Saturday, August 30th 2014

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Articles Tagged: Neurons

Newborns a hope for spinal injuries

Published: May 15, 2014 | Category: News

Newborns a hope for spinal injuriesIt all started at a symposium five years ago. Catherine Gorrie, an expert in spinal cord injury, was listening to a presentation about the differences between the developing brains of children and the mature ones of adults when she had an “aah-haa” moment.

“I began to wonder if there is something in the spines of children that could be manipulated for repair,” says Dr Gorrie, a neuroscientist at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). It made sense. Dr Gorrie already knew that the more adaptable, or “plastic”, spinal cords of infants responded more efficiently to injury than did those of adults. Continue Reading »

Studies identify spinal cord neurons that control skilled limb movement

Published: May 1, 2014 | Category: News

Studies identify spinal cord neurons that control skilled limb movementNEW YORK, NY (May 1, 2014) —Researchers have identified two types of neurons that enable the spinal cord to control skilled forelimb movement. The first is a group of excitatory interneurons that are needed to make accurate and precise movements; the second is a group of inhibitory interneurons necessary for achieving smooth movement of the limbs. The findings are important steps toward understanding normal human motor function and potentially treating movement disorders that arise from injury or disease. Continue Reading »

Light-Activated Neurons May Restore Function to Paralyzed Muscles

Published: April 10, 2014 | Category: News

Light-Activated Neurons Restore FunctionLONDON, April 10, 2014 — Paralysis caused by a motor neuron disease or spinal cord injury understandably causes feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and despair. But there is optimism in a new technique that can artificially control paralyzed muscles using light.

The technique, developed at University College London and King’s College London could potentially restore the function of muscles afflicted by motor neuron disease or spinal cord injury. Continue Reading »

Researchers Generate New Neurons in Brains, Spinal Cords of Living Adult Mammals

Published: February 26, 2014 | Category: News

Researchers Generate New NeuronsUT Southwestern Medical Center researchers created new nerve cells in the brains and spinal cords of living mammals without the need for stem cell transplants to replenish lost cells.

Although the research indicates it may someday be possible to regenerate neurons from the body’s own cells to repair traumatic brain injury or spinal cord damage or to treat conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers stressed that it is too soon to know whether the neurons created in these initial studies resulted in any functional improvements, a goal for future research. Continue Reading »

How neurons control fine motor behavior of the arm

Published: January 31, 2014 | Category: Answers

how neurons control fine motor behaviorMotor commands issued by the brain to activate arm muscles take two different routes. As the research group led by Professor Silvia Arber at the Basel University Biozentrum and the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research has now discovered, many neurons in the spinal cord send their instructions not only towards the musculature, but at the same time also back to the brain via an exquisitely organized network. This dual information stream provides the neural basis for accurate control of arm and hand movements. These findings have now been published in Cell. Continue Reading »

Two-way traffic in the spinal cord

Published: December 19, 2013 | Category: Information

Two-way traffic in the spinal cordThe progress a baby makes in the first year of life is amazing: a newborn can only wave its arms and legs about randomly, but not so long after the baby can reach out and pick up a crumb from the carpet. What happens in the nervous system that enables this change from random waving to finely coordinated movement? Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried near Munich, working with colleagues from New York and Philadelphia, have described a new type of nerve cell in mice which provides a valuable insight into this developmental phenomenon. During embryonic development, the projections from these cells grow from the spinal cord towards the brain. They may pave the way for other nerve cells which control voluntary movement and which only grow from the brain into the spinal cord after birth. Continue Reading »

Repairing and regenerating neurons

Published: September 23, 2013 | Category: Information

neurons - the basicsFinding a solution for brain and spinal cord injury

The Fournier lab at the Montreal Neurological Institute is working to answer a fundamental question: what happens after a nerve cell gets injured? Damage to nerve cells in the central nervous system (CNS), which consists of the brain and the spinal cord, often means permanent damage due to these cells’ limited capacity to repair and regenerate.

Unlike many other cells in the human body, adult nerve cells in the CNS cannot spontaneously repair. Hence, damage to the spinal cord can result in permanent paralysis to the body parts below the site of injury. Continue Reading »

Neurons derived from cord blood cells may represent new therapeutic option

Published: July 16, 2012 | Category: News

Protocol may open new avenues for cell-replacement therapies for neurological conditions

LA JOLLA, CA—For more than 20 years, doctors have been using cells from blood that remains in the placenta and umbilical cord after childbirth to treat a variety of illnesses, from cancer and immune disorders to blood and metabolic diseases.

Now, scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have found a new way-using a single protein, known as a transcription factor-to convert cord blood (CB) cells into neuron-like cells that may prove valuable for the treatment of a wide range of neurological conditions, including stroke, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury. Continue Reading »

Researchers discover that stem cell marker regulates synapse formation

Published: January 30, 2011 | Category: News

Among stem cell biologists there are few better-known proteins than nestin, whose very presence in an immature cell identifies it as a “stem cell,” such as a neural stem cell. As helpful as this is to researchers, until now no one knew which purpose nestin serves in a cell.

In a study published in the Jan. 30, 2011, advance online edition of Nature Neuroscience, Salk Institute of Biological Studies investigators led by Kuo-Fen Lee, PhD., show that nestin has reason for being in a completely different cell type–muscle tissue. There, it regulates formation of the so-called neuromuscular junction, the contact point between muscle cells and “their” motor neurons. Continue Reading »

Device Helps Paralyzed Rats Walk Again

Published: December 3, 2010 | Category: News

Electronic “bridge” could one day assist paralysis patients.

Until recently, severe spinal cord injuries came with a fairly definite diagnosis of paralysis, whether partial or complete. But new developments in both stem-cell therapy and electronic stimulation have begun to provide hope, however distant, that paralysis may not be a life sentence. Complicated muscle stimulation devices can enable limited standing and walking, and the first embryonic stem-cell trials began last year. Other techniques, however, may provide an even simpler solution. Continue Reading »