Navigation Links
Spinal cord, heal thyself
Date:6/26/2012

UCLA researchers discovered that a diet enriched with a popular omega-3 fatty acid and an ingredient of curry spice preserved walking ability in rats with spinal-cord injury. Published June 26 in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, the findings suggest that these dietary supplements help repair nerve cells and maintain neurological function after degenerative damage to the neck.

"Normal aging often narrows the spinal canal, putting pressure on the spinal cord and injuring tissue," explained principal investigator Dr. Langston Holly, associate professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "While surgery can relieve the pressure and prevent further injury, it can't repair damage to the cells and nerve fibers. We wanted to explore whether dietary supplementation could help the spinal cord heal itself."

The UCLA team studied two groups of rats with a condition that simulated cervical myelopathy a progressive disorder that often occurs in people with spine-weakening conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. Cervical myelopathy can lead to disabling neurological symptoms, such as difficulty walking, neck and arm pain, hand numbness and weakness of the limbs. It's the most common cause of spine-related walking problems in people over 55.

The first group of animals was fed rat chow that replicated a Western diet high in saturated fats and sugar. The second group consumed a standard diet supplemented with docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, and curcumin, a compound in turmeric, an Indian curry spice. A third set of rats received a standard rat diet and served as a control group.

Why these supplements? DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid shown to repair damage to cell membranes. Curcumin is a strong antioxidant that previous studies have linked to tissue repair. Both reduce inflammation.

"The brain and spinal cord work together, and years of research demonstrate that supplements like DHA and curcumin can positively influence the brain," said coauthor Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, professor of neurosurgery. "We suspected that what works in the brain may also work in the spinal cord. When we were unable to find good data to support our hypothesis, we decided to study it ourselves."

The researchers recorded a baseline of the rats walking and re-examined the animals' gait on a weekly basis. As early as three weeks, the rats eating the Western diet demonstrated measurable walking problems that worsened as the study progressed. Rats fed a diet enriched with DHA and curcumin walked significantly better than the first group even six weeks after the study's start.

Next, the scientists examined the rats' spinal cords to evaluate how diet affected their injury on a molecular level. The researchers measured levels of three markers respectively linked to cell-membrane damage, neural repair and cellular communication.

The rats that ate the Western diet showed higher levels of the marker linked to cell-membrane damage. In contrast, the DHA and curcumin appeared to offset the injury's effect in the second group, which displayed equivalent marker levels to the control group.

Levels of the markers linked to neural repair and cellular communication were significantly lower in the rats raised on the Western diet. Again, levels in the animals fed the supplemented diet appeared similar to those of the control group.

"DHA and curcumin appear to invoke several molecular mechanisms that preserved neurological function in the rats," said Gomez-Pinilla. "This is an exciting first step toward understanding the role that diet plays in protecting the body from degenerative disease."

"Our findings suggest that diet can help minimize disease-related changes and repair damage to the spinal cord," said Holly. "We next want to look at other mechanisms involved in the cascade of events leading up to chronic spinal-cord injury. Our goal is to identify which stages will respond best to medical intervention and identify effective steps for slowing the disease process."


'/>"/>

Contact: Elaine Schmidt
eschmidt@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2272
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Range of diagnostic spinal fluid tests needed to differentiate concurrent brain diseases
2. Spinal cord injury researchers win Apple Award for article on niacin for dyslipidemia
3. Severely Obese Have More Complications With Spinal Surgery
4. Re-Routing Spinal Cord Signals Restores Movement in Paralyzed Rats
5. Magnets may help prevent rare complication of spinal anesthesia
6. Surgeon experience affects complication rate of spinal stenosis surgery
7. Researchers determine pathway for origin of most common form of brain and spinal cord tumor
8. Cedars-Sinai researchers, with stem cells, advance understanding of spinal muscular atrophy
9. Flu Season Was One of Mildest on Record, CDC Confirms
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/18/2017)... , ... January 18, 2017 , ... ... asset protection and financial planning services to families and business owners in the ... aimed at supporting children with developmental disabilities. , The Lakemary Center is a ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... Staefa, Switzerland (PRWEB) , ... January 18, 2017 ... ... will for the first time support an aid project with the donation of ... will get the gift of hearing and thus a fair chance of leading ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... , ... January 17, 2017 , ... Anesthesia Progress ... for dentists to choose the best drug option for each patient. Dentists have several ... and better overall outcomes. , Researchers from the Tokyo Dental College in Tokyo, Japan ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... ... January 17, 2017 , ... Healthful Balance ... The company, owned and operated by Ed Stroup, was created to offer the ... the highest level of customer service. Healthful Balance products can be purchased online ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... ... January 17, 2017 , ... ... as Palm Desert, is opening a new office in San Clemente, California this ... stimulation (dTMS) in Southern California, successfully treating individuals struggling with major depression. Depression ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/18/2017)... In China , we say Health is ... China,s Healthy Strategy originates. 2016 is ... and Social Development of the People,s Republic of ... council of the People,s Republic of China ... plan, identifying medical devices as one of the main breakthrough ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... 2017 Ximbio, a non-profit online one-stop-shop ... has opened its first North American headquarters in Kendall Square, ... ... Ximbio following its launch in October 2014 as a business ... commercialization arm of the foundation Cancer Research UK. ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... Regulatory Authority Chinese Food and Drug Administration CSL ... Flanders Institute Food and Drug Administration FORT ... Glaxo Smith Klein GlaxoWellcome Global ... Japan Immune Targeting Systems Indian Association ... oxford Johnson & Johnson Krka Pharmaceuticals ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: