Daily Archives: February 26, 2016
“Research in this field is progressing but, predictably, has a long way to go”
Believe it or not, we are electrical creatures. Each and every living cell in your body is electrically active. The sodium-potassium pump, which you may remember from secondary school biology, pumps sodium ions out of the cell and potassium ions in, creating a difference in charge across the cell membrane. Neurons exploit these differences in charge and ion concentrations to rapidly carry signals down the length of their cell bodies and trigger the release of chemical messengers.
Three years ago, Michael Fraser broke his neck in a diving accident near his Vandergrift home but remembers little about it.
But in April, the man with quadriplegia underwent an experimental neural stem-cell procedure that wasn’t only a life-changing experience but could represent the first interventional treatment for spinal cord injuries.
Mr. Fraser, 24, now can lift himself from his wheelchair into bed without assistance. He breathes more freely and deeply and has greater core strength with better dexterity. Previously he could manage only a half-mile on his arm-powered elliptical but now does two to three miles, he said.