Study Reveals Secret of Zebrafish: 

Scientists at Monash University in Australia have found how the zebrafish heals its spinal cord after injury.

The zebrafish, Danio rerio, is a tropical fish belonging to the family Cyprinidae. This species is a popular aquarium fish and is also an important model organism in scientific research. It has the amazing ability to regenerate fins, skin, the heart and the brain.

A new study in the describes the role of a protein in the remarkable self-healing ability of the fish. The finding could eventually lead to ways to stimulate spinal cord regeneration in humans.

“When the spinal cord is severed in humans and other mammals, the immune system kicks in, activating specialized cells called glia to prevent bleeding into it,” explained study co-author Prof Peter Currie.

“Glia are the workmen of nervous system. The glia proliferate, forming bigger cells that span the wound site in order to prevent bleeding into it. They come in and try to sort out problems. A glial scar forms.”

However, the scar prevents axons, threadlike structures of nerve cells that carry impulses to the brain, of neighboring nerve cells from penetrating the wound. The result is paralysis.

“The axons upstream and downstream of the lesion sites are never able to penetrate the glial scar to reform. This is a major barrier in mammalian spinal cord regeneration,” Prof Currie said.

In contrast, the zebrafish glia form a bridge that spans the injury site but allow the penetration of axons into it. The fish can fully regenerate its spinal cord within two months of injury. “You can’t tell there’s been any wound at all,” Prof Currie said.

 Foetal stem cells repair spinal cord injury in rats

A study has been published showing how injecting foetal neural cells into the damaged spinal cords of rats led to a marked regeneration of the neural pathways.

According to a team from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and colleagues in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Slovakia, once cells extracted from the foetal spinal cord were grafted on to the damaged region, links between the injected cells and existing ones developed and debilitating muscle spasms subsided.

“The primary benefits were improvement in the positioning and control of paws during walking tests and suppression of muscle spasticity,” said Martin Marsala, a professor in UC San Diego’s department of Anesthesiology and coauthor on the paper, publishedin the Stem Cell Research and Therapy  journal online. “We have also demonstrated that grafted neurons can develop contacts with the host neurons and, to some extent, restore the connectivity between centres, above and below the injury, which are involved in motor and sensory processing.”

The rats were injured three days prior to treatment, with a circular rod used to compress the L3 vertebra for 15 minutes. Damage to the L3 is associated most commonly with herniated discs and is a hot spot for chronic back pain in humans. Mice that received the graft also received immunosuppressants for the duration (they died two months later, in a “planned sacrifice”) and the grafts were stained with immunofluorescence so it was clear where the original tissue began and ended. The subjects were then monitored for any improvements in movement — noting things like gait and ability to climb ladders — and frequency of muscle spasms during computer-controlled ankle rotations.

Although there wasn’t any improvement of note when it came to things like the ladder climbing test, muscle spasms did significantly subside, normal heat and pain sensitivities returned and the rats appeared to have better control over their paws. Perhaps more significantly, the team came away with physical evidence of the regeneration with MRI scans picking up the immunofluorescent stem cell grafts and showing how they had filled the hole in the spinal region left by the rod damage, with the “development of putative GABA-ergic synapses between grafted and host neurons”. 

Although the study provided significant results, the team ultimately wants to opt-out of using embryonic spinal stem cells. This is not because of the inevitable moral questions that arise from using foetal cells, but because in an ideal world we don’t want to be administering immunosuppressants — the only way of avoiding that is to use cells produced by our own bodies. This could be achieved by using pluripotent stem cells from patients, then turning them into neural precursors. Making sure these cells are stable enough to insert into a human spinal cord is key to the therapy being taken forward, but there are already plans to take the study up a notch with human trials involving patients with injuries between T2 and T12 that have no motor or sensory functions below the injury. It’s also already being done elsewhere in the world.

StemCells Inc has been using human neural stem cells derived from adult tissue — known as HuCNS-SC cells (an engineered cell devised by the company) — in small trials on patients suffering from severe spinal cord injuries. After six months, sensory functions had begun to return in two of the three patients involved in the trial, with those improvements persisting for the duration of the year-long trial.

“Between the six- and 12-month evaluations, one patient converted from a complete to an incomplete injury,” said Armin Curt, professor at the Spinal Cord Injury Centre at Balgrist University Hospital in Zurich, where the trial took place. “While much more clinical research needs to be done to demonstrate efficacy, the types of changes we are observing are unexpected and very encouraging given that these are patients in the chronic stage of complete spinal injury.”  

