Neutral Axis

More Paralyzed Rat News

by on Sep.22, 2009, under Uncategorized

So apparently blue rats aren’t good enough.  Scientists have succeeded in getting rats with spinal cord injuries to walk again, this time without even bothering to repair the spine.  Again, why would anyone have thought to even try this method?

Scientists used exercise, drugs, and electrical stimulation to train paralyzed rats to walk, showing a possible way to treat spinal injuries in humans.  With no spinal connection between their legs and brain, the rats were able to carry their own weight at walking, and even running pace.

From the New York Times, “The most novel thing is that it’s demonstrating, in the rat, that there are neuro-networks within the lumbar-sacral spinal cord capable of full weight-bearing and relatively coordinated stepping without any input from the brain. What is new here is that it demonstrates that the sensory system can actually control the stepping. This is a really important point that is unique, and most people have not thought about the sensory system as being a control system.”

So now if we get zombie rats, even shooting them in the head won’t stop them since the brain isn’t needed.

Again from the NYT, “There is a tendency to think that stepping is occurring because of our cortical control, our conscious control. Most of our movements are relatively automatic. We’re not really controlling movement from the brain. The sensory system from the legs to the spinal cord, much of this control is occurring automatically. After a complete spinal injury, that sensory information is not getting to the brain, but it’s getting to the spinal circuity. That spinal circuitry knows how to interpret that information.”

NYT

BBC


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