Category: ‘Research for a Cure’


Improving Treatment of Spinal Cord Injuries

Posted on August 14th, 2020

Osmotic therapy device reduces swelling to prevent secondary injuries in rats

When injured, the spinal cord swells, restricting blood flow and causing critical and permanent motor, sensory, and autonomic function damage. Rapid prevention of spinal cord swelling immediately after injury is key to preventing more serious damage. The only treatment to date has been steroid therapy with methylprednisolone, which is minimally effective.

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Restoring Mobility by Identifying the Neurons that Make it Possible

Posted on July 21st, 2020

Stimulated Neurons
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Researchers at EPFL were able to get paralyzed rodents walking again by stimulating the animals’ damaged spinal cords. This promising treatment has already helped paraplegics regain mobility during clinical trials at Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV). Now, using artificial intelligence, the researchers can pinpoint which neurons are involved in the gait reacquisition process. The results, which have been published in Nature Biotechnology, could lead to the development of new approaches, making treatments even more effective, as well as paving the way for advances in other areas of biomedical research.

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Paralyzed Mice with Spinal Cord Injury Made to Walk Again

Posted on July 20th, 2020

Cross section of a mouse spinal cord.
A cross section of a mouse spinal cord, stained two different ways, showing increased expression of KCC2 in inhibitory neurons. This increased expression correlated with improved motor function, including ankle movement and stepping. Credit: Zhigang He Lab, Boston Children’s Hospital

Most people with spinal cord injury are paralyzed from the injury site down, even when the cord isn’t completely severed. Why don’t the spared portions of the spinal cord keep working? Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital now provide insight into why these nerve pathways remain quiet. They also show that a small-molecule compound, given systemically, can revive these circuits in paralyzed mice, restoring their ability to walk.

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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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