New research out of UCLA is giving doctors hope that their discovery may eventually lead to a treatment for individuals whose walking has been impaired by damage to their spinal cords.
Choking a communication highway
As people age, the tiny hole through the center of each vertebrae gradually constricts, increasing the pressure that is placed on the spinal cord itself. The pressure, in unfortunate cases, can become great enough to cause distress to the individual, and damage to their mobility and nerve function. Currently, treatment is surgical relief of the pressure. Unfortunately, individuals tend to seek medical attention because of symptoms like pain and problems with motor skills, both of which are indications that spinal cord damage is already underway. Relieving the pressure with surgery won't reverse the nerve damage, but nerves do have an incredible plasticity that allows them the potential to heal the damage.