Nerve injuries of all types are terrible events for anyone experiencing them.
And the outlook is generally-poor, because we really don’t heal as well as Dr. Connors in The Amazing Spiderman.
So George Bittner’s UT team has come up with the obvious solution: Turn people into crocodiles.
They soon discovered that was really hard to do. So for the time being, they came up with a workaround: Stop the ‘scarring’ process & get things back together.
You see, when a nerve injury happens the end of it loses connection, eventually dies & the root or branch it was on doesn’t re-connect very well before that happens.
It more or less +/- ‘scars’ over capping the ends off, or sometimes forms a node-like ball at the end if it tries to grow too much.
But what George’s team discovered was the exact step-by-step procedure that happens immediately-following the injury,
…And ala MTV Cribs: This Is Where The Magic Happens!
First, they Stopped the healing/scarring process with chemicals that get in the way.
Then, they get the ends of the nerves Super-duper close to each other; -but without the insane process of trying to stitch them together.
Thirdly, a type of gel is then injected between the ends and serves as a little bit of a patch, or even a glue.
But the sweet bit is, that at this point, the nerve ends are So Close Together, they can pick up the chemical signals of each other through this body-friendly gel.
The branch sniffs out the end, sends out connectors, and then hooks back up with it.
After that, the doctors undo the anti-healing rinse with one that gets it going again, and…
Within 4 weeks, 80-90% of original function is regained! -BOOM!
Hopefully, applications on real actual people will start soon. Check out the more specific details at the Links:
Photo Credits: “Glue”, by Joel Kingsbury
• Source: UT-Alcade
• via: Gizmag
• More Coverage: NewScientist (w/ surgery video)
• Source Study:APS-Vesicle-Mediated Restoration of a Plasmalemmal Barrier in Severed Axons