3D-printed nerve stem cells could help patch up spinal cord injuries

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A 3D-printed device, loaded with neuronal stem cells, that can be implanted into an injured spinal cord to help “bridge” the damage,

Spinal injuries can be like downed power lines – even if everything on either side of the injury is perfectly functional, the break can effectively shut down the whole system. Now, researchers at the University of Minnesota have designed a device that could link everything back together again. A silicone guide, covered in 3D-printed neuronal stem cells, can be implanted into the injury site, where it grows new connections between remaining nerves to let patients regain some motor control.

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‘Matrix’-like brain training to speed up physical therapy possible in the future

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It’s no easy task to learn to walk again after a traumatic accident. One of the hardest things for motor-impaired patients is to generate the correct brain signals to help them recover efficiently.

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Paralyzed man first to walk using brain power alone

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A paralyzed man is able to move using his brainpower thanks to a  ‘neural-bypass procedure’ that has been heralded a world first. Neurosurgeons achieved the world first by transmitting signals from the 26-year-old American’s brain to electrodes placed around both knees.

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Scientists discover mechanism that could regrow damaged nerves

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The discovery could lead to developing a drug that can trigger regrowth of damaged nerves.

Spinal cord injuries are currently irreparable. Most people who suffer from such an injury never fully recover, and many end up with partial or even full paralysis. Although we’ve made great strides in understanding how spinal injuries damage nerves and how we might fix the spinal cord in the future, and even how those patients can cope in the meantime, we still don’t know how to repair the nerves themselves when such an injury occurs. However, scientists at Imperial College London have recently discovered a mechanism that allows them to repair, and even regenerate, nerves in the central nervous system after a spinal cord injury.

 

 

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Scientists discover the secret to what makes us itch

What makes us itch?

Scientists  now know the secret. In what will be a boon for millions of people with chronic itch conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, a small molecule released in the spinal cord has now been found to trigger a process that is later experienced in the brain as the sensation of itch.

 

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Chronic Pain Can Be Treated With Tiny Injectable Implants

Chronic Pain Can Be Treated With Tiny Injectable Implants

RFID technology allows neural stimulators to get really small.

A tiny injectable implant, smaller than a grain of rice, might one day take the place of large neural stimulators used to treat chronic pain and other neurological disorders. The novel device, under development by MicroTransponder, a Dallas-based startup, owes its small size to the use of RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology like that used to tag clothes to prevent shoplifting.

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Electrical Stimulation Through The Spinal Cord May Ease Parkinson’s Symptoms

Electrical Stimulation Through The Spinal Cord May Ease Parkinson’s Symptoms

Neural activity in the brain of a Parkinsonian rat before (top) and after (bottom) electrical stimulation is applied to its spinal cord.  

Delivering electrical stimulation to the spinal cord through tiny, platinum electrodes could ease the severe motor deficits of Parkinson’s disease as effectively as a much more intrusive procedure currently in clinical use, according to a new study in rodents. If the findings are confirmed in humans, scientists say, the procedure could dramatically improve treatment for the disease by making electrical therapies safer and more broadly available.

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