Promising Spinal-cord Injury Treatment

Author: University of Alberta
Published: 2010/05/30
Contents: Summary - Main - Related Publications

Synopsis: University of Alberta's Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine discovery offers promising research for spinal-cord injury treatments (SCI).

Main Digest

University of Alberta's Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine discovery offers promising research for spinal-cord injury treatments (SCI).

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 nervous system 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 neurons. 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 spinal-cord 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.

📢 Discover Related Topics


👍 Share This Information To:
𝕏.com Facebook Reddit

Page Information, Citing and Disclaimer

Disabled World is an independent disability community founded in 2004 to provide disability news and information to people with disabilities, seniors, their family and/or carers. You can connect with us on social media such as X.com and our Facebook page.

Cite This Page (APA): University of Alberta. (2010, May 30). Promising Spinal-cord Injury Treatment. Disabled World. Retrieved April 21, 2024 from www.disabled-world.com/disability/types/spinal/sci-research.php

Permalink: <a href="https://www.disabled-world.com/disability/types/spinal/sci-research.php">Promising Spinal-cord Injury Treatment</a>: University of Alberta's Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine discovery offers promising research for spinal-cord injury treatments (SCI).

Disabled World provides general information only. Materials presented are never meant to substitute for qualified professional medical care. Any 3rd party offering or advertising does not constitute an endorsement.