Wednesday, December 8, 2004
Protecting Your Pet: Spinal Cord Injury Remedies
It's painful to watch our four-legged friends struggle after an injury -- especially if they can't walk. But new research is helping dogs with spinal cord injuries walk again. And one day -- that same study could help humans too. Health Specialist Marilyn Mitzel has details in today's "Protecting Your Pet."
WSVN -- They love running in leaps and bounds - but sometimes it can lead to accidents.
Peanut arrived at Purdue University's Center for Paralysis Research, unable to move his hind legs or even feel pain. As part of an experiment, he was injected with a non-toxic, liquid plastic substance.
Professor of Neuroscience Richard Borgens: "The results of it -- the dog show remarkable recovery -- remarkably rapidly as well."
Nearly 70 percent of the animals regained use of their hind legs, compared to 25 percent who underwent standard treatment and no injections.
Richard Borgens: "Often we would see changes in the dog that were positive say the recovery of pain -- or balance sometimes even stepping and walking within a matter of days."
Fred Pernell saw it first hand. Rusty was paralyzed but a week after treatment - he was cured.
Dog owner Fred Pernell: "It really amazed us and the people over at Purdue as well."
Researchers say the substance forms a seal over breaks in the nerve cells helping them heal.
Paralyzed guinea pigs given the treatment had 90 percent success rate.
Researchers like Brad Duerstock, quadriplegic - hope it'll do the same for people.
Research Scientist Brad Duertsock: "No one knows what the results will be, but it's promising."
At least Rusty's back on all fours. Human trials are expected to begin next year.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Purdue Center for Paralysis Research:
Richard B. Borgens