Liberation Therapy at the moment. I have given my complete medical file from CCSVI Clinic over to my Canadian physician for review.” For more information Log on to http://ccsviclinic.ca/?p=866 OR Call on Toll Free: 888-419-6855.

  7. One of these photos showing heart beat controller, I mean it looks like break system…, well how does it work?…ha ha ha ….. And if I ask that how was your experience? If you participated in it that would be more exciting for me and for other as well.

  8. aStem cells are “non-specialized” cells that have the potential to form into other types of specific cells, such as blood, muscles or nerves. They are unlike “differentiated” cells which have already become whatever organ or structure they are in the body. Stem cells are present throughout our body, but more abundant in a fetus.
    Medical researchers and scientists believe that stem cell therapy will, in the near future, advance medicine dramatically and change the course of disease treatment. This is because stem cells have the ability to grow into any kind of cell and, if transplanted into the body, will relocate to the damaged tissue, replacing it. For example, neural cells in the spinal cord, brain, optic nerves, or other parts of the central nervous system that have been injured can be replaced by injected stem cells. Various stem cell therapies are already practiced, a popular one being bone marrow transplants that are used to treat leukemia. In theory and in fact, lifeless cells anywhere in the body, no matter what the cause of the disease or injury, can be replaced with vigorous new cells because of the remarkable plasticity of stem cells. Biomed companies predict that with all of the research activity in stem cell therapy currently being directed toward the technology, a wider range of disease types including cancer, diabetes, spinal cord injury, and even multiple sclerosis will be effectively treated in the future. Recently announced trials are now underway to study both safety and efficacy of autologous stem cell transplantation in MS patients because of promising early results from previous trials.
    History
    Research into stem cells grew out of the findings of two Canadian researchers, Dr’s James Till and Ernest McCulloch at the University of Toronto in 1961. They were the first to publish their experimental results into the existence of stem cells in a scientific journal. Till and McCulloch documented the way in which embryonic stem cells differentiate themselves to become mature cell tissue. Their discovery opened the door for others to develop the first medical use of stem cells in bone marrow transplantation for leukemia. Over the next 50 years their early work has led to our current state of medical practice where modern science believes that new treatments for chronic diseases including MS, diabetes, spinal cord injuries and many more disease conditions are just around the corner.
    There are a number of sources of stem cells, namely, adult cells generally extracted from bone marrow, cord cells, extracted during pregnancy and cryogenically stored, and embryonic cells, extracted from an embryo before the cells start to differentiate. As to source and method of acquiring stem cells, harvesting autologous adult cells entails the least risk and controversy.
    Autologous stem cells are obtained from the patient’s own body; and since they are the patient’s own, autologous cells are better than both cord and embryonic sources as they perfectly match the patient’s own DNA, meaning that they will never be rejected by the patient’s immune system. Autologous transplantation is now happening therapeutically at several major sites world-wide and more studies on both safety and efficacy are finally being announced. With so many unrealized expectations of stem cell therapy, results to date have been both significant and hopeful, if taking longer than anticipated.
    What’s been the Holdup?
    Up until recently, there have been intense ethical debates about stem cells and even the studies that researchers have been allowed to do. This is because research methodology was primarily concerned with embryonic stem cells, which until recently required an aborted fetus as a source of stem cells. The topic became very much a moral dilemma and research was held up for many years in the US and Canada while political debates turned into restrictive legislation. Other countries were not as inflexible and many important research studies have been taking place elsewhere. Thankfully embryonic stem cells no longer have to be used as much more advanced and preferred methods have superseded the older technologies. While the length of time that promising research has been on hold has led many to wonder if stem cell therapy will ever be a reality for many disease types, the disputes have led to a number of important improvements in the medical technology that in the end, have satisfied both sides of the ethical issue.
    CCSVI Clinic
    CCSVI Clinic has been on the leading edge of MS treatment for the past several years. We are the only group facilitating the treatment of MS patients requiring a 10-day patient aftercare protocol following neck venous angioplasty that includes daily ultrasonography and other significant therapeutic features for the period including follow-up surgeries if indicated. There is a strict safety protocol, the results of which are the subject of an approved IRB study. The goal is to derive best practice standards from the data. With the addition of ASC transplantation, our research group has now preparing application for member status in International Cellular Medicine Society (ICMS), the globally-active non-profit organization dedicated to the improvement of cell-based medical therapies through education of physicians and researchers, patient safety, and creating universal standards. For more information please visit http://www.neurosurgeonindia.org/

