Study holds new promise for patients recovering from spinal injuries

backtothefuture Jan 09, 2008

Spinal cord damage blocks the routes the brain uses to send messages to the nerve cells that control walking. For years, doctors believed that the only way injured patients could walk again was to regrow the long nerve highways that link the brain and base of the spinal cord.

Now, for the first time, a UCLA study shows that the central nervous system can reorganize itself and follow new pathways to restore the cellular communication required for movement.

The discovery, published in the January edition of the journal Nature Medicine, could lead to new therapies for the estimated 250,000 Americans who suffer from traumatic spinal cord injuries. An additional 10,000 cases occur each year, according to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, which helped fund the UCLA study.

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