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Hey looks like Jerry swallowed a smurf

Fifteen minutes after this rat was paralyzed, researchers injected the rodent with Brilliant Blue G dye, a derivative of common food coloring Blue Number One. The dye reduced inflammation of the spinal cord, which allowed the rats to take clumsy steps—but not walk—within weeks, a new study says.

In both rats and people, secondary inflammation following spinal cord trauma causes more lasting damage than the initial injury: Swelling sparks a small “stroke,” which stops blood flow and eventually kills off the surrounding tissue.

Other than blue skin and eyes, “we can find no clinical effect on the rat,” said Maiken Nedergaard, a neuroscientist at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York.

That lack of side effects may also help make the blue dye a boon to paralyzed humans down the road. “The beauty of it is that it wouldn’t harm you,” Nedergaard said—unlike previous compounds used to treat spinal cord injuries, which had toxic effects.

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This rat (shown pre-treatment) had its spinal cord injured while under anesthesia (a weight was dropped on its back) and then recovered its ability to take clumsy steps 42 days after having been given a derivative of a common blue food coloring, according to a study published July 27, 2009, by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The therapeutic dye is still several years away from reaching emergency rooms. In the meantime, patients with spinal cord injuries might want to drink blue Gatorade for its possible healing benefits, Nedergaard said. (No other dyes are known to have the same effect.)

This rat (shown pre-treatment) had its spinal cord injured while under anesthesia (a weight was dropped on its back) and then recovered its ability to take clumsy steps 42 days after having been given a derivative of a common blue food coloring, according to a study published July 27, 2009, by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The therapeutic dye is still several years away from reaching emergency rooms. In the meantime, patients with spinal cord injuries might want to drink blue Gatorade for its possible healing benefits, Nedergaard said. (No other dyes are known to have the same effect.)

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A rat’s foot and tail—and the skin under its fur—are turned blue by a derivative of a food coloring.

If administered within four hours after a spinal cord injury in rats, Brilliant Blue G dye prevents inflammation, thereby staving off permanent paralysis, a July 2009 study says.

The rat also enjoyed improved bladder control, which is a “big deal” for humans with spinal cord injuries. “Anything you can get is helpful,” study co-author Nedergaard added.

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Six weeks after injecting the blue dye, the research team killed and dissected the treated rat to inspect its spinal cord (pictured)—though not entirely without regrets. “It was so cute, that rat,” study co-author Nedergaard said.

The team was surprised to find that the spinal cord was still blue—the rat’s skin and eyes had returned to normal after one week.

With a blue complexion as the only side effect, the substance may someday be the first major intervention available for people with spinal cord trauma, Nedergaard said.

“The problem is we don’t have any treatment now,” she said, adding that steroids are currently the most common medication used to help spinal-trauma patients. “That was really what prompted the search. … As far as I can see, every patient can receive the blue food dye, because there’s no downside.”

via:nationalgeographic

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