This is amazing news which could lead to a cure for many paralysed people.
Amazing time we’re living in.
Wow, that is some amazing stuff. It looks like they have a ways to go before it is a “cure”, but it definitely shows potential.
I wonder if they’ll be able one day to recreate the effect of the olfactory regeneration in other nerve cells and so preclude the need for transplantation.
Huh. I saw a documentary about a decade ago where they were doing this exact thing as a preliminary trial.
Now, if only they can restore his sense of smell!
But really, that’s a remarkable breakthrough for spinal cord injuries (and I’m guessing other similar nervous system injuries).
Yes, and while we are at it: another approach based on electrical stimulation of the spinal cord:
I have some close colleagues working in this field. We are nowhere near ‘walking again normally’: these people walk in a lab with robotic assistance. But the field is getting closer to clinical trials with serious hope for improvements in lower body function and therefore quality of life.
My little brother has a C6 spinal injury from a hiking accident eight years ago. It left him with limited arm movement and almost nothing else from the neck down.
I’m following this very closely.
Christopher Reeve always believed he’d live long enough to see this happen.
There is another thread on the topic started earlier than mine and I’ve reported this and asked it to be closed/merged. Just fyi.
Merged duplicate threads.
This is awesome news and hopefully will be the breakthrough it promises to be. However, what it will not be is any kind of boon for the millions of people who have been paralyzed for years or decades and whose bodies have atrophied and wasted away to the point that bone loss, muscle and soft tissue loss and other degenerative problems would make walking again-even if a cure ever came about-simply impossible.
Why wouldn’t steroids or human growth hormone be able to help with that? Maybe that’s just a dumb question, I know next to nothing about medicine.
The bones of a paralyzed person, after decades of no use, become extremely brittle, light and weak; basically osteoporotic. Severely. Breaks and fractures can and do often occur from small, everyday movements such as transferring from the wheelchair to the toilet. Also, in addition to the muscle atrophy, which for people with flaccid paralysis who experience no spasticity can be startlingly severe, the muscles will actually shorten, or contract. This means many people with spinal cord injuries cannot actually even straighten their legs fully, or even close to fully, because the hamstring muscles are so tight and atrophied. The devastation to the human body after decades of living with spinal cord injury is truly profound. There really is no getting back what was lost after a certain point of living as a para/quadriplegic.
Even if, after years of grueling and painful, exhaustive physical therapy and groundbreaking medical treatment, a long-injured person is made able to ambulate again, it would be a night and day difference from what they were like prior to their injury. It wouldn’t be “walking” in the sense that most people know the term.
And this is the main reason why, for a large number of paralyzed people (myself included), such a “cure” would hold no interest to them. They are happy with their lives as is and don’t feel that they are even in need of any “cure” in the first place. This is the life they know now and the idea of spending years and going thru all that pain, basically stopping the life they know, just so they can “walk” in some unsightly, inefficient, horribly unstable manner just is not a desirable future. It can become a bit offensive at times when the world is constantly telling you you are in need of being fixed. That you are broken. I’ve spent the past 14 understanding and realizing just the opposite.
I love reading stories like this, where science seems to make a huge leap forward. I understand that it isn’t a cure, it isn’t for everyone, and it has a long way to go yet, but man, what a world we live in! Moar research! I want my tooth transplants and my flying car!
This is very much a first and I’m hoping you’re very wrong.
Giving someone the ability to do something - anything - they couldn’t do before is never wrong.
And, of course, even if Ambivalid is right and the atrophy proves to be irreversible, this still provides tremendous hope for people who are paralyzed in the future. If this treatment works out, future patients could be treated before the atrophy begins.