New research has led to the creation of what many are calling an "EpiPen" for spinal cord and brain injuries. The new treatment method comes after new research in nanoparticles. Researchers demonstrated the effectiveness of nanoparticles to "program" the body's immune cells.
The body's natural response to injury can often cause unintended damage.
Swelling during spinal cord injuries can lead to the spinal cord becoming compressed, bruised or damaged. Researchers are using nanoparticles to find ways to stop unintended damage and to increase healing after an injury.
Researchers at the University of Michigan describe a device that will be able to mitigate or potentially prevent brain and spinal injuries. The researchers were able to demonstrate the device's ability to overcome the body's natural immune response. The overcoming of the response can promote the therapeutic response that leads to lower risks when an injury occurs.
Researchers injected nanoparticles into the subjects, which was able to reduce the severity of the injury, reduces paralysis and potentially prevent it in some circumstances.
The body's inflammatory response to the injury is the main factor of the study. When an injury occurs, the body's natural inflammatory response will cause the blockage of the central nervous system from most of the molecules in the body to open. Immune cells that are normally blocked will now be able to reach the brain and spinal cord.
These cells are not meant to access the nervous system, and the inflammation can lead to the killing of sensitive neurons. The myelinated sheaths that also allow for neurons to communicate with one another can be damaged, and scar tissue that forms as a result prevents the regeneration of the spinal cord.
The injectable nanoparticles are able to stop the blood-brain barrier from being breached when an injury occurs. The immune system's response and ability to breach this barrier can lead to loss or a reduction of movement in parts of the body below the injured area. The response can also lead to paralysis in severe injuries.
Nanoparticles were tested because the administration of the steroid methylprednisolone has serious side effects. Nanoparticles do not contain pharmaceuticals, and the result was that the mice in the study did not have the inflammatory immune cells that cause damage. The non-inflammatory cells that provide regeneration were also able to reach the injury site. Regrowth of the damaged nervous system was allowed to occur, while the scar tissue formation normally experienced was prevented.
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