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Research uncovers extensive natural recovery after spinal cord injury
Date:11/14/2010

ffected side of the body. Tuszynski said the team is now investigating how the nervous system is able to generate so much natural growth after injury. This knowledge could lead to development of drugs or genes that could transmit high-growth signals to spinal cord damage sites after more severe spinal cord injury.

The work highlights an important role for primate models in translating basic scientific research into practical, therapeutic treatments for people. The spinal cords of humans and other primates are different from rodents, both in overall anatomy and in specific functions. For example, the corticospinal tract a collection of nerve cell fibers linking the cerebral cortex of the brain and the spinal cord is much more important for muscle movement in primates than in rats.

"With similar injuries, rodents show much less regrowth and recovery of limb function," said Rosenzweig. The challenge now is to determine what exactly is prompting neuronal axons to sprout new connections, leading to recovered movement. That has exciting clinical relevance, Rosenzweig said, because discoveries resulting from further research could be applied to patients with severe injury to their central nervous system.


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Contact: Debra Kain
ddkain@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert  

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