New York victims of serious spinal cord injuries may be interested to hear about a potentially game-changing study published in April 2016. Researchers believe they have proven that the scars associated with spinal cord injuries could actually promote nerve growth. For the more than 12,000 U.S. residents who sustain such injuries each year, these conclusions may result in improved treatments.
Prior to this study, many medical theories held that when special cells, known as astrocytes, build scar tissue at spinal cord injury sites, the scars get in the way of subsequent nerve regrowth. Astrocytes are assistive cells that are more than five times as common as the neurons that make up nerves, and they can move to injury sites to form scars with the help of immune system cells.