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American scientists believe a new procedure to repair severed nerves could result in patients recovering in days or weeks, rather than months or years. The team used a cellular mechanism similar to that used by many invertebrates to repair damage to nerve axons. Their results are published today in the Journal of Neuroscience Research.
"We have developed a procedure which can repair severed nerves within minutes so that the behavior they control can be partially restored within days and often largely restored within two to four weeks," said Professor George Bittner from the University of Texas. "If further developed in clinical trials this approach would be a great advance on current procedures that usually imperfectly restore lost function within months at best."
The team studied the mechanisms all animal cells use to repair damage to their membranes and focused on invertebrates, which have a superior ability to regenerate nerve axons compared to mammals. An axon is a long extension arising from a nerve cell body that communicates with other nerve cells or with muscles.
This research success arises from Bittner's discovery that nerve axons of invertebrates which have been severed from their cell body do not degenerate within days, as happens with mammals, but can survive for months, or even years. The severed proximal nerve axon in invertebrates can also reconnect with its surviving distal nerve axon to produce much quicker and much better restoration of behaviour than occurs in mammals.
Originally posted by webpirate
OMG! This is a credible source, and from a credible study from what I see. If this is real and will really work this could well be one of the most important medical breakthroughs since antibiotics. Or even more than that.
This could be huge.
The team described their success in applying this process to rats in two new research papers. The team were able to repair severed sciatic nerves in the upper thigh, with results showing the rats were able to use their limb within a week and had much function restored within 2 to 4 weeks, in some cases to almost full function.
Something has been cut. The abstract explains the missing procedure: "severed axonal ends are opened and resealing is prevented by hypotonic Ca free saline containing antioxidants (especially methylene blue) that inhibit plasmalemmal sealing in sciatic nerves. Second, a hypotonic solution of polyethylene glycol (PEG) is applied to open closely apposed (by microsutures, if cut) axonal ends to induce their membranes to ow rapidly into each other .." Rapid, Effective, and Long-Lasting Behavioral Recovery Produced by Microsutures, Methylene Blue, and Polyethylene Glycol After Completely Cutting Rat Sciatic Nerves G.D. Bittner, et al Journal of Neuroscience Research Early View publication