The central nervous system—or CNS—is made up of the brain and spinal cord. It integrates and coordinates information that influences the activity for all parts of our body. Everything we take for granted—thinking, breathing, moving, feeling, seeing—are controlled by over one hundred billion nerve cells, or neurons. These highly active neurons are in constant communication from your head to your toes.
To send important messages, nerve cells communicate through electrical signals. Signals begin at the neuron and travel down the axon which acts like a wire to transmit these signals. Most axons are coated with fatty layers called myelin that insulate the electrical wire. Normal myelin supports the efficient signaling through the nerve cell or neuron, allowing messages to be passed to other cells in the CNS.
While this communication is seamless for most people, anyone who has sustained a spinal cord injury or brain degeneration can experience a wide range of disorders or deficits, including vision loss, dementia, movement disorder, and even paralysis.
The central nervous system is unquestionably the most important organ of our body, and injury to the brain or spinal cord has devastating consequences.
When a person sustains a spinal cord injury, the chemical signals provided by the axon and myelin sheath are broken. Often as serious as the original damage are the secondary injuries that occur due to swelling, water accumulation and hemorrhage, which extends the area of demyelination and increases the risk of paralysis.
When an individual sustains progressive loss of structure or function of neurons, including neuronal death, we call this neurodegeneration. Many neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Huntington’s disease occur as a result of neurodegeneration.
Neurotrauma results from a sustained injury to the nerve, most often to the central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. Severe neurotrauma can be a serious medical emergency and can lead to paralysis as well as brain damage and even death.
At NeuroCures we believe that Neurological disorders have a common denominator at the genetic, molecular, and cellular level.
Innovative approaches in remyelination include stem cell therapy, which utilizes a patient’s own stem cells to deliver myelin to the affected areas.
Control of secondary spinal cord injury is critical to improved patient outcomes. By leveraging novel surgical techniques, our scientists modify the pia mater, a thin membrane that surrounds the spinal cord to reduce inflammation and prevent further injury to the patient. Preliminary results indicate that our research scientists and surgical team are successfully limiting the spread of demyelination, as well as reducing hemorrhage and swelling. Broad research in the field indicates that these types of novel interventions may decrease the severity of paralysis.
A global field of study centers around the stimulation of the nerve cell bodies – we have applied novel approaches to further our research in this arena – early results indicate that our paradigm changing approach improves signal transmission through the axon.