Thursday, February 03, 2005

Australian breakthrough in spinal cord research

An Australian breakthrough in spinal cord injury research could help patients with bowel, bladder and sexual function problems.

The research shows those functions are controlled by nerve cells in the spine rather than in the brain.

The principal Research Fellow of the National Health and Medical Research Council, Professor Ida Llewellyn-Smith, says the finding has huge potential.

"If there is this whole network of nerve cells in the spinal cord that are actually the major control centre, then it might be actually much easier to get these functions back than to get blood pressure control back to normal where most of the neurons that actually control that function live in the brain," Professor Llewellyn-Smith said.