Traumatic spinal cord injury from an auto accident is a tragic and horrifying experience that can change a person’s life in extremely challenging ways. The damage from traumatic spinal cord injury can range from moderate back pain to major cases of paralysis. Doctors in California and elsewhere have not yet found a cure for the severe cases of massive paralysis. However, some fascinating research points to a possibly bright future.

In a university physics department in another state research may be lighting the way for future innovative ways to restore many functions to the body. A professor and his students are developing nano-particles that may provide important assistance to patients with traumatic spinal cord injuries. The object is to use the minute particles for spinal cord trauma after a motor vehicle accident or a gunshot wound.

Once the spinal cord cells are dead they do not revive. The nano-particles are used to go in and form a link, or a bridge, to those cells still functioning. This platform is believed to provide a way to reverse the adverse effects of neurological damage. The professor in charge at the Southeast Missouri State University physics department says the results have been promising, and they’ve been presented internationally and are well-received.

The study uses a technique for manipulating the nano-structures by external stimulation once they are in the body. This is done by adding the correct amount of heat, light or magnetism. The still-living cells are untouched by the nano-particles. The nano-structures cannot completely replace the dead or damaged cells, but they may help fill the gap as natural cells would.

The nano-structures act as a replacement for the dead cells in the broken path or “roadway” of the formerly healthy cellular activities. The bridge allows the “traffic” to flow like normal. It’s not the original road, but it may act as a replacement.

The researchers intend to move on to rodent testing in the near future. They use researchers from a wide variety of disciplines in order to get a broad perspective of input. Spinal cord research is also being done in California institutions and world-wide, and hope is bright for future results in improving the plight of those paralyzed by traumatic spinal cord injury.

Source: Southeast Missourian, Students conduct research to aid spinal cord patients, Bailey Mccormick, Sept. 30, 2013