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Are fish a potential cure for paralysis? 

Paralysis cannot be fully cured as of now, but researchers are leaving no stone unturned as they search for a solution. They believe that — someday in the future — they may be able to cure human paralysis to a far greater level than they ever have before. 

For instance, one possibility being looked into currently is the way that tropical fish adapt and move. The research wasn’t initially focused on paralysis, but on varying movement speeds between types of fish. The researchers had worked on this line of thinking for six years. 

One thing that they found was that these fish could bypass their brain using parallel neural pathways. Instead of passing signals to their bodies through their brains, they activated motor neurons, which are special nerve cells. Fish that were able to use these other pathways were able to move faster than other types of fish.

Now they think that this same idea sheds some light on the human condition of paralysis. One researcher used the example of a stroke. They said that the motor cortex in the brain gets affected by the stroke, making it harder — or impossible — for someone to walk. They noted similar issues in spinal cord paralysis, where the “neural link between the brain and the spine is broken.”

The idea they have from the fish, though, is to help humans adapt through specialized therapy to use these other means of sending the proper signals to their bodies. If they can learn to do that, it may restore some functionality even if the break in their spinal cord remains. 

This is very early research, but it does show promise. Those living with paralysis should always keep an eye on future developments, even as they consider their current legal options. If you or your loved one has suffered a spinal injury, it may be time to think about filing for Social Security Disability benefits.

 

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