Researchers find ways to encourage spinal cord regeneration after injury

October 20, 2009,

Animal research is suggesting new ways to aid recovery after spinal cord injury. New studies demonstrate that diet affects recovery rate and show how to make stem cell therapies safer for spinal injury patients. The findings were presented at Neuroscience 2009, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.

In other animal studies, researchers identified molecules that encourage spinal cord regeneration and ways to block molecules that discourage it. The findings may help shape therapies for the more than one million people in North America who have spinal cord injuries.

Research released today shows that:

  • A diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates speeds recovery in rats with . The study suggests that dietary content may affect spinal cord injury recovery rates in people (Wolfram Tetzlaff, MD, PhD, abstract 542.10).
  • In animal studies, stem cell implants pre-screened for "unsafe" immature cells helped repair injured spinal cords without dangerous side effects, like . The findings suggest best practices for human stem cell therapies (Masaya Nakamura, MD, PhD, abstract 642.14).
Other findings discussed at the meeting show that:

  • Researchers are discovering how to encourage the spinal cord to regenerate and form functional connections after injury. Growth factors, enzymes, and molecular tools show promising results in animal models (Eric Frank, PhD).
"Some injuries harm , but the brain often recovers from stress, damage, or disease," said press conference moderator Oswald Steward, PhD, of the University of California, Irvine, an expert on spinal cord injury and synaptic plasticity. "We are learning a great deal about how to encourage the recovery process and harness the plasticity of the nervous system to offer hope to injury patients," Steward said.

Source: Society for Neuroscience (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New neuron-like cells allow investigation into synthesis of vital cellular components

January 22, 2018
Neuron-like cells created from a readily available cell line have allowed researchers to investigate how the human brain makes a metabolic building block essential for the survival of all living organisms. A team led by researchers ...

Finding unravels nature of cognitive inflexibility in fragile X syndrome

January 22, 2018
Mice with the genetic defect that causes fragile X syndrome (FXS) learn and remember normally, but show an inability to learn new information that contradicts what they initially learned, shows a new study by a team of neuroscientists. ...

Epilepsy linked to brain volume and thickness differences

January 22, 2018
Epilepsy is associated with thickness and volume differences in the grey matter of several brain regions, according to new research led by UCL and the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Research reveals atomic-level changes in ALS-linked protein

January 18, 2018
For the first time, researchers have described atom-by-atom changes in a family of proteins linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a group of brain disorders known as frontotemporal dementia and degenerative diseases ...

Fragile X finding shows normal neurons that interact poorly

January 18, 2018
Neurons in mice afflicted with the genetic defect that causes Fragile X syndrome (FXS) appear similar to those in healthy mice, but these neurons fail to interact normally, resulting in the long-known cognitive impairments, ...

How your brain remembers what you had for dinner last night

January 17, 2018
Confirming earlier computational models, researchers at University of California San Diego and UC San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Arizona and Louisiana, report that episodic memories are encoded in the hippocampus ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.