Skip to main content
Accessibility  |  Contact  |  Privacy  |  Terms of Service

Promising Spinal-cord Injury Treatment

  • Published: 2010-05-30 : Author: University of Alberta
  • Synopsis: University of Alberta's Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine discovery offers promising research for spinal-cord injury treatments (SCI).

Main Document

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.

Similar Topics

1 : Exploring Upper Limb Dysfunction After Spinal Cord Injury : Kessler Foundation.
2 : Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Can Be Predicted : University of Zurich.
3 : Bowel Care Top Concern for People with Spinal Cord Injury : Simon Fraser University.
4 : Human Neural Stem Cell Grafts Used to Repair Spinal Cord Injuries in Monkeys : University of California - San Diego.
5 : How the Human Brain Can Tell Our Arms and Legs Apart : Salk Institute.
From our Spinal Cord Injury section - Full List (96 Items)

Submit disability news, coming events, as well as assistive technology product news and reviews.

Loan Information for low income singles, families, seniors and disabled. Includes home, vehicle and personal loans.

Famous People with Disabilities - Well known people with disabilities and conditions who contributed to society.

List of awareness ribbon colors and their meaning. Also see our calendar of awareness dates.

Blood Pressure Chart - What should your blood pressure be, and information on blood group types/compatibility.

1 : Smartphone Addiction is More Addiction to Social Interaction
2 : Actress Eileen Grubba Advocates for Inclusion from Hollywood to the Boardroom
3 : Types of Genetic Mutations Associated with Nephrotic Syndrome Identified
4 : Fighting My Cancer as Much as Possible - Why Many Patients Join Phase 1 Clinical Trials
5 : Social Stigma Can Stand in the Way of Food Insecurity Screening


Disclaimer: This site does not employ and is not overseen by medical professionals. Content on Disabled World is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. See our Terms of Service for more information.

Reporting Errors: Disabled World is an independent website, your assistance in reporting outdated or inaccurate information is appreciated. If you find an error please let us know.