Promising results provide hope for humans suffering from chronic paralysis
“Millions of people worldwide are living with chronic spinal cord injuries, with 250,000 to 500,000 new cases each year—most from vehicle crashes or falls. The most severe spinal cord injuries completely paralyze their victims and more than half impair a person’s ability to breathe. Now, a breakthrough study published in Nature Communications has demonstrated, in animal models of chronic injury, that long-term, devastating effects of spinal cord trauma on breathing and limb function may be reversible.
The new study describes a treatment regimen that helps reawaken certain special types of nerve cells that can regenerate extensions, called axons, within the damaged spinal cord. Rats with spinal cords half severed at the second cervical vertebrae (C2) regained complete diaphragm and partial forelimb function on the severed side after treatment. The recuperative effects of the therapy were fully maintained six months after treatment end.”