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In Search of the Lost Cord Solving the Mystery of Spinal Cord Regeneration cover
  • ISBN: 9780309074377
  • ISBN10: 0309074371

In Search of the Lost Cord Solving the Mystery of Spinal Cord Regeneration

by Luba Vikhanski

  • List Price: $27.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Natl Academy Pr
  • Publish date: 10/01/2001
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Description
In Search of the Lost Cord is a scientific detective story, the stuff of science fiction en route to science fact. People trapped by the limitation of paralyzed limbs, rendered useless by catastrophic injuries to their spinal cords, may one day walk again. If the research is successful . . . if the scientists hit on the right strategy, we may yet see miracles happen.

Science journalist Luba Vikhanski profiles the rapidly developing field of spinal cord injury research in this engrossing book. She explains the field's greatest scientific challenges and introduces us to the pioneers who are working toward what would be a startling breakthrough. Perhaps the most riveting aspect of this international effort is that each of these scientists is approaching the problem in very different ways. In the worldwide race to claim the prize of a cure, we witness a drama in the making.

Who will cross the finish line first?

Will it be the Swiss scientist Martin Schwab, who believes that the answer is in the proteins? He has actually managed to heal spinal cords in rats and has restored their ability to walk. He's moving on to monkeys. . . . Will human beings be far behind?

Will Wise Young, a Rutgers scientist who is a leader in the emerging field of "neuroprotection, " claim the prize? He is pinning his research hopes on drug therapies that respond to the body chemistry in people with spinal injuries.

Or could Lars Olson of the Swedish Karolinska Institute hold the key to success in his efforts to regenerate crucial axon cells? He has constructed a bridge of slender nerve filaments to connect a once-severed spinal cord, anchoring it with organic glue. His rats are already flexing theirlegs.

These scientists, and others with creative approaches of their own, have dared to meet the odds head on. Like all major medical and scientific breakthroughs, the "Eureka" moment often seems obvious in hindsight. Perhaps we'll have the same perspective when the puzzle of spinal cord regeneration is solved. Until then, there's a race to the finish line, and suspense is building. In Search of the Lost Cord is a trackside seat.

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