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Is Spinal Cord Regeneration Possible?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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For many years it was assumed that spinal cord regeneration was not possible. Paralysis, often resulting from damaged spinal cords, was likely to be permanent, and many peoples’ lives were forever altered by a spinal cord injury. This is still the case today, but what has changed is the degree of optimism many people hold about someday being able to use medical techniques to fix spinal cord injuries and restart the damaged nerves that have lost function after an injury has occurred.

It’s doubtful that a single researched element will provide the cure to spinal cord regeneration, and that what really will happen is that shared evidence from lots of research trials may ultimately point the way toward what needs to done. This may yet take a while, though all are joined in the hope of doctors figuring this out sooner rather than later. It’s important to note that even though optimism exists, unless miraculous events occur, chances are that people may need to wait, and potentially a cure may not exist for people whose injuries have occurred some time ago.

The studies, which everybody points to as potentially encouraging in spinal cord regeneration medicine, include those that have brought forth the importance of the axon. This is a small section of each neuron that has to communicate with other neurons in order for full function of the nerve cells to remain. Scientists now know that at least part of the problem with the damaged spinal cord is that axons have been damaged.

Another promising study occurred at USCF in recent years, and suggested that the area of damage was not the only area of concern. By stimulating nerve cells in the peripheral nervous system, researchers were able to stimulate new growth of neurons in the central nervous system and the spinal cord. This study was on mice, and has not been duplicated in humans, but it has been most important because it now proves spinal cord regeneration is possible.

As much as it’s important to understand how to repair something, it may also be necessary to understand why it won’t work. In the late 2000s, one study that may be used medically in future evaluated the blood clotting protein fibrinogen. It was found in people with damaged spinal cords that this protein was present in highly excessive amounts, and that it may be inhibiting the repair of neurons. There are ways to block the protein’s action and these might be indicated in future treatment.

These studies are just the tip of the iceberg and there are many that are still being conducted. Medical science continues to work hard on the issue of spinal cord regeneration, exploring the problem from a variety of angles. It can only be hoped that their discoveries bear fruit soon, and that the human race may soon benefit from recovery of injuries that were once thought incurable.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon997902 — On Mar 14, 2017

My name is Ashlinn, I am currently a year 12 student doing my research project. My question is: Could the study of zebrafish and their regenerative ability hold the potential to help sufferers of SCI (spinal cord injuries)?

I need to explore how SCI affects people's lives, their families and the community.

By anon334196 — On May 10, 2013

The neurons in the spinal cord can be regenerated so that the axons, extending from the cell body, which were served can be replaced. The axons in the spinal cord are wrapped in bundles. Axons extending from the spinal cord to the feet can be three feet long. Once these are damaged, as in auto accidents, the brain cannot communicate with the legs, feet, hands, etc. This is the essence of paralysis.

By anon316810 — On Jan 30, 2013

According to the latest news from the authorities, this particular procedure do not have any ethical committee clearance and are banned from doing this procedure by the Indian Medical Council.

By anon307011 — On Dec 03, 2012

My brother is suffering from spinal cord compression and he has lost feeling below his chest. Could anyone help him? He has been almost bed ridden for 3-1/2 years.

By anon295579 — On Oct 07, 2012

My elder brother got paraplegia suddenly due to creation of haematoma between D2-D3. Just in half an hour his body below the chest lost the complete sensation. He had surgery at Wockhardt Hospital.

He is just 34 years old and after 2 months of physiotherapy and accupressure treatment he has 80 percent sensation returned, can turn in bed, can sit without support, can bend his legs from knees and straighten it too and has good toes and ankle movements. Doctors are unable to find the reason behind the injury as he was living a healthy life and worked prior to this.

Nowadays, the physiotherapist is making him stand and also making him walk with a walker by asking him to lock the knees on every step. We have not used splints or braces for this.

The only reason for his fast recovery is his strong willpower, nursing care and positive environment and support from the family.

I am still interested to know about this stem cell therapy by Dr. John. May God make all healthy.

By manishyadav — On Oct 06, 2012

To all the posters: My name is Manish. I have paraplegia below t2 level with near 70 percent and more injury to my spine. I am presently going through Dr. P.S. John's treatment. I have taken 15 injections. Earlier, I was not even able to turn over in bed, but now can walk with a walker.

Whatever he is injecting into my body is not a medicine to raise people from bed. It's like a fertilizer to the spine so it will repair itself more quickly and also if your spine recovers 100 percent, you still won't be able to walk. This needs at least eight to 10 hours of daily therapy. So, those who follow recoveries and those who don't they keep on pointing to a doctor.

And also, he charges Rs. 0 for this injection. The other expenses are from the hospital, including somazina injections given and other medicines, plus the therapy charges.

