On discovering that a simple sugar found in crustacean shells has been able to repair damaged spinal chords, scientists have claimed that lobsters could hold the cure to paralysis and brain injury. A team at the Centre for Paralysis Research in Indiana is now working on a possible treatment, based on the shells of the sea creatures.This is the no doubt that it is the most exciting development for spinal cord and brain injury since World War II. Using chemicals to repair the damaged nervous system is a completely new way to treat people with these terrible injuries. It’s amazing that one of these special chemicals would turn out to be a sugar. The sugar, mixed with sterile water, is injected into the bloodstream and then migrates to the spinal cord injury where it plugs holes in the coating of the nerve cell. Science has moved in a new direction. Previously we have been looking at drugs which would potentially reduce damage. Now we are looking at complete repair. Borgens and his team have a well-respected track record of developing therapies for treating nerve damage. They discovered another spinal repair therapy called polyethylene glycol currently undergoing human trials. This has also been shown to seal and repair damaged spinal cord nerve cells. However the breakdown products of this drug are potentially toxic and are not broken down by the body.
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