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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

Here is a look at a recently published scientific study related to spinal cord injury. This comes from the Jerry Silver lab at Case Western in Cleveland, a program with a long history of looking at glia, the cells that support neurons in the spinal cord. We have discussed Silver's work often, in particular his efforts to get once-vibrant nerves in the ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jan 31, 2016 7:20 PM EST
It is now possible, with minimal technical skill and very little cost, to essentially edit and perhaps correct the human genome. The genome comprises the basic blueprint for all organs, tissues and cells in the body, and for all bodily functions, including those associated with disease or those damaged by trauma. Cut-and-paste gene editing ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jan 26, 2016 3:39 PM EST
File this in the-future-is-gaining-on-us folder.   Four news stories caught my eye in recent days, related in ways that will be mostly obvious. Feel free to speculate about the brave new mechanized breeze blowing this way. For people living with paralysis, it's time to embrace cyborgian solutions.   Item one :  The VA agreed a couple of weeks ago to pay ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jan 8, 2016 9:21 PM EST
A year-end look back at spinal cord injury research: by at least one yardstick, it was a very hopeful year. There were an unprecedented number of clinical trials for individuals with long-term SCI. First, the epidural stimulation studies at the University of Louisville have continued beyond the first four participants we’ve all come to know – ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Dec 25, 2015 12:23 AM EST
The idea of any acute therapy for spinal cord injury is to limit the damage that occurs secondary to the initial trauma. As a result of inflammation, edema and general cellular chaos, the injury process continues for hours and even days. But that process, which is becoming better understood, can be manipulated. There are new tools to protect the ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Nov 30, 2015 7:28 PM EST
StemCells Inc. released some early data a few days ago from its Pathway stem cell clinical trial for chronic cervical spinal cord injury. You have to be a little careful when public companies release information about their work – investor enthusiasm is really the point. But these unpublished results appear to be quite remarkable: Five of six motor ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Nov 24, 2015 3:41 PM EST
Turns out CHASE-IT stands Chondroitinase ABC for Spinal Injury Therapy. It’s a collaborative project between four lab groups, led by:  Elizabeth Bradbury (King’s College London), Elizabeth Muir (University of Cambridge), Joost Verhaagen (Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience), and ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Nov 14, 2015 1:41 AM EST
The spinal cord alone, without brain input, coordinates and automates many complex movement functions. A team of scientists at the Salk Institute in San Diego, led by Sam Pfaff, a member of the Reeve Foundation International Research Consortium on Spinal Cord Injury , made a big step this month toward understanding how this works. The research, ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Sep 30, 2015 10:00 PM EDT
Kate Willette's book has just arrived. It's 238 nicely illustrated pages, titled "Don't Call it A Miracle, The Movement to Cure Spinal Cord Injury." If you want to understand the basic biology of the injured cord, and what the basic approaches scientists are taking to heal, mend or bypass the nervous system, and by all means if ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Sep 28, 2015 11:01 PM EDT
Paraplegics are on their feet. Walking the walk. Seems we are hearing that a lot lately. Let’s look at two high profile stories, two very different approaches, both reported in the medical literature in September.   Mark Pollock practices walking with trainer Simon O'Donnell. (Courtesy of Mark Pollock) Earlier in the month, Irishman Mark ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Sep 26, 2015 9:15 PM EDT
A research paper came out a few days ago about how spinal cord axons, what many of us think of as nerve fibers, are guided to make connections exactly where they are supposed to. That issue – connecting – is a primary concern in development, as the system is formed with elegance and precision, and again after spinal cord injury, where it doesn’t ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Aug 31, 2015 5:42 PM EDT
Asterias Biotherapeutics announced today that a third patient with a cervical spinal cord injury has been dosed with embryonic stem cells (code-named AST-OPC1) as part of the company’s acute (14 to 30 days post injury) Phase 1/2a clinical trial of oligodendrocyte progenitor (OP) cells. In case you don’t have your scorecard in front of ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Aug 31, 2015 4:07 PM EDT
Clearing out the spinal cord scar using a bacterial roto-rooter; seeding the injury site with fragments of peripheral nerve; souping up inactive spinal cord nerve cells by modifying their genetic blueprints – these are three well-studied ideas that have each captured major mindshare in the spinal cord research community, and have over years of ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Aug 24, 2015 4:33 PM EDT
Veteran spinal cord injury researcher Philip Horner, Ph.D., has been named scientific director for The Houston Methodist Neurological Institute’s new Center for Neuroregenerative Medicine. Horner began his research career at Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, CA; there he was an Associate in the Reeve Foundation ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jul 31, 2015 9:11 PM EDT
More cool news was released today about voluntary recovery after complete spinal cord injury. No surgery!   Let’s start with a statement, this from Reggie Edgerton, principal investigator behind the new publication, “ Noninvasive Reactivation of Motor Descending Control after Paralysis .”   “People who are paralyzed are ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jul 30, 2015 3:40 PM EDT
A research study was published today in the journal PLOS One by the Susan Harkema lab at the University of  Louisville, looking again at the benefits of epidural spinal cord stimulation, this time with regard to standing. PLOS is an open access journal; you can read the paper, Effects of Lumbosacral Spinal Cord Epidural Stimulation for Standing ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jul 24, 2015 4:53 PM EDT
Is there a realistic case to be made for regeneration? You hear folks say they don't want a bridge or a segmental patch job on their spinal cord injuries. They don't want an on-off switch either. They want the real biological cure, and the way this can only go is by regeneration of axons that start in the brain. These are the long nerve wires that run ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jul 20, 2015 3:32 PM EDT
There are still a few spots open to attend the Advanced Course: Spinal Cord Injury, September 12-19, 2015 at the  Neuroscience School of Advanced Studies , Abbazia di Novacella, Südtirol, Italian Alps. For one intense week you will work alongside faculty that are undisputed leaders in their own field: the result is a profound experience ... more...
Posted by Community Admin on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jul 16, 2015 9:01 AM EDT
You have to applaud Erik Sorto for letting these engineers monkey around with his posterior parietal cortex (PPC). I might let them mess with mine but not if they have to attach those huge electrical portals on my skull the way the did with Erik.  Photo courtesy of Caltech, Keck USC, Rancho Los Amigos Team. In case you missed it, this story from Los ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research May 26, 2015 10:39 PM EDT
It’s coming up on 10 years now since a scientific paper was published that would embolden California-based StemCells, Inc. to take an experimental line of neural stem cells into human trials. This 2005 research, conducted by Brian and Aileen Anderson, at the University of California, Irvine’s Reeve-Irvine Center, funded in part by the ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research May 18, 2015 10:09 PM EDT

Recent Comments

Go Mark Pollock!! And all the others involved in USA and Dublin. It seems like such a long wait though - Emily is losing hope despite all the progress in research. But looking here helps, thank you.
Are those findings also valid for tetraplegics ?
Thanks for the overview
Super interesting study. Give alot of hopes..
this is tremendous news...so much respect for Dr Edgerton.