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Mechanism Found For Controlling Nerve Regeneration October 25, 2009

Posted by Matt Brown in Human Enhancement.
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A new study may have found the master regulator for controlling the regeneration of nerve fibers, both peripheral and central, in animals.  Published in Natural Neuroscience, the study found that an enzyme called Mst3b appears to be essential for the regeneration process, to the point that when Mst3b is absent regeneration will not occur even in the presence of other factors shown to facilitate growth.  The researchers noted that they hope to use this as the basis of a treatment for stroke, spinal cord injury and brain trauma.

The most important thing to realize here is that while the peripheral nervous system is able to regenerate neurons when damaged, the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) normally cannot.  A person who injures the nerves in the arm can, potentially, regain use of the arm; but a person with a brain or spinal injury currently has no way to repair the damage.  If this enzyme can be turned into a treatment those people will finally have a recourse.