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Regenerating spinal cord fibers may be treatment for stroke-related disabilities
Date:5/23/2013

DETROIT A study by researchers at Henry Ford Hospital found "substantial evidence" that a regenerative process involving damaged nerve fibers in the spinal cord could hold the key to better functional recovery by most stroke victims.

The findings may offer new hope to those who suffer stroke, the leading cause of long-term disability in adults. Although most stroke victims recover some ability to voluntarily use their hands and other body parts, about half are left with weakness on one side of their bodies, while a substantial number are permanently disabled.

The study is published in the current issue of Stroke and is available online at http://stroke.ahajournals.org/content/early/2013/05/21/STROKEAHA.113.001162.abstract.html?ijkey=vRk14HxuNKPaw51&keytype=ref. Discovering a treatment to improve or restore this lost motor function in stroke patients is a holy grail for neurologists, because none exists, primarily due to unsolved mysteries about how the brain and nerves repair themselves.

The new Henry Ford research was intended to solve some of those mysteries. It focused on changes in axons the fibers, the nerve signal "transmission" lines within the spinal cord that affect voluntary movement after stroke.

Researchers used genetically modified mice in which the axons in the corticospinal tract, a bundle of nerves carrying signals from the brain to the spinal cord, were "stained" with fluorescent matter visible under a powerful microscope.

The researchers noted that Henry Ford's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approved all the experimental procedures.

The mice were trained for five days to use their left front paws to retrieve food pellets from a dispenser designed to test their dexterity. They were also given a "foot-fault test" to see how well they could walk
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Contact: Dwight Angell
dwight.angell@hfhs.org
313-850-3471
Henry Ford Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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