What is Paralysis?
Paralysis is defined as complete loss of strength in an affected limb or muscle group.
This happens when the chain of nerve cells that runs from the brain through spinal cord towards the muscles lose their connection with the brain in the motor pathway. At any point, damage can reduce the brain’s ability to control the muscles. If the connection is completely lost, it results in complete loss of movement which is named as Paralysis. The nerve damage can be in the brain or in the spinal cord.
Reasons of Paralysis:
The reasons for damage to the brain or spinal cord can include Strokes, Trauma, Tumor, herniated disk, and rheumatoid arthritis of the spine, neurodegenerative disease, radiations Toxins or Poison.
What is meant by Reversing Paralysis?
Scientists claim that there is a hope and open window of possibility that a damaged nerve can be regenerated or spinal cord injury can be reversed by regenerating the damaged cells. They are making remarkable improvements at using brain implants to restore the freedom of movement.
Scientific Researches on Reversing Paralysis:
Experiments on Animals:
- A study carried out in New Orleans at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. It said that Stem cells injected into the spinal fluid of newly paralyzed mice and rats can restore movement. This study focused on the efficiency of stem cells treatment for restoring functions over a large region of nervous system rather than just focusing on the small damaged area. Researchers said that this treatment will open borders for the better treatment for human patients afflicted with motor neuron diseases.
- The researchers from the University of Florida and the University of Cincinnati told that implantation of fetal nerve tissues appears to have revived nerves in injured spinal cords of cats, improving their walking ability.
- Another research carried out by Fred Gage of the University of California in San Diego. He removed muscle cells from rodents and infected them with a virus carrying a growth factor gene. Then he injected the cells back to the brain of same rat and result was re-growth of those nerve fibers they connected properly to the other nerve cells.
Experiments and Researches on Humans:
- A new medical intrusion allowed doctors to inject neural stem cells into the spines of paralyzed patients. It helped that in improving and feeling better in their previously unresponsive body parts.
- Another experiment carried out by New Scientist report that they made a small trial of injecting 20 million neural stem cells directly into the spinal cord of three partially paralyzed patients. Before treatment, all of the patients could feel nothing in their lower bodies but after Six months two of them can feel touch and heat down below their belly button n lower body. The stem cells were harvested from donated fetal brain tissue, and the patients received immunosuppressive drugs to minimize the risks of rejection. Stephen Huhn, one of the researchers, told New Scientist that this small success can be a massive leap in the treatment of Paralysis.
- Researchers at the University of California-Davis have recently enrolled their first patient in a study of a drug called VX-210. Applied topically over the spinal cord, scientists contemplate that it could regenerate previously damaged axons (the part of nerve cells that transmits information).
- Another drug named Glyburie has been used for years to manage diabetes and also reduce the brain swelling after stroke. This drug is being tested now with spinal cord injuries for reducing swelling.
- Researchers at Rush Medical Center in Chicago and the University of Southern California recently injected 10 million human embryonic stem cells into the spinal cords of paralyzed individuals. A visible improvement was reported in those patients like increased sensation and movement in their arms and hands.
One Small Step for a Paraplegic, One Big Step Toward Reversing Paralysis https://t.co/ydyYLhLmbO
— Erivelton Gualter (@EGualter) July 25, 2017
All of these options, much like InVivo’s scaffold, are still in the early stages of testing. So there is a hope that in future scientists will be able to reverse paralysis completely.