Monday, August 21, 2006

Progress Reported on Spinal Cord Repair

Neuroscience researchers from several U.S. universities report they recently bypassed a roadblock in spinal cord repair.

When an injury occurs in the spine, the body's defense is to build a scar to prevent further injury. However, the scar also stops all neural traffic from moving, leading to paralysis.

Researchers from Drexel University, University of Arkansas and Case Western Reserve University said they found a way around the obstacle, Case Western Reserve`s Science Daily reported.

The researchers regenerated the severed nerve fibers around the initial lesion by taking a peripheral nerve from the leg of the same animal with the spine injury. They then jump-started neural traffic by allowing the nerve fibers to exit.

This was accomplished by using an enzyme that stopped molecules that inhibit growth, allowing the nerve fibers to reconnect with the spinal cord.

The breakthrough could mean a bright future for the aid of paraplegics and quadriplegics Science Daily said.

By United Press International