Severed spines may not mean paralysis for much longer. Inject a special gel into mice with severed spinal cords and six weeks later the mice are back on their feet. It's a pretty neat trick, one that scientists at Northwestern accomplish by impregnating the gel with biochemical signals that hinder the growth of scar tissue and promote growth of myelin, the sheath that protects nerve cells and fosters their growth.
John Kessler, lead author on the Journal of Neuroscience paper says it'll be at least a few years before you find the gel in your local hospital, and it hasn't been shown to work in humans yet. He plans to submit the gel to the Food and Drug Administration for approval as a pharmaceutical in the not-too-distant future.