Injury Patients

Medical and research bodies in Canada are to receive funding to support studies into treating brain injuries and disorders.

McGill University, Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montreal and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre will be among those to obtain a share of a $7.5 million grant.

The money has been put forward by the Canadian government and The W Garfield Weston Foundation, while the effort has been coordinated with the support of Brain Canada, a charity that is working to drive progress in the field of neuroscience.

Inez Jabalpurwala, president and chief executive of Brain Canada, commented: "By supporting our best ideas and researchers, we will ensure Canada's place as a leader in the global quest to understand the brain and brain disease."

This could help to complement a new drive to stimulate research into traumatic brain injury, epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease in the US, which was unveiled by President Barack Obama earlier this year.

US scientist highlights stem cell benefits for spinal injury

A scientist based in the US has outlined the potential benefits that stem cell therapies could provide to spinal injury patients in future.

Dr Mark Tuszynski, professor of neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego, told the Huffington Post that he was sceptical about the use of stem cells to replace nerves damaged by spinal injuries until he carried out studies into the subject.

He explained that his team were amazed to see that grafted nerve cells were able to extend new connections over long distances - nearly the entire length of the spinal cord in some cases - in a way that was able to help paralysed test subjects to regain some measure of movement.

Dr Tuszynski said: "Injured rats with completely severed spinal cords recovered significant motion … but they still could not support their weight on their legs. So there is still room for improvement."

The expert and his team are carrying out research involving primates and rodents to gain a fuller understanding of how the nervous system works - studies which could also benefit Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease sufferers in future.

 

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