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Scientists re-establish walking in mice with damaged spinal cord

| Source: newstrackindia.com

A research by Michael Sofroniew, MD, PhD, Professor of Neurobiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has arisen a new hope in millions of lives who get arrested at some period of their life because of paralyses.

This recent studshows that by rewiring nerve fibers near the injury site allowed mice to walk again after a spinal cord injury.

The research in laboratory in mice has suggested that rewiring may be easier way to re-establish walking after spinal cord injury. It is noted that people with such injuries lose the ability to walk because of severely damaged and crushed nerves.

But researchers say neurons within healthy portions of the spinal cord near the injured portion rewire themselves after injury; harnessing this natural healing power may provide a simpler and better way to regain walking after spinal cord injury.

?Imagine the long nerve fibers that run between the cells in the brain and lower spinal cord as major freeways,? says researcher Michael Sofroniew during a press release.

?When there’s a traffic accident on the freeway, what do drivers do? They take shorter surface streets. These detours aren’t as fast or direct, but still allow drivers to reach their destination,? he explains.

?When spinal cord damage blocked direct signals from the brain, under certain conditions the messages were able to make detours around the injury. The message would follow a series of shorter connections to deliver the brain’s command to move the legs,? he mentioned further.

During the study the researchers blocked half of the long nerves fiber in the spinal cord of both sides but left the centre untouched, with shorter interconnected nerves.

The study shows that most of the mice could regain the ability to control their legs within eight weeks and the mice could walk slowly recovering mobility.

But when the researcher blocked the short nerve pathways in the centre the mice could not walked which was a confirmation that the nervous system had rerouted the messages from the brain to the spinal cord.

“Our study has identified cells that we can target to try to restore communication between the brain and spinal cord,” says Sofroniew.

?If we can use existing nerve connections instead of attempting to rebuild the nervous system the way it existed before injury, our job of repairing spinal cord damage will become much easier,? he added.
In paralyses generally mobility of a person is lost because of impaired signal of brain but generally is regained over a period of time in some cases and if scientists can find how a signal is being re routed it would accomplish a major hurdle in the field of Neurobiolo

NI Wire – New Delhi

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