Researchers from the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York have discovered that injecting large amounts of the food dye Blue Dye No. 1 into rats shortly after spinal injuries reduces the chances for paralysis and other spinal injury complications. There is a catch, however; the injection of the dye made the rats turn blue.
This research was developed on earlier studies by the same team, which demonstrated thatATP, the body’s cellular energy molecules, floods into the injured area in the spinal column. The high concentration of ATP destroys healthy motor neuron cells and increases the severity of the injury.
First, the team of scientists attempted to use oxidized ATP to block the effects of ATP. It showed positive results, but at the risk of dangerous side effects. The team then found that an injection of blue food dye had similar results without the side effects of oxidized ATP.
The amount of blue dye needed to achieve the desired therapeutic effects is far greater than the amounts consumed in food, so don’t expect an immediate application. There is still a lot to be done before blue dye can be tested and approved for human use in treating traumatic spinal cord injuries.