Articles Posted in Spinal Cord Injury

LA JOLLA – Spinal cord injury researchers from UC San Diego have announced a major advance in reconnecting nerve endings, which could lead to the reverse of paralysis in patients. The findings were published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Performing experiments on rats, scientists at the UCSD School of Medicine have, for the first time, successfully reconnected severed axons – parts of nerve cells that conduct electrical impulses. Using a nervous system growth factor called neuroptophin, researchers were able to guide severed axon endings to a correct paired axon ending and bond. This bonding formed electrical connections called synapses.

A recent survey by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation found that 1.275 million Americans have suffered a spinal cord injury, and more than 5.6 million Americans live with some form of paralysis.

There is a great story in yesterday’s Orange County Register about the lone survivor of the car accident that killed Angel’s pitcher Nick Adenhart. Jon Wilhite was a passenger in the car with Adenhart when the collision occurred, and was hit with such force that he suffered atlanto-occipital dislocation, better known as “internal decapitation.”

Internal decapitation occurs when the skull literally separates from the spine, which kills 95% of its sufferers at the scene of the accident. Of the five percent who survive, half of those are rendered quadriplegic. Jon was one of the lucky ones.

“Jon is the first Orange County survivor of internal decapitation,” said Dr. Nitin Bhatia, director of the Spine Center at UCI Medical Center.

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