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 Paralysed rats 'learn to walk'

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Belinda Ongaro



Number of posts : 32
Registration date : 2012-02-02

PostSubject: Paralysed rats 'learn to walk'   Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:10 pm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18257077
According to the article, paralyzed rats have regained mobility by means of chemical and electrical stimulation of the spinal cord. Recent experiments have given rise to much success, there was even an account of this method producing similar results in a human as it has in rats. The process involves stimulating the spinal nerves by injecting specific chemicals into the spine, followed by the electrical stimulation of the base of the cord. Although this is not sufficient to trigger motion, in experiments with rats, with the support of a harness and a treat for encouragement, the injured rats were capable of improving body movement. The key is accessing the brain, the actual desire to move, to enhance the impulse. The success is deemed a profound advancement and a sign that research is heading in the right direction. Until several successful trials are completed it is wrong to falsely give hope to those who suffer from paralysis, but based on the path science has taken, we will likely see further improvements to the technology and the success of its application in our future.
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Cassidy Mozak



Number of posts : 46
Registration date : 2012-02-03

PostSubject: Re: Paralysed rats 'learn to walk'   Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:35 pm

I agree with Belinda in saying that much more research into this method of improving movement is required before humans with paralysis can be given hope that this method will be applicable to them. When looking at the experiment done with rats, a harness was needed as was motivation to move. As stated, this is definitely a step in the right direction in regards to research, but it is not exactly promising. . . yet. The thing that mainly concerns me though is the actual injection and stimulation. The spinal cord is a very fragile part of the body and extremely important as it is part of the nervous system. I wonder if injecting chemicals into the spine will have other effects on the body that may be unwanted, and if this stimulation might actually worsen some peoples' condition. One thing is certain; if this method is to be applied to humans in the future, much care must be taken in the procedure.
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Suzanne Sawatski



Number of posts : 31
Registration date : 2012-02-10

PostSubject: Re: Paralysed rats 'learn to walk'   Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:32 pm

Cassidy provides a good point that the spinal cord is a very fragile part of the body and nervous system, and I too wonder what effects "bathing it with chemicals and zapping it with electricity" may have. In the article, this method of treatment for paralysis in rats showed new nerves forming across the injury, but also changes in the brain. In humans, these brain changes could potentially be a side effect as well, maybe even producing new problems for patients. As Cassidy said, if this method is applied to humans, it should be done very carefully, and I personally believe that this may not be the best way to treat paralysis in humans, and that with science and technology continuing to advance every day, a better treatment will come forth.
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