Spinal cord damage blocks the routes that the brain uses to send messages to the nerve cells that control walking. Until now, doctors believed that the only way for injured patients to walk again was to re-grow the long nerve highways that link the brain and base of the spinal cord. For the first time, a UCLA study shows that the central nervous system can reorganize itself
and follow new pathways to restore the cellular communication required for movement. The lead researcher said, "This pessimistic view [that severe injury to the spinal cord means permanent paralysis] has changed over my lifetime, and our findings add to a growing body of research showing that the nervous system can reorganize after injury."