A man is standing with the help of a walker in front of a tower of electronics as a woman sits nearby.

Reflex Control Could Improve Walking After Incomplete Spinal Injuries

A training regimen to adjust the body's motor reflexes may help improve mobility for some people with incomplete spinal cord injuries. During training, the participants were instructed to suppress a knee jerk-like reflex elicited by a small shock to the leg. Those able to calm hyperactive reflexes saw improvements in their walking.
An image of fly spinal cord equivalent is shown.

Novel Mechanisms Underlying Major Childhood Neuromuscular Disease Identified

A study suggests that spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a genetic neuromuscular disease in infants and children, results primarily from motor circuit dysfunction, not motor neuron or muscle cell dysfunction, as is commonly thought. In a second study, the researchers identified the molecular pathway in SMA that leads to problems with motor function.

Neural Stem Cells Regenerate Axons in Severe Spinal Cord Injury

Researchers were able to regenerate an astonishing degree of axonal growth at the site of severe spinal cord injury in rats. Results were then replicated using two human stem cell lines, one already in human trials for ALS. “We obtained the exact results using human cells as we had in the rat cells,” said Tuszynski.

Researchers Find Genetic Cause for Body Tremors

Scientists knew that mutations in the FUS gene (Fused in Sarcoma) cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. The researchers were successful in identifying mutations in this gene that cause Essential Tremor, and proved that the disease mechanisms for ET and ALS FUS mutations are different.