Monthly Archives: March 2017
First recipient of implanted brain-recording and muscle-stimulating systems reanimates limb that had been stilled for eight years.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A drug developed during World War II as an antidote for a chemical warfare agent has been found to be effective at suppressing a neurotoxin that worsens the pain and severity of spinal cord injuries, suggesting a new tool to treat the injuries.
The neurotoxin, called acrolein, is produced within the body after nerve cells are damaged, increasing pain and triggering a cascade of biochemical events thought to worsen the injury’s severity.
OLYMPIA, Wash. – A fierce hit during a 2015 game against the Dallas Cowboys knocked Seahawk Ricardo Lockette out of his football career, but helped him into becoming a top ambassador for spinal cord research.
For a soldier who suffered a spinal cord injury on the battlefield, the promise of regenerative medicine is to fully repair the resulting limb paralysis. But that hope is still years from reality.
Not only powerful, but efficient. Studying diseases in lab-created tissue may help reduce the price tag — now roughly $1.8 billion — for bringing a new drug to market, which is one of the reasons Ashton received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award for advancing tissue engineering of the human spinal cord. During the project’s five-year funding period, his lab in the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery will fine-tune the technology for growing a neural tube, the developmental predecessor of the spinal cord, from scratch.
The majority of spinal cord injuries are still caused by traumatic events, such as road traffic accidents or falls. Sports injuries and violence are also common causes of spinal cord injuries. A (so-called) non-traumatic injury can occur because of arthritis, inflammation, infections or disc degeneration of the spine that can cause compression and therefore damage to the spinal cord. The incidence of non-traumatic injuries is increasing, partly due to better reporting but also due to the impact of an increasingly aging population.
DOUMA, Syria, March 15 (Reuters) – Ziad, a paralyzed 14-year-old boy, often stays alone in his room as bombs fall on Douma, the main rebel-stronghold in eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus.
Limited in scope, number and size, there are no nearby shelters equipped to receive Ziad who cannot be moved quickly or easily during airstrikes because of his spinal injuries.
“The shelters are not ready to accept people like me,” he said.
Until last year, treatment options were limited for spinal patients caught in a brutal civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced more than 11 million.
Anna Claire Stokes had a wedding to coordinate. Thanks to her new Shepherd Center family, no spinal cord injury was going to derail her plans.
In a hospital in Switzerland, permanently paralyzed people are now learning to walk again with the help of stimulating electrodes implanted in their spines. For Grégoire Courtine, professor of neuroprosthetics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), this day has been a long time coming. “It took us 15 years to get from paralyzed rats to the first steps in humans,” he says. “Maybe in 10 more years, our technology will be ready for the clinic.”
Courtine has made it his mission to reverse paralysis. He started 15 years ago with those paralyzed rats, putting tiny electrical implants into their spines to stimulate nerve fibers below the site of their spinal cord injuries.
A UCLA professor is working to develop a treatment for spinal cord injuries, which are currently incurable.
Stephanie Seidlits, assistant professor of bioengineering, will attempt to use biomaterial made out of hyaluronic acid – a long chain of sugars in the body – to create a treatment that can be injected into spinal cords. Seidlits will conduct the research with students using a $500,000 grant she won March 1.
The prestigious CAREER award, granted by the National Science Foundation, aims to support scholars who effectively integrate research with education.
Discovery could be key to treating brain and spinal cord injury
A foray into plant biology led one researcher to discover that a natural molecule can repair axons, the thread-like projections that carry electrical signals between cells. Axonal damage is the major culprit underlying disability in conditions such as spinal cord injury and stroke.
Andrew Kaplan, a PhD candidate at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital of McGill University, was looking for a pharmacological approach to axon regeneration, with a focus on 14-3-3, a family of proteins with neuroprotective functions that have been under investigation in the laboratory of Dr. Alyson Fournier, professor of neurology and neurosurgery and senior author on the study.