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Man With Severed Spinal Cord Walks Again After Cell Transplant

Man With Severed Spinal Cord Walks Again After Cell Transplant
A man paralyzed for two years is now walking again, albeit with a frame, after a transplant to his spine. The treatment, to be published in this month's Cell Transplantation, has been under discussion for a while, but has only now shown success. In 2010, Darek Fidyka was repeatedly stabbed, rendering him paralyzed from the chest down. Fortunately, however, his nose was unscathed. Olfactory ensheathing glia (OEGs) surround olfactory axons, the nerve fibers that conduct electrical charges from the nose to the brain to allow us to smell. What makes them of interest to spinal patients is that OEGs maintain their capacity to promote new neurons into adulthood. While some reptiles can grow new tails, for mammals the capacity for regrowth is lost in most of the nervous system. This capacity for regrowth has inspired spinal researchers frustrated by the fact that the mammalian central nervous system does not regenerate axons.

Related:  Neuronal RegenerationEmerging TechnologiesBiotech

New Drug Boosts Nerve Regrowth in Rats With Spinal Cord Injuries Rats with spinal cord injuries have regained movement in their hindlimbs, as well as control of their bladder, with a newly developed drug that encourages nerve growth non-invasively. The findings were published in Nature last week. Spinal cord injuries crush the axons of nerve cells, blocking the electrical signals between the brain and the body below the injury. According to previous studies, nerves don’t regrow across severed spinal cords because they’re repelled by inhibitory molecules released by the newly formed scar tissue. In normal, healthy tissue, these sugary proteins (called proteoglycans) are found in the matrix between cells, where they help maintain the structure of the nervous system. But after an injury, proteoglycans collect in scar tissue, and when they interact with a particular axon enzyme that’s found in axons (called PTP sigma), they form an impenetrable barrier (pictured below).

Cyborgs – scientists create biological tissue with embedded wiring Under its human skin, James Cameron’s Terminator was a fully-armored cyborg built out of a strong, easy-to-spot hyperalloy combat chassis – but judging from recent developments, it looks like Philip K. Dick and his hard-to-recognize replicants actually got it right. In a collaboration between Harvard, MIT and Boston Children's Hospital, researchers have figured out how to grow three-dimensional samples of artificial tissue that are very intimately embedded within nanometer-scale electronics, to such an extent that it is hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. It could lead to a breakthrough approach to studying biological tissues on the nanoscale, and may one day be used as an efficient, real-time drug delivery system – and perhaps, why not, even to build next-generation androids.

A Medical First: Woman Successfully Gives Birth With A Donated Womb "women the world over with missing or non-functional uteruses" I had no idea this was even a thing. I'm one of those women thanks to a massive fuck-up by a NYC gynecologist when I was 19.

Scientists Identify Gene Required for Nerve Regeneration A gene that is associated with regeneration of injured nerve cells has been identified by a team of researchers led by Prof Melissa Rolls of Penn State University. In fruit flies with two normal copies of the spastin gene, a team of scientists led by Prof Melissa Rolls of Penn State University found that severed axons were able to regenerate. However, in fruit flies with two or even only one abnormal spastin gene, the severed axons were not able to regenerate (Melissa Rolls / Penn State University) The team has found that a mutation in a single gene can entirely shut down the process by which axons – the parts of the nerve cell that are responsible for sending signals to other cells – regrow themselves after being cut or damaged. “We are hopeful that this discovery will open the door to new research related to spinal-cord and other neurological disorders in humans,” said Prof Rolls, who co-authored a paper published online in the journal Cell Reports.

Neurosurgeon to attempt world's first head transplant An Italian neurosurgeon has unveiled plans to perform the first human head transplant by the end of 2017. Dr Sergio Canavero announced his plan at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons in the US state of Maryland on Friday, saying he believes he has a 90 percent chance of success. He said his patient will be a 30-year-old Russian man, Valery Spiridonov, who has the muscle-wasting disease, Werdnig-Hoffmann.

Now We Know Some Creepy Things About How Penicillin Destroys Bacteria Kinja is in read-only mode. We are working to restore service. Arrgh, I'm clearly missing something essential to this story. Trial Of Stem Cell Transplants Yields Positive Results For Patients With MS A small trial in the US which set out to investigate the safety and efficacy of stem cell therapy for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) has yielded promising results three years into the study. After wiping out the patients’ immune systems and then repopulating them with stem cells, the majority of participants sustained remission of active MS and had improvements in neurological function. However, at this stage it is still unclear whether the treatment can induce long-term suppression of the disease. The results of this phase 2 study can be found in JAMA Neurology. Multiple sclerosis is one of the most common diseases of the central nervous system, affecting some 2.3 million people worldwide.

Robot learns ‘self-awareness’ Who’s that good-looking guy? Nico examines itself and its surroundings in the mirror. (Credit: Justin Hart / Yale University ) “Only humans can be self-aware.”