Saturday, February 16, 2008

Exciting News for Spinal Cord Injury Patients

I was particularly interested in this piece because of my Degenerative Disc Disease. Honestly, I do not know how much it has to do with that, but if I understand my condition correctly, it can lead to spinal cord injury as it progresses. As it is right now, I am already on Neurontin, but that is used for lots of things - of course, many medicines are.

A team at the University at Cambridge has been working with a bacterial enzyme called chondroitinase which digests the scar tissue around severed nerves. While nerves can regenerate, they generally cannot make it past the scar tissue. Not only does chondroitinase eat away this scarring, it also promotes nerve plasticity, which might allow for undamaged nerves to grow around the scar tissue and reconnect, effectively taking over the role of the lost ones.

While researchers warn not to get excited by this news - there have been no trials on patients yet - they have had some promising results in lab testing. They believe that this method, combined with rehabilitative exercises, may give new hope to people with recent spinal column injuries.

These injuries can take many forms, from loss of feeling to paralysis.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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