X-Message-Number: 27788
From: "Basie" <>
Subject: Scientist finds nerve cells can reconnect
Date: Sun, 2 Apr 2006 19:59:55 -0400

Scientist finds nerve cells can reconnect
SYDNEY, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- An Australian scientist has found that nerve cells 
in elderly people can form new connections, offering hope to victims of 
strokes and spinal cord injuries.

PhD student Robert Sullivan, 28, of Newcastle University, made the discovery 
while researching the anatomy of macular degeneration in the eyes of elderly 

When Sullivan studied the eyes of human donors in their late seventies and 
early eighties with macular degeneration, he found evidence the nerve cells 
in the retina were able to respond to the disease by forming new connections 
with neurons linking the eyes to the brain.

"It's extremely exciting because it's saying adult nerve cells have the 
capacity to reconnect," Sullivan's supervisor David Pow said.

"This is going to provide us with insights into how we might now enhance 
this capacity to try to provide therapy downstream for injured brains."

Pow said the discovery could lead to effective treatment for damaged human 
nervous systems after strokes and spinal cord injuries.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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