Spinal Cord Injury: Hope Through Research: National …

Posted: May 19, 2015 at 11:42 pm

Scientists continue to investigate new ways to better understand and treat spinal cord injuries.

Much of this research is supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Other NIH components, as well as the Department of Veterans Affairs, other Federal agencies, research institutions, and voluntary health organizations, also fund and conduct basic to clinical research related to improvement of function in paralyzed individuals.

Many hospitals have developed specialized centers for spinal cord injury care. Many of these bring together spinal cord injury researchers from a variety of disciplines for partnerships regarding basic and clinical research, clinical care, and knowledge translation.

Current research is focused on advancing our understanding of four key principles of spinal cord repair:

Neuroprotectionprotecting surviving nerve cells from further damage

Regenerationstimulating the regrowth of axons and targeting their connections appropriately

Cell replacementreplacing damaged nerve or glial cells

Retraining CNS circuits and plasticity to restore body functions

A spinal cord injury is complex. Repairing it has to take into account all of the different kinds of damage that occur during and after the injury. Because the molecular and cellular environment of the spinal cord is constantly changing from the moment of injury until several weeks or even months later, combination therapies will have to be designed to address specific types of damage at different stages of the injury.

Neuroprotection

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