  9. This is fantastic! Happened upon the article looking for other information, now my space crazy 9 year old daughter and I are hooked! Looking for the video online, and she just asked her dad if they can try to build one together this summer, I’ll set up a page on my to follow their progress 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. David Summers, a 37 year old MS patient from Murfreesboro, Tennessee was a score of 8.0 on the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) when he had the Combination Liberation Therapy and Stem Cell Transplantation at CCSVI Clinic in March of 2012. Having been diagnosed in 1996 he had been in a wheelchair for the past decade without any sensation below the waist or use of his legs.
    “It was late 2011 and I didn’t have much future to look forward to” says David. “My MS was getting more progressive and ravaging my body. I was diagnosed as an 8.0 on the EDSS scale; 1 being mild symptoms, 10 being death. There were many new lesions on my optic nerves, in my brain and on my spinal cord. My neurologist just told me: ‘be prepared to deteriorate’. I knew that he was telling me I didn’t have much time left, or at least not much with any quality.” David had previously sought out the liberation therapy in 2010 and had it done in a clinic in Duluth Georgia. “The Interventional Radiologist who did it told me that 50% of all MS patients who have the jugular vein-clearing therapy eventually restenose. I didn’t believe that would happen to me if I could get it done. But I have had MS for 16 years and apparently my veins were pretty twisted up”. Within 90 days, David’s veins had narrowed again, and worse, they were now blocked in even more places than before his procedure.
    “I was so happy after my original procedure in 2010. I immediately lost all of the typical symptoms of MS. The cog fog disappeared, my speech came back, the vision in my right eye improved, I was able to regulate my body temperature again, and some of the sensation in my hands came back. But as much as I wanted to believe I felt something, there was nothing below the waist. I kind of knew that I wouldn’t get anything back in my legs. There was just way too much nerve damage now”. But any improvements felt by David lasted for just a few months.
    After his relapse, David and his family were frustrated but undaunted. They had seen what opening the jugular veins could do to improve him. Because the veins had closed so quickly after his liberation procedure, they considered another clinic that advocated stent implants to keep the veins open, but upon doing their due diligence, they decided it was just too risky. They kept on searching the many CCSVI information sites that were cropping up on the Internet for something that offered more hope. Finding a suitable treatment, especially where there was no known cure for the disease was also a race against time. David was still suffering new attacks and was definitely deteriorating. Then David’s mother Janice began reading some patient blogs about a Clinic that was offering both the liberation therapy and adult autologous stem cell injections in a series of procedures during a hospital stay. “These patients were reporting a ‘full recovery’ of their neurodegenerative deficits” says Janice, “I hadn’t seen anything like that anywhere else”. She contacted CCSVI Clinic in late 2011 and after a succession of calls with the researchers and surgeons they decided in favor of the combination therapies.
    “I went to CCSVI Clinic in India without knowing what to expect” says David, “but I basically had one shot left and this was it. I was becoming pretty disabled, and I couldn’t think very clearly”. David was triaged with a clinic intake of other MS patients and had the liberation therapy on March 27, 2012. They also drew bone marrow from his hip bone in the same procedure. When he woke up from the procedure, he again felt the immediate effect of the widening of the veins. “In case anyone doesn’t believe that the liberation therapy works, I can tell them that this is much more than placebo effect.” The MS symptoms described earlier again disappeared. Four days later he had the first of the stem cell injections from the cultured cells taken from his hip bone during the liberation therapy. The first transplant was injected into the area just below his spine. Over the next 4 days he would receive about 100 million stem cells cultured in specific growth factors for differentiated effect.
    He was not quite prepared for what happened next. A few hours after the first transplant, he was taken back into his hospital room and was transferred to the hospital bed. “I’m not completely helpless when it comes to moving from a chair or a bed”, says David, “One of the things I can do for myself is to use my arms to throw my leg into a position to be able to shift the rest of my body weight over to where I’m going. But this time to my amazement, I didn’t have to pick up the dead weight of my leg and throw it. It moved on its own, exactly where my brain told it to go”. Shortly after his first stem cell transplant procedure, some motor function in his lower body had returned. “This was the first time in 10 years I had any sensation or motor function below my waste so it was quite a shock.”
    In the next month, most every motor nerve and body function has either returned or is on its way to recovery. “It’s been over a decade since I’ve had any power over my elimination functions. Now it’s all come back. I have total bladder control”. He’s also working out every day, following the physiotherapy routine given him by the clinic. “For years, I haven’t been able to work out without getting sick for a couple of days afterward. Now I have muscles popping out all over the place where I haven’t seen them since my MS became progressive…and I can work out as hard or as much as I want. With my ability to do the hard work my balance is improving each day and I’m able to take steps unassisted. I’m definitely going to be coming all the way back.”
    Dr. Av Gupte, the neurosurgeon who has now done over 2000 adult autologous stem cell transplants for various neurologic disease conditions says that the stem cells in David’s body will continue to work their healing process for the next year. “With the incredible progress I’ve seen so far, I won’t need a year”, says David. “It’s only been a little over two months and I have most everything back. I can’t wait to get up each day to check out my improvements. My right hand is completely back to normal without any numbness and the left is on its way. I have good strength in my legs now and I’m working on the balance”.
    Other MS patients treated with the combination therapy over the past 18 months have seen similar improvements but none have been as disabled as David. “If I can come back from where I was, most everyone with MS could too. For me, CCSVI Clinic has been my miracle and I can’t say enough about the doctors, researchers and staff who are helping me to recover. For me, MS was my previous diagnosis”.For more information please visit http://www.ccsviclinic.ca/?p=904

