Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tiny nerves from the ribs may restore leg movement in spinal cord injury

07.10.2002


Researchers receive grant to use robots to improve walking



Irvine, Calif. -- Paralysis from spinal cord injury was significantly reversed by adding tiny nerves from the rib cage and mixing them with a powerful growth inducer found in most nerve cells, a UC Irvine and Long Beach Veterans Administration Medical Center study has found.

The study, conducted in rats, suggests that nerve cells can be inserted and stimulated to grow through damaged areas of the spinal cord, perhaps leading to better treatments for spinal cord injury. The research is part of a wave of studies challenging the conventional wisdom that severed nerves in the spinal cord are nearly impossible to regenerate. The study appears in the October issue of the Journal of Neurotrauma.


Dr. Vernon Lin, professor of physical medicine at UCI and director of the Spinal Cord Injury Group at the Long Beach V.A., and his colleagues found that grafting nerves from the rib cage and adding the growth stimulator, a molecule called aFGF, partially restored hind leg movement in rats that had their spinal cords severed.

"By using tiny nerves from the rib cage as cables connecting the severed spinal cord, we were able to get some improvement in leg function," Lin said. "Regeneration is considered very difficult because the damaged area apparently inhibits growth of new nerve-cell connections. This study gets us closer to arriving at the right combination of growth factors, nerve cells and physical stimulation that overcome these inhibitions and successfully treat spinal cord injury."

Lin and his team found that 12 rats with severed spinal cords were able to move their hind legs again after treatment with both the aFGF and the nerve grafts, while rats that had either the aFGF or nerve grafts alone showed nearly no improvement. Rats receiving both the growth factor and the nerve cell grafts could support some of their weight on their back legs.

The growth factor aFGF is normally produced in the spinal cord by nerve cells, but scientists suspect that it is stored and only used when nerve cells are damaged. Previous studies have shown that adding aFGF can stimulate growth in individual nerve cells in the laboratory.

The rats’ movements were measured using a tool called a BBB score. Normal movement rates a BBB score of about 21. Six months after the rats were treated, the animals that received the aFGF and nerve grafts had scores between six and seven. The other animals did not score higher than one on the scale.

"While not a perfectly normal score of locomotion, the treatments did allow the rats to step forward and put weight on their hind legs," Lin said. "We also found that the nerves in the leg below the injury site were once again receiving nerve impulses from the brain. We believe that eventually, we may be able to find the right mix of factors and physical stimulation all working together to improve this restored movement to more normal levels."

The researchers also plan to study the use of robots to aid in the placement and maintenance of nerve cells that are grafted into an injured area, to help improve movement. They recently received a $600,000 research grant from the Veterans Administration to continue their work in designing and testing robots that could help in maintaining the gait necessary to walk. Currently, they are testing the ability of the robots to accurately maintain a walking gait in rats. Eventually, the researchers hope to test the robots in humans and determine if the machines are actually helping restore the ability to walk after spinal cord injury.


Lin’s colleagues in the study include Yu-Shang Lee of UCI’s College of Medicine and Ian Hsiao of UCI and the Long Beach V.A. Medical Center.

Andrew Porterfield | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uci.edu/
http://www.today.uci.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New study points the way to therapy for rare cancer that targets the young
22.11.2017 | Rockefeller University

nachricht Penn study identifies new malaria parasites in wild bonobos
21.11.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Corporate coworking as a driver of innovation

22.11.2017 | Business and Finance

PPPL scientists deliver new high-resolution diagnostic to national laser facility

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>