So I would like to tell people to check the data and then comment. For me and for all those 250-300 patients, he is like a Godly person and we are living a normal life.

By zamanmkd — On Sep 04, 2012

My friend is under the treatment of Dr.P.S. John for 15 injections. There is no recovery and this treatment is an experiment, with no recovery so far for any patient. This is a money making business by a selfish doctor.

By anon256864 — On Mar 23, 2012

My wife has been under the treatment of Dr.P.S. John for the past two years and feels certain improvements in her case. I personally know several patients who recovered after this treatment. More than 200 people have seen improvement due to this treatment. The speed of recovery depends on the age of patient, depth of injury, time, etc. Anyway, it is a new hope.

By anon252085 — On Mar 04, 2012

I will myself undergo ps johns treatment and update, as in my case, I have fissures in my brain called infarct. So the method should work well in my case.

I am a stroke victim with paraplegia and hemiplegia. I think the patient first should understand the technique and how it works and have confidence in the treatment.

By anon252084 — On Mar 04, 2012

There is a possibility of improvement, technically, as the spinal chord cannot be rejoined, but the stem cells could form a bridge between both ends so that interconnectivity, transfer of information and revival of functions is possible.

Although as dr.john said, it costs 25-30 lakhs overseas, it is available also at chaitanya stem cell, pune for 5-6 lakhs with an offer of further discount for those who cannot afford it.

By anon222408 — On Oct 15, 2011

i am a phsyio from rajasthan india. One of my patients is also having stem cell treatment so my best wishes to doctors for their research and my patient.

By anon216050 — On Sep 20, 2011

This treatment is an experiment, with no recovery so far for any patient. This is a money making business by a selfish doctor.

By anon215062 — On Sep 17, 2011

This treatment is a hope for spinal patients. I am taking this treatment from Dr PS John. I haven't any significant results so far, but I know some other patients have been taking this treatment for a long time and are seeing significant improvements.

By anon207840 — On Aug 21, 2011

This treatment is an experiment. I am a native of kottayam and no recovery reported so far. Don't panic. Wait patiently and don't waste your money.

By anon186007 — On Jun 14, 2011

My friend is fully paralyzed and has been in bed for long time --12 years. We are from the Middle East. Have there been any patients who have undergone treatment with Dr. P S John and got good results? --SA

By anon132771 — On Dec 08, 2010

my uncle meet with an accident four years ago. he has injury (d2 d3 d4 d5) no improvement yet. so please suggest some caution regarding this.

By anon132696 — On Dec 07, 2010

I had under gone through a spinal surgery before 6yrs due to osteoblastoma. now I am healthy but I have some neural problems I can't lift my left foot up, have balance problems and I feel the difference between both legs. shall I get relief through this treatment. I like to do like a normal person. kindly give me your reply. (age 29 years; sex: female).

By babu — On Dec 07, 2010

Dr P.S. John and Dr. paulose treatment offers hope for people worldwide. lot of paralyzed people walking. treatment in st thomas hospital, chethipuzha, changanassery, kottayam, kerala, india.

By anon132039 — On Dec 05, 2010

My name is Jim W. I met with an accident in June and I'm a paraplegic patient with T2,T3 complete. Is there any possibility for recovery? Kindly advise.

By mesmileshere — On Nov 28, 2010

has anyone responded to the treatment? what was the condition?

By anon130261 — On Nov 28, 2010

i met with an accident four years back and now am paraplegic. i had d2 d3 d4 compressed fracture. i didn't have any sensation that time. now after two years, i can feel some part of my toes and heels of my right leg. and my muscles are preserved. is there any chance for my recovery?

By anon107441 — On Aug 30, 2010

My father met with a railway accident, His left lower limb (AK) was amputated. he had a spine injury too

According to the discharge summary report he had an s/o L1 compression fracture with retropulsion and cord oedema. D12 fracture L2 transverse process fracture. L1, L2 bilateral facet joint subluxation. Posterior spinal decompression and ZETA fixation done.

Right now he can't pass urine. He is being catheterized six times a day.

Please let us know if there is a treatment for this.

By anon98095 — On Jul 22, 2010

My name is Ponnamma. My sister, who had a spine operation has been paralyzed for a long time now (about 24 years). Is there any possibility of recovering with treatment of Dr P S John and Dr Paulose. Kindly advise. Thanks and regards.

By anon71952 — On Mar 21, 2010

new treatment for spinal cord injury. Dr P.S. John and Dr. paulose introduced a very successful treatment for spinal cord injury. patients from many parts of the country are coming. Dr. John is a retired professor from Kottayam medical college in kerala, india and Dr paulose is a research scholar in cochin university of science and technology in kerala, india.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
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