Monthly Archives: December 2008
Fat cells treat spinal cord injury
Tampa, Fla. (Dec. 10, 2008) – A study published in the current issue of CELL TRANSPLANTATION (Vol.17, No. 8) suggests that mature adipocytes – fat cells – could become a source for cell replacement therapy to treat central nervous system disorders.
According to the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Yuki Ohta of the Institute of Medical Science, St. Mariana University School of Medicine, Kawasaki, Japan, adipose-derived stem/stromal cells have in the past been shown to differentiate into neuronal cells in an in vitro setting.
The Association for Rehabilitation of Spinal Cord Injuries (ARSCI) recently announced the forthcoming launch of Sri Lanka’s first ever Rehabilitation Centre for Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI) situated adjoining the Ragama Teaching Hospital. The ‘ARSCI Centre’ is donated by the Hussein Esufally Charitable Trust and is expected to be fully operational in February 2009.
Addressing a media conference on the occasion of World Disability Day (03 December), President of the Sri Lanka Medical Association Prof. Lalitha Mendis said, “Disability due to Spinal Cord Injury has become a major problem with the increasing number of road traffic and other accidents such as falls from heights such as trees.
Spinal cord injury treatment maker InVivo Therapeutics Corp. has successfully wrapped up preliminary primate studies and is now looking to secure funds to go prime time.
During the summer, InVivo completed a primate and rodent study that demonstrated InVivo’s polymer-based technologies to be 100 percent effective, said Frank Reynolds, CEO of the Cambridge-based company.
IT’S been two minutes and I’ve already got a nasty sweat up.
The carpet looked easy enough, but even my slight frame caused the wheelchair to dig in as if it was on soft sand, washing away any speed and wasting precious arm strokes.
Add in a dodgy front wheel that kept deciding left (usually towards the stairs) was the best direction and after 10 minutes of dodging desks, lift doors and walls, I was ready for a break.
And this is at a workplace set up to be wheelchair-friendly.
HeadNorth Foundation has pledged $975,000 to Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Burnham) to support cutting-edge stem cell research. The funding, part of HeadNorth’s Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Project, will support efforts by Dr. Evan Snyder, Stem Cell Program Director at Burnham and Dr. Mark Tuszynski, Director, Center for Neural Repair at the University of California, San Diego, to use stem cells to treat chronic spinal cord injuries.
“One of the main hopes of the spinal cord injury community is that the future holds a cure for paralysis,” said Randal Schober, HeadNorth’s executive director. “We at HeadNorth believe that stem cells may hold the key to bringing that hope to fruition.”
Treatment benefits exaggerated, risks underestimated, researchers warn
Stem cell clinics promising costly cures for everything from Parkinson’s disease to spinal cord injury grossly exaggerate the cells’ benefits and gravely underestimate the potential risks, warn researchers.
The clinics, most of them in China, India and Latin America, solicit customers over the Internet and typically charge about $21,500 for treatments that infuse “stem cells” into the blood, brain or spine.
Interacting with people who use mobility aids
Probably the most recognisable form of Disability is physical. Yes, it is absolutely true! People using crutches, a wheelchair or some other mobility assistive equipment are almost always immediately identified as having a disability. The question is, is it always true? In most cases, yes it is, however, the severity of the disability is what is mostly misunderstood. Just because a person may be using a wheelchair does not mean they are totally unable to walk. It may simply mean that their physical limitation may not allow them to walk for long distances so they may use the aid of a wheelchair.