Scientists from Case Western Reserve University (Ohio, USA) and The Cleveland Clinic (Ohio, USA) have found a way to reconnect severed spinal cords in rats, allowing them to regain bladder control. A combined approach involving surgery and two chemicals, chondroitinase and FGF, that appear to encourage continued nerve cell regrowth. After six months of growth, the rats demonstrated near-normal bladder control--it seems that the nerves had recuperated enough for brain-spinal cord-bladder communication to work once more. With the study authors writing that: “Our studies provide evidence that an enhanced nerve grafting strategy represents a potential regenerative treatment after severe spinal cord injury,” it is hoped that this research may lead one day to helping humans with spinal cord injuries to recover lost abilities.
Yu-Shang Lee, Ching-Yi Lin, Hai-Hong Jiang, Marc DePaul, Vernon W. Lin, Jerry Silver. “Nerve Regeneration Restores Supraspinal Control of Bladder Function after Complete Spinal Cord Injury.” The Journal of Neuroscience, 26 June 2013, 33(26):10591-10606.
Scientists successfully reconnect severed spinal cords, in a lab animal model of spinal cord injury
Polar explorers offer insights into addressing sleep disturbances associated with demanding physical work.
Achieving 150 weekly minutes of exercise, regardless of how often the activity was conducted, minimizes risk factors for diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
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Moderate-intensity exercise reduces fat stored around the heart, in the liver, and in the abdomen, among type-2 diabetics.
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On-off switch for microRNAs – tiny strands that regulate gene expression – contribute to the heart's ability to regenerate.
Boston University (US) team develops technique to generate human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) from stem cells in the peripheral blood.
University of Pennsylvania (US) researchers use sugar and a 3-D printer to replicate a vascular template.
Johns Hopkins University (US) team develops a new hydrogel compound that functions as an artificial skin dressing.
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US team has engineered adult stem cells that scientists can grow continuously in culture, potentially expediting regenerative medical applications.
Wisdom teeth show potential as valuable tissue reservoir for creation of stem cells.
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US team has induced robust regeneration of nerve connections that control voluntary movement after spinal cord injury.
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Tip #192 - Stay Connected
Researchers from the University of Chicago (Illinois, USA) report that social isolation may be detrimental to both mental and physical health. The team analyzed data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project, a nationwide US study involving 3,000 men and women, ages 57 to 85 years. They arrived at three key findings regarding the relationships between health and different types of isolation:
• The researchers found that the most socially connected older adults are three times as likely to report very good or excellent health compared to those who are least connected, regardless of whether they feel isolated.
• The team found that older adults who feel least isolated are five times as likely to report very good or excellent health as those who feel most isolated, regardless of their actual level of social connectedness.
• They determined that social disconnectedness is not related to mental health unless it brings feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Separately, Rush University Medical Center (Illinois, USA) researchers studied 906 older men and women, testing their motor functions (including grip, pinch strength, balance, and walking) and surveying their social activity, for a period of 5 years. Those study participants with less social activity were found to have a more rapid rate of motor function decline. Specifically, the team found that every one-point decrease in social activity corresponded to an increase in functional aging of 5 years, translating to a 40% higher risk of death and 65% higher risk of disability.