For patients of spinal muscular atrophy, a recent breakthrough at the University of Missouri could be a very promising first step in discovering a cure. Though there may be nothing for these sufferers to cheer about yet, the findings that pointed to a communication disconnect between the nerves and muscles could point future studies on a more defined path.
The nerves are responsible for sending very important messages to the muscles of the body, which, in turn, causes the fibrous tissue to expand and retract in the proper way. If the line of communication is shut down, the muscles will not work in the way that we need them to.
Michael Garcia, an associate professor of biological sciences led a team in the study that noted the apparent divide. Though, it was noted that the nerves did send messages as they normally would, the translation was not correct at the other end. By the time the muscles received the communication, it no longer made sense.
The researchers felt that the findings made sense because of the nature of the disease, which is protein deficiency in cells, including the motor neurons. Those neurons are responsible for passing those messages between the nerves and the muscles. If they fail to do their job, the communication is lost and muscles begin to fail. Thus, the progressive weakness and deterioration of muscle seen with SMA is inevitable.
Garcia believes that this research could be pertinent to a wide variety of conditions that affect motor neurons, including ALS and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. To keep reading about the findings, you can find the full article here.
Our pain clinic offers a variety of treatments for nerve and muscle pain which you can learn more about by visiting us.