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Articles Tagged: Medical Research

One Small Step

Published: January 25, 2016 | Category: News | Spinal Cord Injury: ,

Darek FidykaA paraplegic undergoes pioneering surgery.

When a spinal cord is damaged, location is destiny: the higher the injury, the more severe the effects. The spine has thirty-three vertebrae, which are divided into five regions—the coccygeal, the sacral, the lumbar, the thoracic, and the cervical. The nerve-rich cord traverses nearly the entire length of the spine. The nerves at the bottom of the cord are well buried, and sometimes you can walk away from damage to these areas. In between are insults to the long middle region of the spine, which begins at the shoulders and ends at the midriff. Continue Reading »

Groundbreaking device being tested by VA may put end to pressure ulcers

Published: March 19, 2015 | Category: News

GRC_VA_multisensing-device-projectHelps detect the earliest signs of ulcer formation

Pressure ulcers (commonly known as bed sores) are one of the most troublesome and painful complications for patients during a long hospital stay, but a joint project between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Innovation and General Electric (GE) Global Research may one day make pressure ulcers a thing of the past.

A multi-disciplinary team of scientists have combined an array of sensing and analytical tools, including motion analysis, thermal profiling, image classification/segmentation, 3-D object reconstruction and vapor detection into a single medical sensing handheld probe to assess and monitor the progression of bed sores or pressure ulcers. Continue Reading »

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 »