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Chinese doctors fix animal spinal cord injuries

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-11-25 14:40

HARBIN -- A team of Chinese doctors has claimed success in fixing spinal cord injuries in animals.

"We used polyethylene glycol (PEG) compounds to stimulate the injured nerve cells to regenerate. Previous tests on guinea pigs, rats and dogs showed positive results," said Ren Xiaoping, a research fellow with the 2nd Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province.

In an experiment demonstrated to Xinhua, doctors cut open a rat's spine, exposed its spinal cord to air with a special hook and injected liquid PEG compounds into its spinal cord. The rat initially lost control of its muscle movements due to its damaged spinal cord, but recovered some of its body functions a couple days later. Two weeks later, it could move its lower limbs and was able to walk.

The experiment and its results were published in the U.S. science journal "Surgery."

Spinal cord injuries are among the most serious injuries humans can experience. Like all mammals, humans are unable to regenerate the central nervous system. A severed spinal cord means a lifelong injury.

Scientists have been conducting research in areas such as cell transplants to repair damaged spinal cords, but limited progress has been made.

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