It seems like lately we have been reporting left and right about people suffering from paralysis, and for good reason! Today I’m happy to report even more new research that offers hope for people suffering from spinal cord injury.
In a new study published in Brain [a journal of neurology] researchers used adult patients who suffered different spinal cord injuries. Two had feeling in the extremities, but could not move them, while the other two had neither feeling nor could they move their extremities.
Why is it that when you break a bone, it heals, but when something happens to your spinal cord, the nerves don’t repair themselves? A new study in the Journal of Nature Communications now helps shed some light on just why that is.
But first a little background, the nervous system is made up of two separate parts, your central nervous system [CNS] which is made up of your brain and spinal cord, everything else is called the peripheral nervous system [PNS].
Searching for a new way to cure paralysis, a team of scientist has come up with a remarkable and off the wall idea. This discovery comes out of the labs at the University College London. The team, lead by Linda Greensmith, used stem cells and optogenetics to control leg muscles in mice and completely circumvent the nervous system in the process.
For those of you who are not familiar with Optogenetics [and really, why would you be familiar with it?] here is a overly simple rundown of what we are talking about.
What does a rhesus monkey and a the Blockbuster Hollywood film Avatar have in common?
They both use mind control to operate an ‘Avatar’.
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital placed a neural implant on the ‘master’ monkey that could monitor up to 100 neurons, this allowed the ‘master’ money to control a second ‘avatar’ monkey.
To test this. they trained the ‘master’ monkey to use a joystick and find a target on the screen.