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Stem cell hope for childhood motor neuron disease

A form of motor neuron disease that affects children has been treated in mice with injections of stem cells into the spinal cord. The treatment extended the lives of the mice beyond and kept them more mobile, giving hope that similar approaches might help people.

The treated mice were bred to have a form of motor neuron disease called spinal muscular atrophy with respiratory distress type 1, or SMARD 1, which affects 1 or 2 in every 100,000 children.

Diaphragms of infant children with the disease stop working, so they need mechanical ventilators to stay alive. Nerves in muscles of the extremities are also affected, gradually limiting movement of hands and feet.
 
 

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