Every year, tens of millions of Americanssuffer from nerve damage, some irreparably so. Science can heal bones, grow new organsand even restore our microbiomes, but why is it so hard to fix our nerves? Hey guys Lissette here for DNews The human body posses a remarkable abilityto heal. Bones refuse, skin wounds mend, and the immune system adapts to infection,after infection. But there’s one area of the body that struggles to recover after aninjury: The nervous system. Nerve damage can be some of the most debilitating and permanenttype of injury.
The nervous system is an incredibly complexnetwork used to send electrical information throughout your body. It can basically bedivided into two sections. With the brain and spinal cord making up the central nervoussystem or CNSâ€¦. and the nerves made up of fibers of sensory and motor neurons comprisingthe peripheral nervous system. Each cell in the nervous system from the tipof your finger up your arm, up your spinal column, into your brain, is very specialized.And each has a unique function on the pathway, like a circuit. If one these gets cut or injured,it’s hard for an exact replacement cell to be put in in the right spot. Think aboutwhen you get a cut on your skin. If the cut
goes deep enough, exact replicas of cellswon’t cover the wound, instead fibrous tissues form. which we call scars. And scars arepart of the problem in regrowing nerves, they often get in the way especially in the caseof spinal cord injuries. As part of the CNS, spinal cord injuries are notoriously difficultto heal; partially because of the way nerve cells in the CNS are made. According to the book, â€œResults and Problemsin Cell Differentiationâ€�, the CNS also has certain proteins that weirdly, inhibit cellregeneration. While this might sound like a bad idea, it’s hugely beneficial overallto the formation of the CNS. These cells need
to grow exactly where they are supposed to,just one out of place could be bad. Like. think of an electrical circuit, each unithas to be in a specific order in specific place to work. If one is out of place, theintegrity of the CNS is compromised. Neurons in the CNS also lack certain cleaningcells. Nerve cells are made up of many parts, but they send signals through threads coveredin a protective sheet of myelin. These threads are called axons. Axons are the long partof the cell that reaches out to the cell next to it to send information down the line.Like arms handing the bucket down the line in a bucket brigade. So these are obviouslysuper important and need protecting. That’s
where the Schwann cells come in. which areonly found in the Peripheral nervous system. Schwann cells, which aren’t neurons butGLEEL cells, produce the myelin that help protect the axons. But, a study publishedin The Journal of Cell Biology found they also clean up damaged nerves making wayfor the healing process to take place and new nerves to be formed. But the problem is.these Schwann cells are missing from the CNS. What they have instead are myelin producingcells called oligodendrocytes. But these cells don’t clean up damaged nerve cells at all.Which is part of the problem. So unfortunately, according to RichardG. Fessler professor at Rush University Medical
Center quot;There are currently no therapies whichsuccessfully reverse the damagequot; from injuries to the spinal cord. But research is currentlyunderway to examine the potential success of stem cell treatment, where stem cells areinjected directly at the injury site. Still, it will take a few years to see the resultsof such trials. But there are times your body can regeneratenerves. The peripheral nervous system doesn’t have the same blocking proteins that the CNShas, and Schwann cells help heal the damage. So it’s able to regrow nerves, albeit slowly.For instance, if you cut a nerve into your shoulder, it could take a year to regrow.By that time.the muscles in your arms could
Seeing Pain New approach to diagnosing and treating nerve damage Chris McCurdy TEDxUM
When I was a young childI lost my favorite uncle to alcohol abuse. It made me wonder why does this happen? How can someone be consumed by a substance that’s around us all the time? So, I made it my life’s missionto become a drug expert, and I went to pharmacy school. I went to pharmacy schoolto understand what it is about drugs
that can make us heal or can hurt us. When I was in pharmacy school, I found out I fell in lovewith the research. Not only did I fall in lovewith the research I fell in love with this passionto educate others. And so, knowing that,I had to move forward. I had to move forward with my education so that I could carry those thingsout of my future;
and I went on and earned a atein medicinal chemistry; that’s drug design not designer drugs. (Laughter) That enabled me to move forward and really pursue some of the basisof drug abuse and addiction. Here I am now, a professorof medicinal chemistry and pharmacology. And I’ve dedicated my careerto solving problems in drug abuse and actually findingbetter pain medications
because after all, painis the most common reason that individuals seek medical care. It’s also the most common reason that we end upwith drug abuse and addiction. Moving from there, I’ve been ableto establish a laboratory here, at the University of Mississippi, where we’ve done a lotof groundbreaking work that I’ll get to in a little bit to move us forward in those endeavors.
Now, how many people here have had to seek medical treatment that resulted in pain prescription? Yes, most all of us. How many of you ended up getting something like morphine, or codeine,or Hydrocodone, or Oxycontin? Yeah. Any of you had to take that for more than 2 or 3 weeks,maybe a month, maybe a couple?
If so, there’s a high likelihoodyour body became physically dependent. So why does that mean? What do we mean when we talkabout physical dependence and drug abuse? Let’s define these thingsa little more clearly. So drug abuse is simply the concept that you take a drug out of the contextthat it was prescribed. So, every now and then,all of us are guilty of taking a little more ibuprofen,or something, than it says on the bottle.