Category: ‘Research for a Cure’


An Engineering Approach to Shape Neuronal Connections

Posted on June 8th, 2020

Precise control over neuron growth paves the way for repairing injuries, improving brain models.

Arlotta Neuron Growth
Neurons in the zebrafish, where Harvard researchers tested their approach to direct axon growth. Credit: Arlotta Laboratory/Harvard University

Harvard University researchers have developed an engineering technique to precisely control the direction that neurons grow their axons, cable-like structures that allow nerve cells to connect with each other. In a zebrafish model, researchers used the approach to correct defective neural connections and restore the neuron’s ability to cause muscle contractions.

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New Treatment Discovered to Reduce Swelling after Spinal Cord Injuries

Posted on May 16th, 2020

Scientists have discovered a new treatment to dramatically reduce swelling after brain and spinal cord injuries, offering hope to 75 million victims worldwide each year.

Stem Cell Therapy

The breakthrough in treating such injuries – referred to as central nervous system (CNS) oedema – is thought to be hugely significant because current options are limited to putting patients in an induced coma or performing risky surgery.

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Scientists Regenerate Neurons in Mice with Spinal Cord Injury and Optic Nerve Damage

Posted on April 30th, 2020

Axon Regeneration
Injured CNS axons fail to regenerate in adult mammals and there are no effective regenerative strategies to treat patients with CNS injuries. Dr. Li’s group demonstrates that upregulating Lin28 gene in mature neurons induces significant long distance regeneration of both spinal cord axons and optic nerve in adult mice.

Like power lines in an electrical grid, long wiry projections that grow outward from neurons – structures known as axons – form interconnected communication networks that run from the brain to all parts of the body. But unlike an outage in a power line, which can be fixed, a break in an axon is permanent. Each year thousands of patients confront this reality, facing life-long losses in sensation and motor function from spinal cord injury and related conditions in which axons are badly damaged or severed.

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Study Shows Sense of Touch Can Be Returned to Those with Spinal Cord Injury

Posted on April 24th, 2020

A painting of two human hands about to touch.
Photo by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

The lack of sensation that accompanies paralysis is an additional burden that has, until now, been a problem that science has not been able to remedy.

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Adult Brain Cells Revert Back to Embryonic State After Injury, Study Finds

Posted on April 17th, 2020

When adult brain cells are injured, they revert to an embryonic state, according to new findings published in the April 15, 2020 issue of Nature by researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues elsewhere. The scientists report that in their newly adopted immature state, the cells become capable of re-growing new connections that, under the right conditions, can help to restore lost function.

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