Stretched axons—the nervous system’s communication lines—have grown faster and further than thought possible in an experiment that promises insight into repairing spinal cord damage.


Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia have mechanically stretched axons up to eight millimeters per day and up to lengths of 10 centimeters—visible to the naked eye.



Understanding the mechanisms of such growth should assist with the development of techniques for repairing nerve and spinal cord damage.



“To find that tension is actually good for your nerves for both growth and repair may not be such a long stretch,” says research leader Douglas Smith.



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