This video describes two important recovery options for paralysis and spinal cord injury. This video displays the research done by the Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Center at BrainAndSpinalCord.org
Read the full transcript »

Hi, I am Marcy Newsome with the Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Center at brainandspinalcord.org. Today, I will be talking about two important recovery options and progresses in spinal cord injury research. Be sure to check out our web site for all relevant links and a recap of this article. The first option that I would like to talk about is called peripheral nerve rerouting. Despite its name the concept of peripheral nerve rerouting is actually pretty simple to understand. Peripheral nerves are those nerves that are located outside of the spinal cord and brain during peripheral nerve rerouting peripheral nerves that are located above the point of injury are surgically rerouted so they are connected to peripheral nerves below the injury site. New functional connections between the brain and previously dormant muscle or sensory systems are created. To completely understand peripheral nerve rerouting, let us say that the master electric cable in the houses burned out resulting in a loss of power to the kitchen. How do you restore power? What if that section of that master cable for the kitchen’s power was beyond repair? An option would be to circumvent the section of the damaged cable by using an extension cord to splice the wires in the kitchen to wires that are working in another part of the house. Peripheral nerve rerouting works the same way. The spinal cord is just like the master cable. In order to restore power in certain parts of the body, peripheral nerves that had lost their power circumvent the damaged area of the spinal cord and draw power from nerves below the point of injury. Peripheral nerve rerouting has been around for about a hundred years and it has been attempted on hundreds of patients with spinal cord injuries. While peripheral nerve rerouting is not a cure, it has been shown to offer patients with spinal cord injury, there are degrees in improvement. In particular, some patients with C1 to C4 injuries have seen improvement in respiratory function following the procedure. While C5 to C9 patients have experienced improved arm and hand functions. In some cases, patients with lower spinal cord injuries has seen improvement in light function and some have been able to walk with the aid of devices following the procedure. The second option for recovery and progresses in spinal cord injury is called suppression of scar formation and spinal cord regeneration. This is based on the idea that traumatic spinal cord injury causes inflammation as well as the destruction of nerve fibers. The result is the formation of a fibrous mesh work of dent scar tissue that prevents accidents from regenerating. Suppression of scar formation and spinal cord regeneration is a two thronged approach designed to averse the process of scarring and promote the healing of nerve fibers. First, scar tissue is suppressed or removed in order to promote acts and growths across sites of the injury. Second, a therapy designed to restore the nerve fibers such as stem cell therapy is used to regenerate the spinal cord. While research related to the suppression of the scar formation and spinal regeneration is still in its infancy and has a long way to go before it will be used in humans certain animal shows extremely promising results. This concludes our segment on two important recovery options and prognosis in spinal cord injury research. For more information about this topic or to read more about this recovery options, visit our web site brainandspinalcord.org and thanks again for watching.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement