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The latest news and information about what's going on with SCI science and research. Brought to you by Sam Maddox, author of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Guide.

Most Recent Research News Blog Posts

A very neat experiment was reported earlier this month showing that a new kind of drug, injected under the skin early after injury, can improve functional recovery of paralyzed animals. The work, published in the leading journal Nature , comes from the Jerry Silver group at Case Western in Cleveland, and continues the lab’s long-term focus on... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Dec 15, 2014 6:04 PM EST
The Society for Neuroscience (SFN) annual meeting recently concluded its gigantic week-long data drop. This meeting is something to behold; Washington D.C., overrun with neurogeeks, hosted the world’s largest gathering of scientists who work on brain and spinal cord research, 30,000 strong from more than 80 countries. They gather to share... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Nov 30, 2014 2:23 PM EST
Regarding the big story this week from Poland .... blazed across the front page of the Times in London, Paralyzed Man Walks Again. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a spinal cord injury cure story taken for such a spectacular spin.   First, let’s hear it for Darek Fidyka, the man who got the stab wound who got his nose cells and nerve grafts put... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Oct 24, 2014 8:25 PM EDT
I came across a paper a couple of weeks ago, from the lab of Angelo Lepore, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Thomas Jefferson University Medical College. First author is Aditi Falnikar. The lab concentrates on astrocytes, glutamate and spinal cord injury.   Astrocytes are nervous system support cells. Everybody knows that. But did you know... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Oct 21, 2014 3:38 PM EDT
A research paper was published by the UCLA-based Reggie Edgerton lab this week with what the authors describe as “substantial” clinical relevance for people living with spinal cord injury. The work, titled “Initiation of Bladder Voiding with Epidural Stimulation in Paralyzed, Step Trained Rats,” appeared in the... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Oct 17, 2014 4:36 PM EDT
Grégoire Courtine and his team at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPVL) published a cool paper last week, taking the concept of epidural stimulation and spinal cord activation to new territory. They already showed that they could get paralyzed rats to walk and run well on a treadmill, and even over ground and up... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Sep 30, 2014 10:40 PM EDT
They’re back! If this were a sequel we could call it "OPC 2". How about “The Little Cells that Could?” “The Embryo Strikes Back?” I love this story. It may or may not be a great science story but it’s a cool bit of business dramaturgy. The OPC cells, the famous line of embryo-derived stem cells from the... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Aug 31, 2014 6:40 PM EDT
Skin cells from an 86-year old man were genetically reverse-programed to a more primitive state and then transplanted into a rodent model of spinal cord injury. The cells flourished and grew to an astonishing degree from the C5 injury up and down the spinal cord, and even into the brain. That’s what we learn from a really interesting paper that... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Aug 27, 2014 12:11 AM EDT
A team at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, backed by the young biotech company Neuralstem, recently launched a clinical trial to assess the safety of neural stem cell transplants in patients one to two years post spinal cord injury. The Phase I clinical trial is recruiting four patients. UCSD began recruiting August 11. Here... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Aug 22, 2014 12:33 PM EDT
The headline tells the story: “AAVshRNA-Mediated Suppression of PTEN in Adult Rats in Combination with Salmon Fibrin Administration Enables Regenerative Growth of Corticospinal Axons and Enhances Recovery of Voluntary Motor Function after Cervical Spinal Cord Injury.” The above paper was published in the Journal of Neuroscience... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jul 31, 2014 8:39 PM EDT
Eight years after leaving Carlos Lima’s clinic in Portugal, having paid him to take tissue from her nose and transplant it into her spinal cord, a young Iowa woman developed pain at the implant site. Turns out a tumor-like growth had formed on her cord. Surgeons in Iowa City removed a one-inch growth, described elsewhere as “mainly nasal... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jul 22, 2014 12:47 PM EDT
This blog is based on a stroke study. Don’t leave. The lessons are important and apply to any and all traumas to the central nervous system (CNS), including spinal cord injury. Therapy plus training, plus the right timing, can equal recovery. A paper was published a couple of weeks ago from the Martin Schwab lab at the Brain Research Institute in... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jul 7, 2014 12:51 PM EDT
Quite a couple of weeks for the neuro-bionic bid to address paralysis. An exoskeleton system just got approved commercially in the U.S., a quad in Ohio used a brain bypass to activate his hand, and of course there was the first kick in the World Cup stunt, wherein a young Brazilian used his brain signals to bump a soccer ball with his foot (hard to call that a... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jun 28, 2014 9:57 PM EDT
A compelling paper came out in the literature this month – not because it  suggests a novel therapy for spinal cord injury; it’s rather more wonky than that. It’s attempting to make vast amounts of data more shareable and less wasteful, to make verifiable sense out of the large number of research papers that claim possible benefits... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jun 17, 2014 7:28 PM EDT
The annual meeting of the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) was held last week in San Antonio. This is the primary organization of physicians and allied professionals who take care of people with spinal injuries. The meeting covers the full range of clinical and quality of life issues, from skin to bladder to rehab and robotics, care and... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research May 20, 2014 4:46 PM EDT
Graham Creasey is a Scotland-born physician/scientist now with positions at the Palo Alto VA and at Stanford University. He was instrumental in bringing the North American Clinical Trials Network to the West Coast. In the following interview, he explains how that came to be, and also how he maintains his interests in prosthetics and future clinical... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research May 8, 2014 4:32 PM EDT
Getting spinal cord axons to grow away from the lesion area past scar tissue that forms after injury is an appealing but difficult idea. We have seen over the years that application of a bacterial enzyme called chondroitinaseABC, nicknamed ChABC or chase, degrades the scar and in animal experiments, promotes growth and improves recovery. Applying... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Apr 21, 2014 6:18 PM EDT
Neueralstem finally has its SCI trial on track. The company got FDA clearance a year ago January  to implant spinal cord-derived stem cells into people a year to two years post spinal cord injury. It’s a safety trial, starting at the University of California, San Diego. more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Apr 16, 2014 11:39 AM EDT
Quite the research story broke today, and I’m sure you’re not hearing this first from me: Four paraplegics who had no ability to move anything below their spinal cord injury level were able to voluntarily move their legs. Go here for more (read the full paper from Brain , plus FAQs, patient and scientist bios, etc.). more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Apr 8, 2014 11:19 PM EDT
Regeneration 101: spinal cord axons, or nerve fibers, don’t self-repair after injury. Part of the problem is extrinsic, that is, the toxic area around the injury and the formation of an impenetrable scar. Another problem is that the axons themselves are stuck; they don’t have the juice to put forth much of an effort. more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Mar 31, 2014 7:06 PM EDT

Most Recent Comments

Hello, John here in California. While I am not a neuroscientist, I did study Materials Science in college -- San Jose...
Sam I agree with most of what you say, but I would like to add a few considerations: 1) In my opinion the first paper abou...
Hi Sam - There's continued talk about various improvements in the lives of patients who have been treated with epidu...
This shows that we humans are far better at damaging our bodies than we are at repairing them. Thankfully there are te...
My husband had the exact same surgery by Dr.Lima in 2005. He never had any impovement following the surgery, and has h...

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