A team of scientists recently reported success in using stem cells to treat paralysis caused by spinal cord damage. According to the researchers, they were able to use the stem cells that were derived from skin to regenerate nerve connections and induce movement in rats with spinal cord injuries.
The results of the study were published recently in Neurons, and in it, researchers say that they were able to use human stem cells derived from an elderly person’s skin to trigger regrowth of nerve connections. They did this by encouraging the growth of axons, which send electrical impulses to cells. Some of the axons even reached the brains of the rats with spinal cord injury. According to the researchers, such success has not been seen before, and they are hopeful that further experiments will confirm the benefits of stem cells in treating rats with spinal damage.
The researchers, however, warn that the improvements that they have seen in the damaged rats is a preliminary step and that more studies are necessary to see whether the axons can make substantial connections and actually restore function in a rat with spinal damage.
The use of stem cells for the treatment of spinal cord injury has been the focus of extensive studies by scientists who are looking at restoring regenerating nerve connections and severed connections as the result of the damage. For most such experiments, stem cells have been derived from the cells of the person, or from embryos.
Individuals, who suffer from paralysis and are therefore unable to earn a living, may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. For instance, if the paralysis is so severe that the person is not able to walk and has to use a wheelchair, he may be eligible for benefits. However, mere use of a wheelchair may not qualify you for benefits. To understand whether you qualify for disability benefits, speak to disability lawyer M. Stanley Whitehead about your options.