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Thread: Regenerating the spinal cord, and the actual time that would take.

  1. #1

    Regenerating the spinal cord, and the actual time that would take.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QFa6jP6WgzM

    It's is an interesting video, I know there's a bit of a difference between regenerating anything neurological, then just regenerating an actual a limb. But obviously researchers have that in mind when trying to regenerate the spinal cord, the actual time the cells would take to rebuild it. Saying a salamander takes a year to regrow a small leg, presumably a human would take two decades to regrow a full limb. I wonder how long it would take cells to rebuild something as complicated as the spinal cord. Clearly hypothetical for the time being, but food for thought.

  2. #2
    I think a limb is much more complicated than the spinal cord, there are many more cell types involved and they need to be oriented in physical space in a much more complicated way then nervous system cells. You need bone and bone marrow cells in a cylindrical structure with the ends in shapes that fit the sockets, muscle, ligament, and cartilage cells that attach at the proper points on the bone, blood vessels that feed all the cells and peripheral nerves throughout. The spinal cord is just a few different cell types in a pretty basic tube shape so the main challenges are getting regeneration to cross the injury site and reconnecting with their proper targets. The central nervous system is massively parallel and not like electrical wiring you put into a house or a car so it may even be true that finding the proper targets is not that difficult of a problem. Nerve cells can have thousands of connections with other nerve cells so once regeneration restores the connections between the upper and lower ends of the surviving nerve cells then applying the proper technique to restore the voluntary control of muscles may be sufficient to restore function. Maybe nervous system plasticity can be manipulated so that the brain can remap the ability to control the body below the injury site with the right rehab program. Just making the connections alone without rehab won't be enough. So the time it would take to rebuild the spinal cord would be determined by the speed in which nerve cells travel across the injury site and the time for rehab.
    "The prospects for a cure today are better than they were yesterday."

  3. #3
    Thank you a very insightful answer. I agree 100% that growing a limb is much more complicated I was just kind of using that as a theoretical basis for time. The spinal cord is considered a tissue right? Might Be a dumb question but I don't know if there is a different terminology or classification.

  4. #4
    Hi James,
    Thanks for your post, enjoyed the video. It would be nice to know in terms of time about when a cure or large improvements would come... could anyone estimate?
    Sog

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sog View Post
    Hi James,
    Thanks for your post, enjoyed the video. It would be nice to know in terms of time about when a cure or large improvements would come... could anyone estimate?
    Sog
    Nobody can answer that. You may not want to find out the true answer anyway. In reality the only cure estimate that anyone can give is just a SWAG(Sophisticated Wild Ass Guess).

  6. #6
    Damn,the truth is sad.

  7. #7
    Senior Member KIM's Avatar
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    My guess is that if you regain let say the ability to wigle a finger you will not stop moving it and that i I consider rehab

  8. #8
    James - if it did take 2 years to grow 2 inches, you would have functioning hands and arms in around 2 years. Im encouraged even by this slow of growth example, even if it isn't analogous.

    Also, how the hell do i get a profile picture, nothing I do seems to work on this ancient forum technology...

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by rioderbi View Post
    James - if it did take 2 years to grow 2 inches, you would have functioning hands and arms in around 2 years. Im encouraged even by this slow of growth example, even if it isn't analogous.

    Also, how the hell do i get a profile picture, nothing I do seems to work on this ancient forum technology...
    Go to Settings on top right of the page, then look for Edit Profile Picture, and then look for Choose file, choose your pic and Save changes. Good luck

  10. #10
    Growth in the spinal cord is very different from regrowing a limb. Two kinds of growth have been seen in injured spinal cords of animals. The first is called sprouting, i.e. surviving axons sprout additional branches that connect with nearby neurons. Sprouting is probably a major reason for recovery of function in many people during the first several months after injury. The second is called long tract regeneration. For many years, scientists thought that such regeneration does not occur. However, much evidence suggest that axonal regrowth does occur. However, without activation of the regrowing axons that make contact with the neurons, the synapses (the connections between axons and neurons) do not last. Many good investigators have now seen massive regeneration in the spinal cord of animals without improvement of function. However, in recent clinical trials, we believe that intensive training can help facilitate such connections. Wise.

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