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Could nerve fibers damaged by spinal injuries be regenerated?

Sometimes, spinal cord injuries cause their victims to suffer paralysis or a loss of sensation. Such impairments can sometimes make it so a person can no longer hold the types of jobs that they were qualified to do. Such impairments may qualify a person for Social Security Disability benefits. Disability attorneys can help spinal cord injury victims when it comes to determining if seeking Social Security Disability benefits is right for them, filing an application for benefits, collecting documentation in support of a benefits application and appealing the rejection of a benefits claim.

A recent study made a discovery that could have the potential to someday lead to a treatment that could help individuals who have suffered paralysis or loss of sensation due to a spinal cord injury.

Sometimes, spinal cord injuries cause damage to nerve fibers in the central nervous system. Such nerve damage is one of the things that can lead to paralysis, loss of sensation and other serious impairments in spinal cord injury victims. Damage to central nervous system nerve fibers is currently irreparable.

In the study, the researchers looked at what mechanisms are at play when it comes to a type of nerve fiber that sometimes regenerates after being damaged: nerve fibers in the peripheral nervous system. The researchers found that a protein called PCAF played a major role in this regeneration process.

The researchers then took mice that had damage to central nervous system nerve fibers and injected them with PCAF to see if the protein would encourage regeneration in these fibers as it does with fibers in the peripheral nervous system. The researchers found that the mice that were given PCAF did show some regeneration regarding their central nervous system nerve fibers.

These discoveries raise the possibility that ways could be developed to promote controlled nerve fiber growth in central nervous systems that have suffered damage, which could perhaps help victims of spinal cord injuries recover some functions lost due to the injuries. It will be very interesting to see what follow-up research is conducted regarding these discoveries and what is discovered in such follow-up studies.

Source: Medical Xpress, "New discovery gives hope that nerves could be repaired after spinal cord injury," April 1, 2014

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