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Spinal injury repair Idea

r norman rsn_ at _comcast.net
Fri Jan 30 20:41:46 EST 2004

On Fri, 30 Jan 2004 17:03:38 -0600, "Pylon" <s.ivy at espywireless.com>

>I am not an expert on neuroscience or even biology but I have an idea I
>would like to get some expert opinions on.
>Picture the following tragically common scenario. A fall causes total
>paralysis to the lower extremities. Assume the injury is serious enough that
>there is basically no hope for normal recovery. Maybe something like 1/2
>inch of spinal cord was crushed beyond repair. After some time has gone on,
>at least several weeks. Assume the initial primary tissue inflammation has
>subsided. The bones and muscles and what have you are well on their way to
>normal healing. However there is now a permanant gap in the "healthy" spinal
>cord extending above and below the injury site. I assume that not enough
>time has passed for serious atrophy to have set in. I don't really know how
>long that might take but let's assume that the body has had time to do it's
>regular housekeeping and that what you basically looking at is two clean
>ends of otherwise healthy spinal cord separated by a distance.
>Now I understand that there are "neural growth factors" that can cause new
>dendrites to grow. I picture the following... A specially designed piece of
>silicone rubber or some other sort of similar flexible insulating
>elastimomer suitable for use as a permanent prosthesis.
>Now just sticking an insulating piece of rubber across the gap obviously
>isn't going to do any good. The real idea here is to make many thousands (or
>maybe even millions) of parallel conductive paths that will all be imbedded
>into the rubber matrix.
>Now for the tricky part... How can you make new connections?
>Well the ends of the rubber pieces will be specially coated with areas that
>are very condusive to making neural connections I don't know what would be
>the ideal material to treat the "wire" ends with but you make those areas
>attractive to neural growth by treating the wire ends with a tiny amount of
>time released neural growth factor.
>Thsi will not be enough neural growth factor to effect other areas but
>mainly just the the area around the one wire's ends. I say wire but the
>wires could be metal or they could be conductive plastic of some sort. That
>part is not worked out yet. Real wires might be prone to corrosion so they
>may not be the ieal material to use.
>Also you would need to treat the ends with some sort of anti inflammitory
>agent. More than likely it will be necessary to slice a very thin piece of
>spinal cord off of each end with a very very sharp blade. It might be a good
>ida to use aan eximer laser like they use on corneas to just remove that
>first little layer where nerve tissue had begun to atprophy. When you make
>that cut yu don't want to start a fresh round of inflammation hence the time
>release antiinflammitory agent.
>Finally the spaces between the wire end connection nodes should also be
>treated with a substance that will encourage the growth of connective tissue
>that will hold the graft in place as it heals. Also treating the sections
>between the "wires" discourage neurons/dendrites from making confusing cross
>connections. Basically you just want to grow are parrallel extensions of the
>existing nerve connections to bridge the gap without introduceing any too
>many confusing cross connections.
>I haven't addressed the issue here but more than likely you will want to do
>something to maximize the surface at the ends of the rubber bridge You want
>the connective tissue to have plenty of acceptable material to grab on to
>and you have the dendrites and neurons extend beyond the first layer of
>connection on into a gap area where the commections can be made.
>So what do you think is it something that could work? Is this worth getting
>someone busy seriously evaluating the approach?
>Please forgive me if this is a common idea that has already been discussed
>to death. AFAIK I thought up the idea by myself.
>I just thought it was an idea worth exploring.
>Thanks: Steve
You certainly do have an idea worth exploring.  And there is not
shortage of research labs working on very closely related ideas.
Some sort of scaffoleding, nerve growth factors, transplanted tissue
are all research programs.  See, for example,


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