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Colorado professor researches spinal cord injury treatment

Workers injured in an accident on-the-job can face a long and painful recovery process. But a serious back injury can result in long-term pain and even permanent disability. Spinal cord injuries can leave workers with mobility issues and nerve damage, often leaving them unable to return to the work they had performed before the accident.

But one man from the University of Colorado School of Medicine has been doing research that focuses on helping spinal cord injury victims recover. His research looks at nerve fiber growth and how it can help repair damaged spinal cords.

When he first began studying damaged nerve fibers, he discovered that scar tissue was preventing the nerve fibers from repairing themselves. As a result, he and his research team worked to figure out ways to around the scar tissue. Eventually they discovered that a certain type of molecule would suppress the scar tissue, enabling synapses between neurons in the spinal cord.

As stated above, spinal cord injuries can significantly alter a person's life. Instead of being able perform basic functions, spinal cord injury victims often have to adjust to relying on others for even the simplest needs. Medical treatments and rehabilitation can be costly with no guarantee that the injured person will see results.

The man's hope is that one day the discoveries he and his team make can be used to help treat victims of spinal cord injuries. The research could establish a more effective and more efficient way for victims to regain some of their mobility. As to how much a breakthrough treatment like this could cost, only time will tell.

Source: Aurora Sentinel: "Cords and harmony: UCD prof eyes new way to treat spinal cord injuries," Sara Castellanos, Sept. 7, 2011

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