This Blue Rat May Have the Secret to Avoid Spinal Cord Injuries

It's not a negative. It's not frozen. This rat's skin is blue and its color may be the secret to avoid spinal cord injuries and paralysis, according to a new study by neurologists at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

That secret is Brilliant Blue G dye, a variant of Blue Number One, which is a common and harmless food coloring product. Scientists dropped weights on the rats' backs to break their little spinal cords, injecting the Brilliant Blue G dye in their bodies. The dye turned their skins blue, but within weeks all motor functions returned to normal. The rat could walk, run, jump, have sex, and do whatever it wanted.


According to the study, the dye prevented inflammation of the spinal cord. Not only it is as simple as that, but one of the neurologists—Maiken Nedergaard—says that they can't find "clinical effects on the rat." This is one of the things that they should start trying in humans as soon as possible. Better to look like a smurf than neer walking again. [National Geographic]

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