Stem cells restore movement in rats; may apply in SMA, ALS
A research team led by MDA grantee Douglas Kerr at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore has developed a multistep regimen that improves the functional effect of transplanted stem cells in paralyzed rats and could have implications for motor neuron diseases like spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
From clear-cut endings to complex beginnings
"Clinical medicine is first and foremost the study of the difficult aspects and complexities of diseases. When a patient calls on you, he is under no obligation to have a simple disease just to please you." — Jean-Martin Charcot in a lecture to medical students, 1887
Diagnosis of neuromuscular disease hinges on a doctor's ability to identify a specific defect of neuromuscular function. Sometimes, a doctor can infer this functional defect — and the disease associated with it — by giving a physical exam, doing a blood test or looking at the anatomy of nerves and muscles.
But other times, the doctor may have to directly evaluate the functions of nerves and...