There may finally be a cure for paralysis. Alan Mackay-Simof Griffith University in Australia thinks nerve cells froma patient’s own nose could be used to regenerate severednerves.
His team plans to experiment on 8 people who have beenparalyzed from the waist down for between six months andthree years. Half the patients will receive a spinalinjection of the their own nasal cells.
These olfactory cells connect the lining of the nose withthe brain, giving us our sense of smell. Unlike most nervecells, they continue to regenerate throughout life, probablybecause they can be destroyed by infections. “There’s only afew microns of mucus between the air and the nerve endings,”says Mackay-Sim.
The transplanted cells will provide a bridge to allow spinalnerves to grow through the damaged area. Several otherresearch groups have done similar experiments on rats, someof which have been highly successful. Rats with totallysevered spinal cords regained control of their hind legsafter receiving the transplants.
But in rats, the cells have been removed from inside theskull, and this can?t be done with people. So far, no onehas been able to harvest enough cells from a single person.Mackay-Sim has developed a method of growing the cells in aculture to produce large enough numbers to implant in the spine.
Tim Geraghty, director of the Spinal Injuries Unit ofPrincess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, says, “Even ifpeople could get back some sensation around their bottom andlegs, that would be extremely helpful in preventingbedsores. A step up would be an improvement in bladder orbowel or sexual function.”
Amazing as it may seem, in our lifetimes we may see actorChristopher Reeve, and others in wheelchairs, get up andwalk again.
There is spiritual healing as well. Find out how scientistRussell Targ was cured of cancer by healer Jane Katra in?Heart of the Mind? and ?Miracles of Mind?,click here.
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