Paralyzed Rats Walk

Some lucky rats have overcome paralysis. A study published in Nature Neuroscience used a three-pronged treatment to get rats with damaged spinal cords to walk again. HealthDay News reports that scientists injected rats with paralyzed legs with a drug that enhances spinal nerve circutry, put them on a slow-moving treadmill and applied electrical currents to the protective membrane of the spinal cord, below the injury. Several weeks of treatment enabled near-normal weight-bearing walking and running, although the rats could only do so when hooked up to electric stimulation on a treadmill. Up to this point, research into spinal cord injuries has focused, with limited success, on re-growing nerve fibers, not rehabilitation.