Discovery offers promising research for spinal-cord injury treatments

May 30, 2010

Researchers in the University of Alberta's Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine have made an important discovery that could lead to more effective treatments for spinal-cord injuries. Karim Fouad and David Bennett have identified one of the body's natural self-repair mechanisms that kick in after injury.

To help understand the discovery the researchers say it is important to first describe the neurons in the spinal cord that control muscle contractions. These neurons represent a fairly autonomous part of the that control many basic functions such as walking and bladder control. These neurons are brought into a state of readiness by a transmitter called serotonin. Serotonin originates in the brain and projects down the spinal cord where it binds to serotonin receptors on the . This process turns a quiet neuron into one that's ready to respond to fast inputs from the brain.

When someone suffers a spinal-cord injury they can lose almost all serotonin projections, so it was previously thought that the serotonin receptors were inactive. But the U of A researchers found that serotonin receptors are spontaneously active after spinal-cord injury, despite the absence of serotonin. Their study shows that this receptor activity is an essential factor in the recovery of functions like walking. Fouad and Bennett say this significant discovery provides important insight into how the spinal cord responds and changes after an injury, which is essential to developing meaningful treatments.

But, the researchers add, there is a dark side. While the serotonin receptors remain active after injury, they are permanently turned on. Fouad and Bennett say this activity is what contributes to muscle spasms, a common problem for people with severe injury. The pair says the next step in helping patients who won't be able to regain control of muscle contractions is to examine how to block these serotonin receptors to stop the spasms from occurring, in particular by using already available drugs or by designing more targeted drugs.

Fouad and Bennett's research will be published May 30, 2010, in the journal Nature Medicine.

Explore further: US scientists make embryonic stem cells from adult skin

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

21 hours ago

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

New pain relief targets discovered

Apr 17, 2014

Scientists have identified new pain relief targets that could be used to provide relief from chemotherapy-induced pain. BBSRC-funded researchers at King's College London made the discovery when researching ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

VEERUNCLE
1 / 5 (1) May 31, 2010
Greetings...

Every part of the physical body has a higher vibrational component (called para) within the energy field, such as the para-brain, para-eyes, para-bones, para-skin, and para-spinal cord...

Our para-DNA, the higher vibrational reflection of our genetic DNA, possesses the informational patterns to create a complete and whole physical body, including regenerating damaged components such as an injured spinal cord...

Lets Learn : A New Healing Energy For Spinal Cord Injury
http://www.healin...tGas.htm

...A portal to Para'Physics and beyond in an esoteric domain of arcane studies "ASTRAL SCIENCE"

CHARANJEET SINGH LAMBA
~ astral scientist ~
ormondotvos
not rated yet May 31, 2010
From the link: "Although higher molecular weight elements tend to be liquids or solids, xenon and krypton, with molecular weights greater than iron, nickel, copper, and zinc, exist as gases. This requires them to be in a higher vibrational state, which requires additional energy."

More news stories

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...