Unlike the rat study, the Zurich trial is not however a controlled clinical study and took in just those three patients. Nevertheless, the results are astounding and show great promise for using a patient’s own cells one day in the future.

Elsewhere this week, a team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine has announced it has managed to induce improved muscle function in rats with a model of terminal motor neurone disease ALS, using adult stem cells from human bone marrow. The cells were once again engineered to fulfill a specific function — in this case the team wanted them to promote regrowth of damaged nerve cells and targeted the point where the nerve meets the muscle (where degeneration commonly begins). The cells would not become neurons, but release growth factors.

The procedure did not cure the animals of their affliction, but helped slow the disease’s progress and reinstate some muscle function. The team’s argument is that working with what you’ve got left is far easier than starting from scratch and regrowing complex structures using cells that are potentially unwieldy once injected.

“These motor nerve cells have extremely long connections, and replacing these cells is still challenging,” said Masatoshi Suzuki, assistant professor of comparative biosciences at UW. “But we aim to keep the neurons alive and healthy using the same growth factors that the body creates, and that’s what we have shown here.”

Regarding Shriners and #CipherHunt

Since the most recent clue appears to lead to a Shriner temple, I think it’s prudent to remind everyone that the Shriners run twenty two children’s hospitals across North America, with most being in the US. Their specialty areas include othopaedics, burn care, spinal cord injury, and cleft lip and palate. And they offer care regardless of a family’s ability to pay for it. In America, this is a big deal, since health care costs are so high. So please, enjoy the Cipher Hunt, but if you can, consider donating.

And please, thank a Shriner. They do good work.


Cortex - Mind Of Darkness.

anonymous asked:

heya sorry im sending this a twice cos my messages hardly ever get through but I'm just wondering, what position would a character be put in in a hospital if they had injuries that made it painful/worse to just lay flat on their back? what happens if they have a possible spinal injury, but also an actual wound on their back that needs to be treated? and what happens if they're hurt badly everywhere, front, back and sides? thanks!!

Short answer- whatever position makes them the most comfortable. Caregivers can assist in moving bed components and pillows around to facilitate this if a patient cannot do this themself. I had a patient once who really liked laying diagonally across the bed with her legs dangling off one side and her head in the gap between the top and bottom rails. She had peripheral artery disease, and dangling her legs made them hurt less. Not sure about the head placement, but to each their own.

Patients with suspected spinal cord injuries may come in to the hospital on a backboard, however, recent studies have urged EMS providers to significantly limit backboard use. This is due to evidence suggesting that spinal injuries requiring spinal immobilization are actually pretty rare, backboards are actually pretty ineffective at keeping backs immobilized, and the boards may cause additional back pain and pressure sores.

In hospital settings, patients with spinal injuries are usually placed on regular hospital beds (for “stable” spinal injuries- ones that really require no immobilization), or the injury is repaired surgically (for unstable spinal injuries), and then the patient still placed on a regular bed. Mobile patients are told not to bend, lift or twist, and non-moving patients (sedated, paralyzed or elderly), are carefully log-rolled as needed to clean and care for them.

NOTE: movement is really important to the human body. Humans move all the time- even in our sleep! If we can’t move (as in those with paralysis or severe motor impairment) or at least simulate movement (through therapies like range-of-motion exercises and 2-hourly turns) regularly, things like pressure sores, contractures (muscles that tighten up so badly they need surgery to fix), and rhabdomyolysis (toxic muscle breakdown) can develop.

Your character could easily be log-rolled onto their side to treat a wound on their back with little danger. Priority wise, if caregivers are very concerned that the character’s spinal injury is unstable (such as if they’re showing numbness, paralysis or severe back pain), repair of the spinal injury takes priority. If the wound poses a life threat (such as if it is bleeding severely), the wound takes priority. If both are true, the wound still takes priority because it could kill the character faster- the trade off being potentially additional spinal damage.

As for injuries everywhere- again, whatever position is most comfortable for the character. In the case that no comfortable position could be found, there are other methods of pain control besides positioning, and a combination of the best position and methods such as medication and distraction may result in a tolerable position for your character.



