Improving treatment of spinal cord injuries
When injured, the spinal cord swells, restricting blood flow and causing critical and permanent motor, sensory, and autonomic function damage. Rapid prevention of spinal cord swelling immediately after injury is key to preventing more serious damage. The only treatment to date has been steroid therapy with methylprednisolone, which is minimally effective.
Polymerized estrogen shown to protect nervous system cells. Research could enable improved treatment of spinal cord injuries.
Spinal cord damage that causes paralysis and reduced mobility doesn’t always stop with the initial trauma, but there are few treatment options to halt increased deterioration — and there is no cure. Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a promising new biomaterial that could offer targeted treatment to the damaged spinal cord and tissue, preventing further damage.
Acupuncture improves bladder function for spinal cord injury patients. First Affiliated Huai’an People’s Hospital of Nanjing Medical University researchers find acupuncture combined with intermittent catheterization alleviates neurogenic bladder dysfunction caused by traumatic spinal cord injuries . The study found significant improvements in bladder capacity, residual volume, urinary flow rate, urinary volume, and detrusor pressure following this combined treatment approach.
Injuries to the spinal cord can cause permanent paralysis and even lead to death, with little to no hope of regaining lost functions once the trauma has occurred.
Dr Jerry Silver and his team at Case Western Reserve University Medical School, USA, have been working to understand why nerves that are damaged through spinal injury don’t regenerate and to identify non-invasive, easy to administer strategies that can promote robust functional recovery.
Chief among their worries is insufficient evidence that the therapy works.
Japan has approved a stem-cell treatment for spinal-cord injuries. The event marks the first such therapy for this kind of injury to receive government approval for sale to patients.
“This is an unprecedented revolution of science and medicine, which will open a new era of healthcare,” says oncologist Masanori Fukushima, head of the Translational Research Informatics Center, a Japanese government organization in Kobe that has been giving advice and support to the project for more than a decade.
In this presentation, Dr.Alicia Fuhrman in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, explains the complex and rapidly expanding field of stem cell medicine.
Spinal cord injury (SCI) commonly results in paralysis from the injury site down, even when the spinal cord hasn’t been severed completely. The remaining nerve cells that might bridge the gap appear to switch off, resulting in total loss of muscle control and sensation. Scientists at Boston Children’s Hospital have now identified a small molecule drug that effectively reactivates the signaling pathways between these remaining nerve cells and the brain, restoring walking ability in mice that had been paralyzed by SCI.
After suffering a severe spinal cord injury from a bad fall at work, Scott McConnell had little function remaining in his hands and arms.
There is currently no cure for spinal cord injury or treatment to help nerve regeneration so therapies offering intervention are limited. People with severe spinal cord injuries can remain paralysed for life and this is often accompanied by incontinence.
A team led by Drs Liang-Fong Wong and Nicolas Granger from Bristol’s Faculty of Health Sciences has successfully transplanted genetically modified cells that secrete a treatment molecule shown to be effective at removing the scar following spinal cord damage. The scar in the damaged spinal cord typically limits recovery by blocking nerve regrowth.