MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bradley T. Lang, PhD Researcher, Jerry Silver Lab Department of Neurosciences Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
University Of Maryland School Of Medicine researchers find that spinal cord injuries can cause brain degeneration
Baltimore, Md., November 14, 2014–Most research on spinal cord injuries has focused on effects due to spinal cord damage and scientists have neglected the effects on brain function. University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) researchers have found for the first time that spinal cord injuries (SCI) can cause widespread and sustained brain inflammation that leads to progressive loss of nerve cells, with associated cognitive problems and depression.
Motor commands issued by the brain to activate arm muscles take two different routes. As the research group led by Professor Silvia Arber at the Basel University Biozentrum and the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research has now discovered, many neurons in the spinal cord send their instructions not only towards the musculature, but at the same time also back to the brain via an exquisitely organized network. This dual information stream provides the neural basis for accurate control of arm and hand movements. These findings have now been published in Cell.
A systematic survey of the scientific literature shows that stem cell therapy can have a statistically significant impact on animal models of spinal cord injury, and points the way for future studies.
Spinal cord injuries are mostly caused by trauma, often incurred in road traffic or sporting incidents, often with devastating and irreversible consequences, and unfortunately having a relatively high prevalence (250,000 patients in the USA; 80% of cases are male). High-profile campaigners like the late actor Christopher Reeve, himself a victim of sports-related spinal cord injury, have placed high hopes in stem cell transplantation. But how likely is it to work?
Inhaling less oxygen, known as, boosts the walking abilities of patients with spinal injuries, according to a counterintuitive treatment described today in the journal Neurology.
Scientists fromfound that intermittent, but safe, exposure to hypoxia could improve both walking endurance and speed for patients with spinal injuries that have not completely eliminated the capacity to take steps.
New Rochelle, NY — Performing surgery to take pressure off the spine after a traumatic injury soon after the event could prevent or reverse some of the secondary damage caused by swelling and decreased blood flow to the injured spine.
However, strong evidence to support early spinal surgery is lacking, mainly because the available study data cannot be easily compared, as explained in a review of this controversial field published in Journal of Neurotrauma, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.
Deep-brain stimulation, a technique used for more than a decade to manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, may help restore greater function and more natural movement to patients with spinal cord injuries that have left at least a few nerves intact, new research says.
A study published this week in the journal Science Translational Medicine showed that in rats whose spinal cords were partially severed, the implantation of a pacemaker in the brain’s mesencephalic locomotor region – a control center for the initiation of movement – restored the hind limbs’ ability to run and support weight to near-normal levels.
A push to alert high school athletes about neck injuries
A new push is under way to raise awareness of a little-understood but dangerous risk to young athletes: damage to the cervical spine.
It could be a hard tackle in football, a cross-check in ice hockey or a fall off the top of a cheerleading pyramid.
A new push is under way to raise awareness of a little-understood but dangerous risk to young athletes: injuries to the cervical spine, the highly vulnerable area between the first and seventh vertebrae that protects the spinal cord connecting the brain to the body. Players and teammates may not instantly recognize the severity of the damage, and the wrong move can damage or sever the spinal cord, resulting in paralysis or even death.
You’re 17, and the most pressing concerns in your life are binge-drinking, prom, and being your parents’ worst nightmare. The so-called “real world” is incomprehensible to you, and you’re still proud of that freshly printed piece of plastic in your wallet called a “driver’s license.” Doesn’t 17 seem far away? That’s because, for most of us, it is. Senior year, college, jobs, and attendant emotional baggage have come and gone since then. But 17 is how old Jesse Billauer was when he lost the use of his legs. He was just a kid.
Maintaining health can prevent secondary complications from developing, new book says
oanne Smith and Kylie James knew that diet plays a significant role in the health of people with neurological disorders. But they couldn’t find published material to that back knowledge up.
So Smith, a registered nutritionist with a spinal cord injury, and James, a nutritionist and occupational therapist specializing in neurological disorders, decided to produce a book themselves. They did it with a grant from the Paralyzed Veterans of America.