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Paralysis Research

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He may be just a dog, but dog's like this paralyzed dachshund could be key to a breakthrough treatment for paralyzed veterans.

"One of the big obstacles in the past has been a lot of the research has used rodents and experimental animals. Despite an abundance of clinical trials, a lot of money spent in humans, um, the results have been disappointing," says professor Jonathan Levine.

The hope is that therapies that work in dogs might also be more likely to work in humans. That's welcome news to veteran Glendon Bentley who has been paralyzed since 1996.

"I was in the process of unloading an 1,100 pound crate from the back of the truck when the wind caught it just right and the crate fell out of the truck."

Bentley says any progress would bring vets like him hope. "Anything to improve the quality of live that would be the best."

The Department of Defense agrees. That's why they're now funding research going on at Texas A&M.

"Here what we are looking at is a dog who has had a disc herniation."

Scientists there are testing a drug that would block enzymes that do damage to the spinal cord.

"Hopefully what that is going to lead to is better mobility, better ability to empty the bladder and that is going to be beneficial of course to dogs and hopefully that can be scaled up to humans as well," says Levine.

Bentley adds, "And if this works and actually rejuvenates some of the spinal cord nerve endings it could alleviate some of that pain and possibly allow them to go from a wheelchair to a walker or leg braces and that would be phenomenal."

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