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New grant to fuel further spinal cord injury research

Individuals who suffer injuries to the spinal cord in West Virginia suffer a wide range of side effects, ranging from reduced cognitive function to paralysis. It is possible to restore function following a spinal cord injury if new connections are formed between those nerve cells that have survived the injury. Researchers are studying in depth how such nerve cells form new connections.

A biomedical engineering professor was recently awarded a National Institutes of Health grant worth $1.7 million and lasting five years. The grant will enable the researcher to use novel techniques to examine how nerve cells are able to grow and reroute signals between one's body and brain following a spinal cord injury. Scientists will particularly focus on which specific cells form the new connections.

Delicate surgery related techniques for reconnecting these nerves do exist, but researchers are seeking new ways to get these connections restored at the cellular level. Researchers' efforts may help to restore function as well as improve movement in those individuals with debilitating spinal cord injuries. Their goal is to make spinal cord-related regeneration more efficient in humans.

Until modern science can help West Virginia spinal cord injury victims to experience recovery at higher levels, these victims are left to struggle with the aftermath of the incidents that caused their injuries. If the injuries were the result of another party's negligence -- such as a careless driver -- then the injured victim has the right to litigate a personal injury claim against the other party. A successful outcome may result in a monetary award that can help the victim to cover the cost of medical treatment required to address the injury.

Source:, "New NIH grant to help restore function after spinal cord injury", Feb. 10, 2015

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