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Paralyzed Lab Rats Walked Again, Could Paralyzed Humans Recover Too?

Paralyzed Lab Rats Walked Again, Could Paralyzed Humans Recover Too?

(epharmanews)- Accidents often leave survivors severely injured. Such injuries could result in partial to full paralysis due to damage inflicted on the spinal cord.

Researchers have been trying to find a way to alter that state; and finally they have offered some hope to the paralyzed when they were able to restore full movement to paralyzed rats.

A team of researchers from Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne applied a combination of chemical and electric stimulation of the spinal cord in severely paralyzed rats. The results were stunning; the rats were able to walk and run after a piece of chocolate just after two weeks of treatment.

“Our rats are not only voluntarily initiating a walking gait, but they are soon sprinting, climbing up stairs and avoiding obstacles,” said Gregoire Courtine the research team leader.

In this research, published in Science, a hundred rats regained the ability to walk after this treatment that broadly echoes rewiring. This research gives hope that the innate ability for the human spinal cord to repair itself could be restored, as it is well-known that the nervous system does not recover from major injuries. Such an injury will turn the nervous cells into a non-functional fiber cells.

However, the results of this research show that stimulating the nervous system enabled it to recover its cells in different levels which will eventually help recover major injuries. Researchers hope that this experiment will enable full paralysis patients to walk for short distances even if it does not fully heal them. Other researchers however, doubt that such experiments can be conducted on humans because most paralyzed people have been injured long enough for nervous cells to die, which is not the case in the studied rats. Also, most spinal cord injuries in humans result from scars or pressure unlike rats whose spinal cords were recently and directly cut, which caused their paralysis.

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Prepared by: Abdullatief Janat

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