See Inside October 2005

Mending the Spinal Cord

Researchers are finding ways to help nerves regenerate, and hope for therapies is growing

Many people are familiar with the story of Christopher Reeve, the actor who played Superman in the blockbuster movie of the same name. In May 1995, while riding in an equestrian competition, Reeve was thrown off his horse, severely damaging his spinal cord when he hit the ground.

In an instant, Reeve became a quadriplegic--paralyzed from the neck down. He was confined to a wheelchair and could not even breathe without a machine. Nevertheless, for nine years--until he died in October 2004--he championed the call for more research into spinal cord repair. Despite his efforts, progress was slow.

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