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Restorative effects of stimulating medullary raphe after spinal cord injury

Ian D. Hentall, PhD; Scott S. Burns

Figure. Paw allodynia, measured with von Frey filament, 40 - 47 days after moderate thoracic spinal cord injury (SCI).

Pain often occurs after incomplete spinal cord injury. We tested whe-ther stimulating a small region in the hindbrain called the raphe magnus can reverse this pain. Rats had wireless stimulators attached to their heads, and electrical pulses were sent to the raphe magnus through fine wires. When stimulation was given for a few days right after injury, pain-related reflexes in the front paws, but not the hindpaws, returned to normal. The tissue that remained near the injury also improved. The raphe magnus is known for controlling acute pain and body movements. We now find it has a restorative function, too.

Volume 46 Number 1, 2009
   Pages 109 — 122

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