Thursday, June 7, 2012

Paralyzed Rats Walk Again

After a combination of chemical and electrical stimulation of the spinal cord together with robotic support, rats that were once paralyzed are now walking and running again.  

The five-year studies were done in Switzerland where scientists have restored full movement to the rats that had severe paralysis by spinal cord injuries.  

However, it is unknown whether a similar treatment would work for people with spinal cord damage. The rats in the study had a direct cut through their spinal cord, whereas few humans have the same thing happen. Most humans have spinal cord damage from bruising or compression, so it is unclear whether the techniques recently discovered could work.  

With a number of complications going with spinal cord damage, such as holes, scar tissue buildup and nerve cells and fibers that have died, it is not certain if the stimulation techniques could ultimately help a cord that has been damaged for a very long time.  

Although the study raises many questions regarding the use on humans, it still offers hope and encouragement that spinal cord injuries could be fixed in the future.

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

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