Spinal Cord Injuries
Possible Paralysis Cure Excites Scientists
September 18 2004
Sydney - Australian scientists believe they have given fresh hope to the wheelchair-bound by isolating the molecule that stops damaged nerves in the spinal cord from repairing themselves, news reports said on Saturday.
Researchers around the world had suspected one of a number of molecules was blocking the regeneration process. Scientists at Brisbane's University of Queensland, in conjunction with colleagues at the University of Melbourne, think that a protein called EPHA4 is the rogue molecule.
"This looks like it might be the most important molecule discover to date," Professor Perry Bartlett, director of Queensland University's Brain Institute, told The Sydney Morning Herald. "We're fairly excited about it, to say the least."
The spinal cord is the conduit for the central nervous system, which is like a sheaf of wires that transmit messages around the body.
The spinal cord is enclosed in the vertebrae that run down the neck and the back. A broken vertebrae can be repaired, but a severed spinal column leaves the victim with no hope of recovery from the ensuing paralysis.
The Australian researchers found that removing EPHA4 from mice with damaged spinal cords led to recovery. The report said that the test mice were able to grasp objects with limbs that previously were paralysed.
Dr Bartlett said the next task would be to come up with strategies that topped the EPHA4 molecule from triggering in humans in the hours and days after a paralysis-inducing injury.
"If we can block that molecule shortly after accidents, we predict it would lead to regrowth of the nerve processes and therefore lead to recovery of function," he said.
Bartlett did not hold out hope that those already in wheelchairs could be helped. He said more work with mice was needed before trials with humans could begin.
Seat belts credited with saving 6 in plunge
DENVER - Feb. 16, 2005 Six persons in a minivan survived a 400-foot plunge down a slope in the Colorado Rockies, apparently because they were wearing seat belts.
I just remember as we were sliding, it seemed slow, Terry Holman said Tuesday on NBC's Today show. I kept hoping it would grab and come back the other way. When it didn't
I just thought we were done for.
Holman and the others were on 11,018-foot Red Mountain Pass in southwestern Colorado on Saturday when Joe Sullivan's minivan slid on ice. The van carried Sullivan, his wife, son and daughter, and Holman and Holman's daughter Stacia.
The vehicle tumbled down the 60-degree slope and rolled at least twice before coming to rest with the driver's side facing down. Sullivan's wife, Linda, had a head injury.
Skip and Terri Garcia had been following. Skip Garcia told The Denver Post, I glanced down and noticed tire tracks
headed over the embankment.
Terri Garcia used the OnStar feature of their sport-utility vehicle to call for help.
Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Lawrence Oletski said the seat belts were key. This is the first time I can remember something like this where someone wasn't hurt badly or didn't die, Oletski said. It truly is a miracle.
The Associated Press
Colorado couple killed in crash
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SALT LAKE CITY - April 04, 2005 - A Colorado couple were killed on Saturday after being ejected from a sport-utility vehicle with their two children near Thompson in Grand County.
Gabriel Araujo Luna, 29, and Laura Araujo, 25, of Denver, and their two children Fernando, 8, and Iliza, 4, were riding in a large SUV driven by Araujo's mother, Martha Jimenez-Fierro, also of Denver, on I-70.
The vehicle was heading east near milepost 186 when Jimenez-Fierro apparently swerved off the right side of the road, then swerved back to the left and back to the right, causing the vehicle to roll several times, according to the Utah Highway Patrol.
Fernando was wearing a seatbelt, but Luna, Araujo and Iliza weren't. Luna and Araujo died at the scene, the UHP said.
Iliza, Fernando and Jimenez-Fierro were airlifted to St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, Colo.
The children suffered head injuries, and Jimenez-Fierro, who was wearing a seat belt, suffered a minor shoulder injury, the UHP said.
Ford Motor to recall 1.2mn vehicles for faulty switch
NEW YORK, August 4 (newratings.com) The second-largest US automaker, Ford Motor Co (F.NYS), Thursday announced that it is recalling about 1.2 million trucks, sport utility vehicles and vans in the US due to a faulty speed control deactivation switch, which when overheated can cause fire in the engine.
Ford Motor's spokeswoman, Kristen Kinley, said that leaking of brake fluid onto the wiring is causing corrosion and overheating of the switch and a wiring harness needs to be fixed. The recall includes the F-Series pickups from the 1994-2002 model years, Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer SUVs from 1998 model year, Excursion SUVs 2000-2002 model years and E-Series trucks from 1994-1996 model years and Econoline vans from 1994-1996 model years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said.
The Dearborn, Michigan-based company said that although 190 fires have been reported in these models, there has been no instance of an injury or accident. Ford Motor has recalled about five million trucks last year to resolve a similar problem.NHTSA spokesman, Rae Tyson, said that although the same switch has been used on about 20 million Ford vehicles, other vehicles fitted with the switch are unlikely to be recalled, since the problem is limited to the models that have been called back and has been traced to the unique placement of the switch. Tyson expressed confidence that the problem has been adequately addressed by Ford Motor.