Sunday, October 26th 2014

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Articles Tagged: Medical Research

Optogenetics enables muscle contraction control

Published: June 30, 2014 | Category: News

Optogenetics muscle controlNeuroscientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Cambridge, MA) have shown that they can control muscle movement by applying optogenetics—a technique that enables control of neurons’ electrical impulses with light—to the spinal cords of animals that are awake and alert.

Led by MIT Institute Professor Emilio Bizzi, the researchers studied mice in which a light-sensitive protein that promotes neural activity was inserted into a subset of spinal neurons. When the researchers shone blue light on the animals’ spinal cords, their hind legs were completely but reversibly immobilized. The work offers a new approach to studying the complex spinal circuits that coordinate movement and sensory processing, the researchers say. Continue Reading »

Spinal Cord Injury: Promising Research to Restore Hand Function at UCLA

Published: April 30, 2014 | Category: News

Research to Restore Hand FunctionDaniel Lu, MD, and Reggie Edgerton, MD, recently received a five-year grant to explore new therapies for patients with spinal cord injuries from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. Dr. Lu and Dr. Edgerton are researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles and clinicians at the UCLA Spine Center.

“A majority of spinal cord patients have compromised hand function [which] is often cited as [having] the highest impact of all lost functions after injury by those living with spinal cord injury,” says Dr. Lu. “Thus, the NIH grant is funded to study hand function after severe cervical spinal cord injury.” Continue Reading »

Science sees future beyond Paralympics

Published: March 5, 2014 | Category: News

mens 200 metre at 2008 Beijing Paralympic GamesPARIS – Imagine a future with no sporting events for paralysed people. A future in which there is no need, as all the would-be competitors will have been cured.

This scenario, laughable just a few decades ago, is no longer far-fetched, experts say.

Bit by bit, important progress is being made in understanding and tackling aspects of paralysis. Continue Reading »

U.S. team conducts study using new cell technique in monkeys

Published: January 30, 2014 | Category: News

A research team at Harvard University has conducted a preliminary study on monkeys paralyzed by spinal cord injuries using a newly found technique for turning specialized cells into multipurpose ones that behave like embryonic stem cells, one of the team members said Thursday.

The same team is also experimenting with human cells in the hope of generating so-called STAP cells, which can turn into any type of body tissue, according to Charles Vacanti, a Harvard professor who co-authored papers on STAP cells published in the journal Nature on Wednesday. Continue Reading »

Drug may reduce chronic pain for spinal cord injuries

Published: October 29, 2013 | Category: News

West Lafayette, Indiana – Researchers have discovered that a known neurotoxin may cause chronic pain in people who suffer from paralysis, and a drug that has been shown to remove the toxin might be used to treat the pain.

The toxin, called acrolein, is produced in the body after nerve cells are injured, triggering a cascade of biochemical events thought to worsen the injury’s severity. Continue Reading »

Spinal Injury Cures: Balancing Hope And Expectation

Published: April 19, 2013 | Category: News

Disability: learning to live with realistic hopes.Reports of paralysed animals walking again can give unrealistic hopes to people with spinal injuries. What is more important is that they develop the skills and perspective to get on with their lives

A recent breakthrough in regenerative medicine saw paraplegic dogs regaining some function in their back legs: inevitably, the headlines talked of hope for human patients with spinal cord injury.

But the head of clinical psychology at the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Professor Paul Kennedy, argues that this kind of “magic bullet” reporting can be damaging to people who are coming to terms with a life-changing injury. Continue Reading »

Acorda Acquires Medtronic Drug, Fills Out Mid-Stage Neurology Pipeline

Published: July 1, 2011 | Category: News

Today Hawthorne, NY-based Acorda Therapeutics (NASDAQ: ACOR) announced that it licensed an experimental compound to treat spinal cord injury from medical-device giant Medtronic (NYSE: MDT). Acorda paid $3 million up front for worldwide rights to the compound, and pledged up to $32 million in regulatory and development milestone payments to Medtronic, which is based in Minneapolis. Medtronic will also receive a “single digit” percentage royalty if the product is commercialized, Acorda says. Continue Reading »

Extensive Natural Recovery Seen After Spinal Cord Injury

Published: November 14, 2010 | Category: News

Newswise — A study led by researchers in the Department of Neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine shows unexpected and extensive natural recovery after spinal cord injury in primates. The findings, to be published November 14 in the advance online edition of Nature Neuroscience, may one day lead to the development of new treatments for patients with spinal cord injuries.

While regeneration after severe brain and spinal cord injury is limited, milder injuries are often followed by good functional recovery. Continue Reading »

Just the beginning: Embryonic stem cells used on first patient

Published: November 13, 2010 | Category: News

For the first time, surgeons have injected a spinal cord injury patient with human embryonic stem cells in a federally approved experiment, a biomedical firm said Oct. 11.

Food and Drug Administration officials approved the start of the privately funded safety trial in July, allowing a long-awaited test of the cells, which were grown from a single embryo to resemble forerunners to spinal cells. The unnamed patient received the cells at the Shepherd Center, an Atlanta hospital specializing in brain, spine and related ailments. Continue Reading »

Promise of stem cells fulfilled

Published: November 6, 2010 | Category: News

clinical trial in Atlanta, Georgia, is proof that informed public debate is the key to medical advance

IF I’m honest, my first reaction to recent reports that the first human embryonic stem cell trial had begun on spinal patients in Atlanta was one of nonchalance.

Not because of its potential significance to those of us with spinal injuries — desperate for any news of progress — but because of the stop-start nature of the trial, plagued as it has been by legislative and regulatory restraints. Continue Reading »