'Spinal repairs'

(Article Precis, 21/Nov/98, Issue 2161, p7)
Nell Boyce reports on research at Purdue University, Indiana, into repairing severed spinal cords using polyethylene glycol (PEG), a substance used in medical cosmetics.

The cords, removed from deceased guinea pigs, were severed and then reconnected in the presence of PEG. Electrical activity through a cord was restored by an average of 5%, with a peak as high as 58%. Even low restoration levels may re-enable basic functions such as walking.

Testing has now progressed to living animals, with proposals for human trials under consideration.

Note: In order to comply with copyright law, I have ommited some details from the original article. Thus, for a complete insight into the topic covered here, please either consult your local library for the issue concerned, purchase the relevant issue from your local newsagent, or back-order it from the publishers.

Precised by Ian Mapleson, 20/Nov/1998.