The spinal cord, part of our central nervous system, is an amazingly complex matrix of nerve cells and support cells. Following injury to the spinal cord, the damaged cells face anatomical, physiological, chemical, and immune system changes that hinder their attempts at regeneration. There is not one simple approach to promote healing and regeneration, rather a combination of therapies is necessary to provide the most optimal environment for healing.
For an excellent overview of the spinal cord and its response to damage, please see Spinal Cord Injury: Hope through Research National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
After reading this, you’ll have a better appreciation of the spinal cord circuitry and the changes that have to occur in our nervous system at the site of the injury, in areas above and in areas below the injury. Scientists throughout the world are working tirelessly to identify and develop strategies that will encourage regeneration and recovery following damage. The Travis Roy Foundation is proud to support the work of these researchers in their pursuit for a cure for paralysis.