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Study suggests possible cell regeneration after spinal cord injury

Damage to the central nervous system is often irreversible, and people who have suffered serious nerve injuries may be unable to work or provide for their families. If a brain or spinal cord injury was caused by someone else's negligence, then a lawsuit may be necessary for the injured person to receive much-needed rehabilitation, therapy and treatment.

In terms of treating spinal cord injuries, scientists at the Salk Institute believe they may have made a breakthrough. While humans have central nervous systems that are more complex than those of other animals, human bodies do not self-repair nerve injuries as well as other animals such as dogs, frogs, snails and whales.

What the scientists have done is locate a protein, known as p45, which initiates nerve regeneration in certain animals. However, p45 is not found in humans. We have a different protein called p75, but p75 can actually hinder nerve regeneration. The protein does this by allowing a protective sheath called myelin to cover axons, which send out signals to other cells. When the axons are covered and no longer able to emit signals, the nerves cease to work.

Researchers plan to introduce p45 -- the protein found in animals -- to break apart the p75 proteins in humans and thus promote nerve cell regeneration. The team intends to test the effects of p45 as a way of treating the site of the nerve damage.

The top priority in seeking appropriate treatment of spinal cord injuries is to improve the injured person's quality of life. Treatment and therapy often lasts for years, and injured parties and their families should be aware of the legal options for receiving compensation for the costs resulting from a spinal cord injury.

Source: Medical Daily, "Spinal Cord Injury Repair To Borrow Nerve Regeneration Mechanism In Lower Animals," Chris Weller, Aug. 7, 2014

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