Blue food dye reduces paralysis from spinal injuries?
Normally when a spinal injury occurs the majority of the damage isn’t the result of the injury itself but rather the result of spinal cord swelling and the resulting neuron damage hours and days after the accident that make the injury permanently worse. The swelling occurs because of the release of blood and a chemical called Adenosine Triphosphate. Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP is a way to deliver energy to cells. When a spinal injury occurs the area is flooded with ATP causing the healthy neurons to fire repeatedly resulting in neuron burnout which also further increases the swelling around the injury site. Normally swelling isn’t a bad thing but since the spinal cord is in the confines of the spinal column the resulting pressure can cut off the oxygen supply resulting in permanent paralysis. Scientists in Rochester, New York have discovered a method of reducing the amount of secondary damage using blue food dye. The same food dye you would find in the blue M&M’s at your grocery store. The way it works is the blue dye binds to the same neuroreceptor(P2X7) as ATP and it has a stronger affinity than ATP. In essence it works to block the affects of ATP eliminating its negative permanent damage. It can be taken oraly and the only side affect known is the patient may turn blue temporarily.