Implantable technology to restore sensation and walking in spinal cord injury patients
Irvine, Calif., Sept. 13, 2017 — The National Science Foundation has awarded $8 million to a consortium led by the University of California, Irvine to develop a brain-computer interface that can restore walking ability and sensation in individuals with spinal cord injury. This initiative represents the largest NSF award received by faculty researchers in the UCI engineering and medicine schools. Continue Reading »
Scientists have learned more about how a new surgical technique works to reconnect the spinal cord with sensory neurons after traumatic spinal injuries. A rat study suggests that this procedure encourages new growth from spinal neurons, and if this is how it works in humans, it could be used to repair other kinds of injuries, including severed spinal cords.
Reconnecting The Motor Root
Scientists in Sweden and the U.K. developed a surgical technique to reconnect the spinal cord with sensory neurons after traumatic spinal injuries. Now, by recreating the technique in rats, they have new insights into the cellular processes implicated in the technique. Continue Reading »
Until World War II, people with spinal cord injuries had few treatment or rehabilitation options. And even today, spinal cord injuries can have catastrophic effects on everything from mobility to sensation, bladder, bowel and sexual function.
However, over the past 20 years, several breakthroughs in spinal cord repair and technology have emerged. No single breakthrough has achieved a full repair, but each has advanced our understanding of the complexities of spinal cord injuries. Here are ten of the most important advances in spinal cord injury repair. Continue Reading »
A new gene therapy that may restore some movement function to people with recent spinal cord injuries is the focus for spinal cord injury researcher, Jarred Griffin.
The new technique involves using gene therapy technology to insert genes into damaged spinal cord tissue to allow the motor neurons to potentially regrow and restore function.
It’s very early days in the development of the technology, says Jarred, (25) who is a doctoral student in the Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland, working with a team of researchers to pioneer the gene therapy. Continue Reading »
“We are trying to improve someone’s quality of life. If someone can breathe without a ventilator, then you’ve increased their independence, and that, to me, is a huge success.” –Michael Lane, PhD
Walking is not the top priority for many patients who have suffered from cervical spinal cord injuries, according to Michael Lane, PhD,an assistant professor at Drexel University College of Medicine. Continue Reading »
Spinal cord repair and rehabilitation is a difficult but important topic to research, can you please give a brief overview of research in this field?
There are many grades of spinal cord injuries, in terms of range of movement, from small disabilities to becoming wheelchair bound for the rest of your life, the range is very broad.
There are many different approaches to try to overcome these disabilities, with key areas of research being focussed on developing stem cell therapies and using growth factors to promote regrowth of the nerve tissue after the injury. Continue Reading »
Swiss researchers travel to China to conduct pioneering experiment.
For more than a decade, neuroscientist Grégoire Courtine has been flying every few months from his lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne to another lab in Beijing, China, where he conducts research on monkeys with the aim of treating spinal-cord injuries. Continue Reading »
James Tour, a chemist at Rice University, stated that a treatment procedure to heal damaged spinal cords by combining graphene nanoribbons produced with a process invented at Rice and a common polymer is expected to gain importance.
As stated in an issue of Nature from 2009, chemists at the Tour lab started their research work with the discovery of a chemical process to unravel graphene nanoribbons from the multiwalled carbon nanotubes, and have been working with graphene nanoribbons for almost 10 years now. Continue Reading »
Snakes owe their long and slithery bodies to “junk DNA,” large chunks of the reptile’s genome that scientists once thought to be useless. The gene called Oct4 may eventually help treat people with spinal injuries.
Oct4 is responsible for regulating stem cells and affects the growth of the trunk in the middle part of a vertebrate’s body.
Study researcher Rita Aires, from Portugal’s Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia (IGC), explained that genes involved in the formation of the trunk have to stop their activities so that the genes that are involved in tail formation can begin their work. Continue Reading »