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Re-growing Nerves After Spinal Cord Injury

| Source: ivanhoe.com

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — In a recent study, researchers from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor have uncovered a treatment involving the use of the enzyme sialidase to help regain growth of the spinal cord nerves after an injury.

Researchers mirrored a human injury in rats that would occur if the arm were forcefully tugged from the body, causing nerves to be jerked from the spinal cord, the arm to lose muscle and feeling, and the body to become unable to support the arm, such as in childbirth or a motorcycle accident. This was mimicked by severing nerves between the rats shoulder and spinal cord.

Rats were then given one of three enzymes into a transplanted nerve, put in to rejoin damaged nerve ends. Four weeks later, dyes were injected into the nerves to observe the growth of nerve fibers.

Sialidase, one of the enzymes given, proved to be effective, revealing more than twice the amount of new nerve fibers created by the dummy treatment of saline.

“Molecules in the Environment of the injured spinal cord are specifically instructing the nerve not to re-grow,” according to Ronald Schnaar, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins. However, he adds researchers “have established that the enzyme sialidase, which destroys one of the molecules that inhibits nerve Regeneration, is sufficient to robustly improve nerve fiber outgrowth from the spinal cord.”

Surgical procedures to help nerve fiber growth are sometimes helpful, but researchers believe the addition of this treatment could be beneficial.

Dr. Schnaar and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins are testing sialidase to see if it can assist in other types of spinal cord injuries.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.

SOURCE: Researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 2006

2 COMMENTS

  1. When I see articles like this one bring a nre since of hope. My daughter is paralyzed from a car accident that happen in December of 2000. It has been 7 years and all these article really haven’t seem to make much progress to having my daughter or the other 400,000 plus individuals to have a normal life. I love you article on Kaite in late December 2007, becasue I can relate to many of her mothers emotions. Alexis is considered a Triplegic incomplete, she has feeling all over her body, but no movement below the waist. Her left arm is much weekier than the right but she gets around very well. This is her first year in High School and she loves it. She has her older sister Brittane’ there to make she fits in all the time. All of Brittane’ friends just love her because the smile she has will melt anyones heart. Believe me when I tell you it would. I love you web-site it’s a one shopping site to keep my family updated on the many life changes. One day the real magic medical procedure will be here.

  2. I wish my unfortunate mother could benefit from the cure who lost the functions of both arms at the hands of criminal italian doctors during an angiographic exam.

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