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Friday 28th October 2016

Spinal injury rehab boost

15th July 2008

Researchers have found chemicals utilised by bacteria to enter cells could increase the possibility of recovery from spinal and brain injury.


Researchers from the Centre for Brain Repair in Cambridge gave rats the enzyme chondroitinase.

They discovered that the enzyme was able to increase how long the nervous system was responded to rehabilitation.

After nervous systems are damaged, patients are given rehabilitation so they have a chance to recover some of their lost functions.

Patients can usually recover some functions but it can be a lengthy process and it is very difficult for the body to form new connections.

Molecules known as chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans (CSPGs) are contained in scar tissue, which is formed around nerve cells and limits new connections.

Chondroitinase is able to destroy these molecules.

The rats had spinal cord injuries and could not hold objects between their paws. The animals who had chondroitinase treatment combined with rehabilitation showed a significant improvement.

The researchers, led by Professor James Fawcett and Dr Guillermo Garcia-Alias, said: "The discovery opens up the possibility that rehabilitation for neurological conditions can be made much faster and much more effective by giving treatment such as chondroitinase to make the nervous system plastic."


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