AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 29, Number 2, 2020


Scientists Map Key Brain-to-Spinal Cord Nerve Connections for Voluntary Movement

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Study Opens Way to Explore Potential Therapies for Spinal Cord Injury and Stroke


Researchers trying to help people suffering from paralysis after a spinal cord injury or stroke mapped critical brain-to-spinal cord nerve connections that drive voluntary movement in forelimbs, a development that scientists say allows them to start looking for specific repair strategies.

The study by Yutaka Yoshida, PhD, and colleagues at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is an important step toward rehabilitating motor circuits to help motor function recover after an injury or disease damages the central nervous system.

“The map described in this study should allow us to explore which corticospinal-spinal interneuron connections are good targets for repair and restoration of voluntary movement,” says Yoshida, lead investigator in the Division of Developmental Biology. “More research is necessary before human therapies are possible, but this information is very helpful for future repair strategies. We now know which circuits need to be repaired.”

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