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Engineer aims to grow spinal tissue in lab

Published: March 21, 2017 | Category: News

For a soldier who suffered a spinal cord injury on the battlefield, the promise of regenerative medicine is to fully repair the resulting limb paralysis. But that hope is still years from reality.

Not only powerful, but efficient. Studying diseases in lab-created tissue may help reduce the price tag — now roughly $1.8 billion — for bringing a new drug to market, which is one of the reasons Ashton received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award for advancing tissue engineering of the human spinal cord. During the project’s five-year funding period, his lab in the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery will fine-tune the technology for growing a neural tube, the developmental predecessor of the spinal cord, from scratch. Continue Reading »

Working or volunteering after a Spinal Cord Injury

Published: March 20, 2017 | Category: Information

The majority of spinal cord injuries are still caused by traumatic events, such as road traffic accidents or falls. Sports injuries and violence are also common causes of spinal cord injuries. A (so-called) non-traumatic injury can occur because of arthritis, inflammation, infections or disc degeneration of the spine that can cause compression and therefore damage to the spinal cord. The incidence of non-traumatic injuries is increasing, partly due to better reporting but also due to the impact of an increasingly aging population. Continue Reading »

Makeshift Syrian rehab center offers hope to paralyzed

Published: March 16, 2017 | Category: News

DOUMA, Syria, March 15 (Reuters) – Ziad, a paralyzed 14-year-old boy, often stays alone in his room as bombs fall on Douma, the main rebel-stronghold in eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus.

Limited in scope, number and size, there are no nearby shelters equipped to receive Ziad who cannot be moved quickly or easily during airstrikes because of his spinal injuries.

“The shelters are not ready to accept people like me,” he said.

Until last year, treatment options were limited for spinal patients caught in a brutal civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced more than 11 million. Continue Reading »

Love – and a Little Help from New Friends – Keeps School Sweethearts’ Wedding on Track after a Spinal Cord Injury

Published: March 14, 2017 | Category: News | Spinal Cord Injury: , , ,

Anna Claire Stokes had a wedding to coordinate. Thanks to her new Shepherd Center family, no spinal cord injury was going to derail her plans.

Continue Reading »

One Small Step for a Paraplegic, One Big Step Toward Reversing Paralysis

Published: March 14, 2017 | Category: News

In a hospital in Switzerland, permanently paralyzed people are now learning to walk again with the help of stimulating electrodes implanted in their spines. For Grégoire Courtine, professor of neuroprosthetics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), this day has been a long time coming. “It took us 15 years to get from paralyzed rats to the first steps in humans,” he says. “Maybe in 10 more years, our technology will be ready for the clinic.”

Courtine has made it his mission to reverse paralysis. He started 15 years ago with those paralyzed rats, putting tiny electrical implants into their spines to stimulate nerve fibers below the site of their spinal cord injuries. Continue Reading »

UCLA professor developing potential treatment for spinal cord injuries

Published: March 10, 2017 | Category: News

A UCLA professor is working to develop a treatment for spinal cord injuries, which are currently incurable.

Stephanie Seidlits, assistant professor of bioengineering, will attempt to use biomaterial made out of hyaluronic acid – a long chain of sugars in the body – to create a treatment that can be injected into spinal cords. Seidlits will conduct the research with students using a $500,000 grant she won March 1.

The prestigious CAREER award, granted by the National Science Foundation, aims to support scholars who effectively integrate research with education. Continue Reading »

Molecule shown to repair damaged axons

Published: March 8, 2017 | Category: News

Discovery could be key to treating brain and spinal cord injury

A foray into plant biology led one researcher to discover that a natural molecule can repair axons, the thread-like projections that carry electrical signals between cells. Axonal damage is the major culprit underlying disability in conditions such as spinal cord injury and stroke.

Andrew Kaplan, a PhD candidate at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital of McGill University, was looking for a pharmacological approach to axon regeneration, with a focus on 14-3-3, a family of proteins with neuroprotective functions that have been under investigation in the laboratory of Dr. Alyson Fournier, professor of neurology and neurosurgery and senior author on the study. Continue Reading »

Transplantation Safety Trial Using Schwann Cells Completed Successfully

Published: March 3, 2017 | Category: News

The Miami Project, at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, today announced the publication of its first Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Phase I clinical trial involving Schwann cells used to repair the damaged spinal cord, in the February issue of the Journal of Neurotrauma.  Schwann cells are essential for the repair of nerve damage, and long thought to be able to increase recovery after spinal cord injury. The trial, performed at University of Miami / Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, is the first in a series designed to evaluate the safety and feasibility of transplanting autologous human Schwann cells to treat individuals with spinal cord injuries. Continue Reading »

Spinal injury opened my eyes to my huge abilities

Published: March 3, 2017 | Category: Information | Spinal Cord Injury:

One Saturday, as usual, I drove to the National Spinal Injury Hospital (NSIH). When I got there, I requested a gentleman, whom I later learnt was a brother to one of the patients, to help me get on my wheelchair. He was amazed!

“So you drive? And you cannot walk? Yet you’re such warm and joyful person,” he said to me.

“Oh, yes,” I replied, “And I was once a patient here, for seven months.”

His brother, just like me, was involved in a grisly road accident and suffered spinal cord injury. Like any other new-found friend he wanted to know more about me and my injury, and why it did not seem to be an issue. Continue Reading »

The Sargood Effect – Revolutionising Holidays for People With Disability

Published: March 1, 2017 | Category: News

Sargood on CollaroyEveryone loves a good holiday. But for many people in a wheelchair, going on vacation can often be a very stressful undertaking.

With much of the available accommodation and attractions lacking the resources to properly assist, a quick getaway can turn into a luxury that gets put in the too-hard basket.

But that could be set to change.

In what is being hailed a world-first, a new accessible resort designed specifically for people living with a spinal injury has opened it’s doors on Collaroy Beach in New South Wales. Continue Reading »