Macrophages are cellular sentinels in the body, assigned to identify “attacks” from viruses, bacteria, or fungi and sound the alarm when they are present. However, these cells are a “double edged sword” in spinal cord injury, providing both neural repair-promoting properties and pathological functions that destroy neuronal tissue.
Pain typically has a clear cause–but not always. When a person touches something hot or bumps into a sharp object, it’s no surprise that it hurts. But for people with certain chronic pain disorders, including fibromyalgia and phantom limb pain, even a gentle caress can result in agony and for some — like my sister — the pain can be almost never ending.
Fish might not be the first thing you think about when we talk spinal cord injury but that is exactly what scientists are doing. Don’t ask where they got the idea, but a therapy combining salmon fibrin [a protein that acts as a scaffolding] injections into the spinal cord and injections of a gene inhibitor into the brain restored voluntary motor function impaired by spinal cord injury.