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Abstract

Spinal Cord Injury : Hope For A Cure

Author(s): Roopa S Ghirnikar(Nee Baichwal), Yune L Lee, Lawrence F Eng

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is damage to the spinal cord that results in a loss of function such as mobility or feeling. Frequent causes of damage are trauma (car accident, gunshot, falls, etc.) or disease (polio, spina bifida, Friedreich's ataxia, etc.). The spinal cord does not have to be severed in order for a loss of functioning to occur. In fact, in most people with SCI, the spinal cord is intact, but the damage to it results in loss of functioning. The horseback riding injury of 'Superman' actor Christopher Reeve in 1995 generated considerable publicity and focused attention on the tragedy of SCI. Research on spinal injuries at this time was gathering momentum and scientists all around the world were making progress on what had been considered an untreatable injury. This review article summarizes the background on SCI and discusses the cellular and molecular changes that occur in the spinal cord following injury. The article further provides a glimpse into the ongoing cutting edge research that is aimed at developing pharmacological treatments for SCI. Products and compounds undergoing clinical trials are also discussed.

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