Recent studies suggest that people who live active lifestyles prior to sustaining a spinal cord injury are more likely to recover more of their previous abilities than those who are sedentary. Initial studies reviewed active rodents. Those that had been active on wheels, objects in their cage, and socialization were better able to recover as their nerves were primed for establishing communication damaged by the injury. The recovery is likely assisted by the better worn connectivity between the nerve fibers along the spinal cord. A spinal cord injury may damage or destroy these connections, but they are better able to be stimulated than connections that were weaker prior to the injury. It is thought that the molecule CREB-Binding Protein assists in reprogramming the nerve cells that used to be strong.
The researchers tried to imitate the previous lifestyle through a drug that would follow the pathways that were previously established. Though still in the early stages, the drug could further help those who were once active to be more active after an injury. The team developing the drug specifically focused on activating the CREB-Binding Protein to stimulate regeneration. When the drug is given about six hours after the injury, then weekly after the injury, damaged nerve fibers were able to regenerate. Rodents were often able to regain mobility.
The study is still in its early phases though, so to see what else is planned and how the team intends to move forward with the Active Lifestyles May Help Nerves to Heal after Spinal Injuries.