  11. Now this is quite the vehicle! Id love to be rollin down the street in one of these!! Good luck with the project!

  12. Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI), or the pathological restriction of venous vessel discharge from the CNS has been proposed by Zamboni, et al, as having a correlative relationship to Multiple Sclerosis. From a clinical perspective, it has been demonstrated that the narrowed jugular veins in an MS patient, once widened, do affect the presenting symptoms of MS and the overall health of the patient. It has also been noted that these same veins once treated, restenose after a time in the majority of cases. Why the veins restenose is speculative. One insight, developed through practical observation, suggests that there are gaps in the therapy protocol as it is currently practiced. In general, CCSVI therapy has focused on directly treating the venous system and the stenosed veins. Several other factors that would naturally affect vein recovery have received much less consideration. As to treatment for CCSVI, it should be noted that no meaningful aftercare protocol based on evidence has been considered by the main proponents of the ‘liberation’ therapy (neck venoplasty). In fact, in all of the clinics or hospitals examined for this study, patients weren’t required to stay in the clinical setting any longer than a few hours post-procedure in most cases. Even though it has been observed to be therapeutically useful by some of the main early practitioners of the ‘liberation’ therapy, follow-up, supportive care for recovering patients post-operatively has not seriously been considered to be part of the treatment protocol. To date, follow-up care has primarily centered on when vein re-imaging should be done post-venoplasty. The fact is, by that time, most patients have restenosed (or partially restenosed) and the follow-up Doppler testing is simply detecting restenosis and retrograde flow in veins that are very much deteriorated due to scarring left by the initial procedure. This article discusses a variable approach as to a combination of safe and effective interventional therapies that have been observed to result in enduring venous drainage of the CNS to offset the destructive effects of inflammation and neurodegeneration, and to regenerate disease damaged tissue.
    As stated, it has been observed that a number of presenting symptoms of MS almost completely vanish as soon as the jugulars are widened and the flows equalize in most MS patients. Where a small number of MS patients have received no immediate benefit from the ‘liberation’ procedure, flows in subject samples have been shown not to have equalized post-procedure in these patients and therefore even a very small retrograde blood flow back to the CNS can offset the therapeutic benefits. Furthermore once the obstructed veins are further examined for hemodynamic obstruction and widened at the point of occlusion in those patients to allow full drainage, the presenting symptoms of MS retreat. This noted observation along with the large number of MS patients who have CCSVI establish a clear association of vein disease with MS, although it is clearly not the disease ‘trigger’.For more information please visit http://www.ccsviclinic.ca/?p=978

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