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For people’s walking ability to be restored when their spinal cords have been injured, communication pathways between spinal cord neurons and brain neurons must be re-established. The trick is, though, that mature neurons cannot regenerate the axons needed to facilitate such a process. Fortunately, for spinal cord injury patients in West Virginia and elsewhere, new research shows that it may be possible to overcome this limitation.

Researchers learned that they could overcome the axon regeneration limitation by targeting a certain protein known as the LKB1 protein. They discovered that in mice whose spinal cords had been injured, targeted upregulation of this protein simulated neuron regeneration over a long distance. The result? The mice experienced functional recovery gains.

The recent study builds on previously conducted research that involved systemic treatment using peptides. In 2011, researchers discovered that peptides were able to facilitate axon growth. As a result, mice whose spinal cords had been damaged were able to move their limbs again.

Spinal cord injury can easily happen in a car wreck or due to another type of accident stemming from another party’s negligence. In such circumstances, the injured party may opt to file a personal injury claim against the reportedly negligent party, seeking damages. A successfully litigated claim in West Virginia might result in a monetary damage award that may help with covering ongoing health care costs and other expenses resulting from the accident that caused the spinal cord injury. The award might also be helpful for addressing emotional distress resulting from the accident.