Embryonic stem cell research is offering new hope to millions of men who suffer daily from the effects of backbone injuries acquired during childhood and adolescence. According to Dr Gung-Ho at the University of Penisilvania Medical Centre, this new treatment could offer a permanent cure to men suffering from a specific type of spinal injury that has been dubbed Nice Guy Syndrome.
“I see these guys in my clinic all the time”, says Dr Gung-Ho. “Their condition usually results from an injury to their backbone during childhood or adolescence, often caused by a domineering mother crushing their spirit between the second and third vertebrae”. Dr Gung-Ho also cites a lack of strong fathering as a significant factor in these injuries. “It really has terrible impact on their confidence and self-esteem.”, he says, “These guys grow into spineless men barely able to stand up... for themselves. They suffer teasing and ridicule at school, and never reach their full potential in life. They can't walk tall, so women either avoid them or relegate them to the 'friend zone'. It's a very frustrating condition.”
A clinical trial of a radical new treatment is currently under way at the university using injections of embryonic stem cells to regrow the backbone in affected men.
Germaine Steadfast's husband Philip is participating in the trial, and has been achieving remarkable results. “Before this treatment, my husband could barely stand up. Especially not to me!”, says Mrs Steadfast, “He was just spineless. Now, he tells me what he's really thinking, and doesn't hold back so much. I don't always like what I hear, but it's such a relief to finally know where I really stand with him.”
The Steadfast's relationship was at breaking point before the treatment. “Germaine has always been the boss at home, and I thought she liked it that way”, says Philip, “Then she started talking about falling out of love with me and possibly leaving! I'd always tried so hard to make her happy too. I would always put my own needs aside to accommodate her and do what she wanted. So it was a huge shock to me.”
That was then. This is now: “Now, I'm the man, and I make decisions for myself. If she disagrees, we discuss it, but I stick to my point of view unless she shows me something I've missed. And you know what? She actually loves it when I stand up to her! It gives her a break from having to run everything all the time. She's more relaxed, less bossy, and more interested in sex with me than ever! Nowadays I take control, and it's as if it triggers some primitive part of her brain that we never knew existed.”.
“Too right!”, says Germaine, “I've never been so attracted to Philip before and I have no idea why. But I don't care; it's just the icing on the cake I guess! Look, is this interview nearly done? I'm really feeling so turned on... come on Philip let's go...”
Damage to the upper spinal vertebrae affects the nerves running between the brain and the mouth, causing sufferers to self-censor everything they say in the hope that it will get the listener to like them. “Unfortunately, even though they're trying so hard to overcome this disability in the hope that you will like them, they just come across as nervous, shifty and hard to pin down.”, says Dr Gung-Ho. “The nerve damage prevents them ever expressing a strong opinion on anything, and makes it impossible for them to commit to things. They seem friendly enough at first, but after a short time you notice their blandness and can sense that they have no backbone. And they're just not very interesting to talk to.”
The injury also prevents proper emotional expression, leading to men who operate on the lowest common denominator all the time to avoid offending anyone. “Ironically, these guys are generally very sensitive and highly emotional.” adds Dr Gung-Ho. “They have very strong feelings and opinions. But they've bottled it all up because the backbone injury prevents them revealing their true selves. They may seem placid on the surface but these guys are often at bursting point, boiling emotionally and really suffering inside. They just don't know what to do to release it.”
Joe Average is a single guy participating in the trial. “Oh man, I used to be all over the place before this treatment. I would change my tune according to whoever I was around at the time. I thought this would make women like me, and want to jump into bed with me because I was so accommodating. Yet somehow things never worked out that way.”
After 6 weeks on the backbone regrowth trial, Joe's love life has changed dramatically. “Now, I speak my mind without trying to make people like me. It feels great! I can stand up for myself now I've got a decent spine. And you know what? Women love it! Even the ones who disagree with me seem more engaged when I talk to them. It's like there's something triggering in them that I've never seen or felt before. Dr Gung-Ho says it's called a genuine emotional connection. And my sex life has never been better! I'm so grateful to him.”
Regulatory approval for the new treatment regimen is likely to take a minimum of 5 to 10 years, depending on the successful outcome of the clinical trial. In the mean time, cognitive/behavioural treatment programs such as those in No More Mr Nice Guy by Dr Robert Glover and Confident Man by Graham Stoney offer the best hope for men suffering from a lack of backbone.