Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More Blue Blog Posts!



I'm just not sure how I feel about this picture. At first, I was excited to hear about this research which is investigating the use of a common food dye to minimize the long term effects of spinal cord injury. But then when I see a creature who has been deliberately paralyzed, I have second thoughts.

The goal of these experiments is to come up with a treatment to combat the body's response to a spinal injury. For some reason, within minutes of injury, the body unleashes chemicals which prevents damaged nerve cells from ever healing. Nobody is quite sure why this happens.

Apparently, though, if a particular blue food dye is administered, it prevents this response from occurring in mice.

For this to work in the real world, with humans, the only problem of course is timing. I know exactly how I spent my first 15 minutes with a spinal cord injury; I was lying on the concrete floor I had just landed on while my coworkers raced around to call for help and then waited with me for the fire department to arrive.

It seems to me that if this research pans out, it may only be of value to professional football players. They are only people I can think of who have neurosurgeons standing around waiting for them to get hurt and can administer treatment immediately.

8 comments:

Gina said...

Zowie. From whence came the pic?

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about this as well- maybe there could be a quick way of injecting this into an injured person, by having a needle full of the blue dye, kept inside of standardized first aid kits? Sort of like what you can give to ward off anafalactic shock? I know my spelling of that was off!

I still think you would look cool as a blue guy, though! Maybe there could be a public campaign to put this in first aid kits by the blue man group?

Annalisa

TaylorM said...

I felt the same way about this. Did they really have to hurt the little guy?

And then there's the whole issue of blue-ness. The researchers say they can find no clinical side effects "other than having blue skin and eyes." But excuse me, isn't that a clinical side effect? If you had to spend the rest of your life blue, even if you could walk thanks to that, wouldn't that sort of effect your everyday life?

Kurious Jo said...

I ponder this sort of thing too . . . although mine is concerning stem-cell research. Normally (if I weren't sick) I'd probably dismiss it. But when one is dealing with a life changing ongoing daily struggle, not only do you have more time to think, but you re-think things. Maybe I'm (I'll only speak for myself, here) playing with situational ethics and that is just wrong. I don't know. If you come to any conclusions, I'd like to hear your thoughts - I've been thinking about this for a number of years. The best to you -

Karen said...

i agree with annalisa. EMS workers have so much stuff in their kits already; what's one more syringe of dye?

i would totally go blue if it increased my chance of recovery from anything as life altering as a spinal cord injury. and i'm pretty sure the original article said the dye was temporary.

KathlnKidd said...

I understand the angst that animal research can leave people with. As a long-time dog rescuer you can't not twinge at the thought of hurting another living thing even in the interest of improving the human condition.

However, I've also worked in pharmaceutical development and medical device development.....and I can honestly say that if testing products on animals can keep a child of mine or a loved one of mine safer (vaccines) or save lives (neurovascular devices and cardiac devices which remove the need for opening up the heart or the brain" I'm not going to back away..

On the plus side, there are much stronger laws protecting animals used in testing in terms of keeping them out of pain and housing them in sanitary conditions, so things are improving there as well......just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

On the plus side, there are much stronger laws protecting animals used in testing in terms of keeping them out of pain and housing them in sanitary conditions

I'm sensitive to both sides of the issue -- genuinely -- even if I do lean toward increased sentience toward non-humans. I'm encouraged by the non-animal testing that's been increasing in viability and usage. I dream for a day when the animal model of science will be over, if possible. Or reduced to an 'only when absolutely necessary' paradigm.

I know there are tests being done right now that cannot be done in any other way. This may be one of them. And I pray for true and fast progress on all of these most devastating health issues.

The shame is the number of repetitive studies -- and cosmetic toxicity tests -- and other research that very few of us would deem necessary. Those things are difficult to justify.

Just FYI: My understanding is that only certain animals are protected under these laws. I believe animals like mice are always exempt. And I think the loopholes are such that exemptions to humane provisions can be circumvented when needed.

zippiknits said...

"It seems to me that if this research pans out, it may only be of value to professional football players. They are only people I can think of who have neurosurgeons standing around waiting for them to get hurt and can administer treatment immediately."

I know that I got up and walked home in shock and pain. Later, the rest of the injury came. I think that body reaction is so that even with a broken back, you can get yourself out of danger and possibly live to face another day, rue the day? Anyway, that's my two cents about spinal injury. You can walk with a broken back if you are in shock.

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