One of the most fascinating parts of being in the wheelchair community is learning about the research, science and developments going on within it.
So, let’s get down to the basics of mobility impairment: paralysis is generally triggered by damage to nerve cells in the spinal cord. This means that the brain loses the ability to control movements below the point of injury.
So far, neither the human body nor surgery has been able to restore those damaged nerve fibers, so paralysis has long been been considered incurable. However a recent breakthrough in orthopedic science ignites a spark of hope where up until recently there was never any to be had.
Success in Spinal Research
Harvard, UC San Diego and UC Irvine reported successful regeneration of nerve cells in a recent research study. The process involves removing a protein that suppresses cell growth. This protein is a defense mechanism, protecting your body against things like tumors but at the same time keeping your body from being able to re-grow other cells, like these nerve fibers.
By temporarily removing this protein, injured cells have been able to repair the connection between the brain and the paralyzed area. It is the first example of nerve re-growth in adult mammals, so it is a very exciting step forward for the wheelchair community! There is still a long way to go to ensure this process is effective and safe, but we are encouraged that research is being done and steps forward are being made.
Until then we at Van Products – alongside organizations like the Shepherd Spinal Center and Enable America — will continue to draw upon research in this field to support the wheelchair community to the best of our ability. We are happy to provide you with wheelchair accessible vans to keep your life moving until science is able to! Drop us a note, we can’t wait to hear from you!