A method of promoting healing of injured or diseased neurons from Ames Research Center involves pharmacological activation of the STAT3 alpha protein. Injured or diseased neurons heal incompletely or not at all because they are susceptible to apoptosis (cell death), or because they fail to engage in axogenesis - that is, they fail to re-extend their axons to their original targets. Natural anti-apoptotic, pro-axogenic mechanisms are stimulated artificially in the new method.
A nanotube array based on vertically aligned nanotubes or carbon nanofibers has been invented by Ames Research Center for use in localized electrical stimulation and recording of electrical responses in selected regions of an animal body, including the brain. Potential applications for localized electrical stimulation and/or recording include treatment of Parkinson's disease, Tourette's syndrome, and chronic pain.
A continuing program of research and development at Marshall Space Flight Center is focusing on the use of controlled illumination by light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to treat mucositis and to accelerate healing of wounds. The basic idea is to illuminate the affected area of a patient with light of an intensity, duration, and wavelength chosen to produce a therapeutic effect while generating only a minimal amount of heat. Arrays of LEDs would generate biostimulatory radiation.