Cortex - 5 Seconds

Ofta är det lätt att glömma att Freddie Wadling inte alltid varit en liten krökt trollgubbe. Det är som att hela hans sätt att vara och tala numera hör hemma i hans sentida Edgar Allan Poe-spökkaraktär på ett kusligt passande vis. Och denna karaktär passar till den förhållandevis tillbakalutade musiken han primärt ägnar sig åt idag. Men en gång i världen gjorde han legendariskt häftig post-punk i bandet Cortex. De är typexemplet på ett band som jag inte så ofta lyssnar på, men varje gång jag gör så undrar jag varför jag inte alltid gör. Jag har varit så less på allt vad post-punk heter det senaste året att jag trodde att jag aldrig någonsin skulle känna något för en sådan akt igen. Men så kom jag ihåg denna dänga häromdagen. Ack underbara synthslingor! Ah, tralligheten! Basen! Åh Freddies ljuva ungdom!


Explosions are the Main Cause of Spine Injuries to Wounded Military Personnel

Spinal injuries are among the most disabling conditions affecting wounded members of the U.S. military. Yet until recently, the nature of those injuries had not been adequately explored.


In a new study recently published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS), a team of orthopaedic surgeonsreviewed more than eight years of data on back, spinal column, and spinal cord injuries sustained by American military personnel while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. The injuries were then categorized according to anatomic location, neurological involvement, the cause of the injury, and accompanying wounds.


The resulting analysis is an important first step in helping orthopaedic surgeons develop treatment plans for these service members, as well as for severely injured civilians who sustain similar disabling injuries.

The Tongue Drive System is getting less conspicuous and more capable. Tongue Drive is a wireless device that enables people with high-level spinal cord injuries to operate a computer and maneuver an electrically powered wheelchair simply by moving their tongues. The newest prototype of the system allows users to wear an inconspicuous dental retainer embedded with sensors to control the system. The sensors track the location of a tiny magnet attached [pierced] to the tongues of users. In earlier versions of the Tongue Drive System, the sensors that track the movement of the magnet on the tongue were mounted on a headset worn by the user.

In recent months, Ghovanloo and his team have recruited 11 individuals with high-level spinal cord injuries to test the headset version of the system at the Atlanta-based Shepherd Center and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Trial participants received a clinical tongue piercing and tongue stud that contained a tiny magnet embedded in the upper ball. They repeated two test sessions per week during a six-week period that assessed their ability to use the Tongue Drive System to operate a computer and navigate an electric wheelchair through an obstacle course.

who knew tongue piercings could be cool?


Cortex - Mayhem Troopers

Hello all!

I’ve returned from the hospital! Yesterday at about 10 AM I had a seizure (a small one) at the top of the stairs, and managed to fall down a flight of stairs and hit the wall before I came to.

@enjoloras found me crying and wheezing and dragging myself across the floor, and calmed me down before calling an ambulance. I got to the hospital after a 45 minute drive in a bumpy ambulance, and cried because they wouldn’t let me move my head because it was a spinal injury. I had another seizure at the hospital, though it was a much bigger one and they knocked me out completely for ‘my own safety’.

I was kept for the night in a ward full of sweet old ladies who snored terribly, where it was decided that I had a crushed vertebrae. A literal crushed vertebrae. Not fractured, or just broken. A crushed vertebrae.

I’m in so much pain and I have to lay down on my back completely flat for like a month or else my spine will heal in a wonky way. This is too much honestly I’m almost amazed by my bad luck.

The snake I bought two days ago died today.

I don’t know why I’m this upset over an animal i barely knew, but I am. We think it is the vendors fault for sexing the snake incorrectly and causing a spinal injury and/or internal bleeding. When we explained this to them over the phone, they laughed in my face when I asked for a refund, instead MAYBE offering me a discount on a different snake in two months at the next expo. But I don’t ever plan to buy from them again, so that doesn’t help at all. This whole situation just sucks so badly.

They were from Manhattan Reptile World btw, just in case any of you see them at any reptile expos.

anonymous asked:

So how old is Barbara exactly? I do know that she started her career as Batgirl when Dick was Robin and now Dick is a grown ass man but meanwhile Babs still looks pretty much the same? Dermatologists hate her.

That’s a very good question and really depends on what comic you’re reading. The version I prefer and choose to think of is that Barbara is in her early to mid  30’s. I determine this by Dick’s age really. Babs became Batgirl as a young adult, late teens early 20s. There was a decent age gap between her and Dick. He, I envision, was in his mid teens when Robin and Batgirl patrolled. He was majorly crushing and she decided he was too young and immature. She gets her spinal injury several years later and, by this point, Dick has physically and emotionally matured and thus the blossoms into the first tendrils of romance are seen. So yeah, IMO she’s the oldest of the kids, the most mature and probably one of the most useful. That’s just me.