‘Spinal tap’ saving crash victims from life in a wheelchair: Breakthrough nerve-preserving procedure could...
Spinal injury victims could be spared from paralysis thanks to a breakthrough nerve- preserving procedure developed by British doctors. It is the first treatment to tackle inflammation of the spinal cord, which can occur in the hours and days after an accident, causing irreversible damage.
Given in these crucial hours, the ‘spinal tap’ procedure works by reducing the pressure build-up within the spinal column caused by swelling and so preserves vital nerve function.
A new patient study has paved the way for a new opportunity to rehabilitate patients with spinal cord damage.
Dr Anastasia Shulga led the Helsinki University Hospital study in which two patients with spinal cord injuries received a form of treatment that combined transcranial magnetic stimulation with simultaneous peripheral nerve stimulation given repeatedly for nearly six months.
This was the first time that attempts were made to rehabilitate patients paralysed as a result of a spinal cord injury through long-term stimulation treatment of this type.
Spinal cord injuries are mostly caused by trauma, often incurred in road traffic or sporting incidents, often with devastating and irreversible consequences, and unfortunately having a relatively high prevalence (250,000 patients in the USA; 80% of cases are male). One currently explored approach to restoring function after spinal cord injury is the transplantation of olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) into the damaged area. The hope is that these will encourage the repair of damaged neurons, but does it work? And if so, how can it be optimized?
A spinal cord injury can cause lifelong paralysis — no regular treatment is available, although a researcher at the University of Wyoming is working to find a solution with the help of a new laboratory.
Jared Bushman, assistant professor at the School of Pharmacy, came to UW in 2014 with a mission and a couple grants.
“I work on spinal care injuries and regeneration of peripheral nerves,” he explained.
With about $500,000 in grant funding from various agencies, including the Department of Defense, he has the ability to do his work, and now he has the facility.
As we cross the threshold into 2016, we are one step closer to our goal of finding a cure for paralysis.
Moving full speed ahead towards that goal, Conquer Paralysis Now compiled a brief retrospective. 2015 has been an incredible year for spinal cord injury research, with breakthroughs in a variety of potential treatments, on top of important strides made by individuals with SCI. Take a look at some key milestones from this past year and stay tuned for what’s to come in 2016. Happy New Year!
“I jumped off the back of a boat, my chin hit the water in a weird way, and I dislocated my spine, the C4 and C5. The instant I hit the water my body just stopped working. I was looking face down at the bottom of the lake and I just couldn’t move.“
Dreams of one day surfing in Bali were dashed by a simple accident. An old friend inadvertently untwists this fate and convinces Damien that a mystical Javanese healer can get him walking again. Cameras are documenting his newfound belief and rapid response to the alternative treatment. Another six to 12 months more treatment and Damien might be fulfilling the dream of one day surfing in Bali.
Treatment proven in lab to assist recovery and could be part of cure alongside other research, say experts.
Kiwi and Australian researchers have developed a protein-based drug that offers a potential breakthrough treatment for those with severe brain and spinal cord injuries.
University of Auckland researcher Dr Simon O’Carroll said the drug, which could be injected straight into the blood stream or taken as a pill soon after an injury, could reduce damage, scarring and improve recovery.
Innovative technique helps patients with neck injuries
A pioneering surgical technique has restored some hand and arm movement to patients immobilized by spinal cord injuries in the neck, reports a new study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Like railroad switchmen, the focus is on rerouting passageways; however, instead of trains on a track, the surgeons redirect peripheral nerves in a quadriplegic’s arms and hands by connecting healthy nerves to the injured nerves. Essentially, the new nerve network reintroduces conversation between the brain and the muscles that allows patients, once again, to accomplish tasks that foster independence, such as feeding themselves or writing with a pen.
Researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) have found a way to stimulate the growth of axons, which may spell the dawn of a new beginning on chronic SCI treatments.
Chronic spinal cord injury (SCI) is a formidable hurdle that prevents a large number of injured axons from crossing the lesion, particularly the corticospinal tract (CST). Patients inflicted with SCI would often suffer a loss of mobility, paralysis, and interferes with activities of daily life dramatically. While physical therapy and rehabilitation would help the patients to cope with the aftermath, axonal regrowth potential of injured neurons was thought to be intractable.
Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Millions of paralysis sufferers are today offered the possibility of a cure for the first time after a new technique pioneered by British doctors allowed a man with a severed spinal cord to recover the ability to walk.
A revolutionary implant of regenerative cells has knitted back together the spinal cord of a wheelchair-bound firefighter paralysed from the chest down in a knife attack, restoring sensation and muscle control to his legs.