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Growing nerves


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As far as I know this has not been 100% accomplished jet, but will be a very important part in medicine.

 

So the question is what progress are we having on this matter. Will we see people recovering from severe spinal nerve root damages and other nerve related issues in the coming 10 years or so?

 

I myself have bad eyesight because of this. Wearing glasses wont help me all the way, because the main problem is in the nerves of my eyes, or so I was told.

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Certainly progress is being made, but how close we are to actually being able to grow new, functional nerves is hard to say. It may well take considerably longer than ten years. I had to do an essay on a neurotrophic factor GDNF a few months ago, and one of the things I picked up from my reseach was how many molecules were initially heralded as nerve growth factors ten or even twenty years ago; and yet many have since been all but discarded as candidates for treatment, or if not, their use in treatment is still uncertain or risky, varies between studies and individuals within studies, and may grow nerves but not nerves that can actually perform the appropriate functions.

 

On the other hand the progress made in the last ten years has been enormous. It's always difficult to make a prediction in where science or medicine will be in ten years time, almost to the point where it's not really worth bothering at all. But people do and my guess would be - maybe in twenty years.

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Bill, I understand your frustration and confusion with that. When I was working in a cancer research/immunology lab, it was really hard to figure out what was going on. What initially appears to be clear or promising may be a false lead or one which requires further unraveling. This is one of the challenges of biology.

 

Some growth factors for nerves are also not specifically nerve growth factors but can also function as general growth factors to speed up cell division, repair, and healing. I ran into this when I was studying the physiological effects of exercise, and how different types of exercise and intensity can cause the release of NGF, BDNF, and probably others. Interesting stuff.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Treating spinal chord injuries is in the forefront of neurology, many many researchers looking into possible solutions many involving both biological regeneration as well as technological replacements for damaged nervous systems.

 

Damaged visual nerves get less attention, thus any "cures" will come latter. It just as much a question of prioritization as it is technical feasibility.

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