from regularity to.. spinal cord injury?

It’s everywhere – in cosmetics, oven cleaners, such lovely products as GoLYTELY and Miralax, and even as wood stabilizer...

It’s polyethylene glycol (PEG). This über-useful polymer recently jumped into the public eye, after a study conducted by researchers at IUPUI and Texas A&M yielded some intriguing results. In this study, newly paraplegic dogs were injected with PEG as part of their initial treatment. Almost 70% of the canine patients were able to walk again within two months.

According to Purdue’s Richard Borgens, PEG acts as a sort of “molecular Band-Aid,” spreading out over damaged tissue in the spinal cord and protecting damaged cells while they recover. (see this article from the Chicago Sun-Times)

See the article abstract from the Journal of Neurotrauma here .

There is a fairly significant body of literature regarding the use of surfactant polymers in neurotrauma, but to my knowledge this is the first major mainstream media coverage of such things. Will this be the wave of the future for spinal cord injury?

p.s. For an interesting comparison, read the description of PEG as used to stabilize green wood – then read the description of PEG’s action in the spinal cord. Kind of cool, eh?


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