A blue dye found in Gatorade and Rocket Pops could play a protective role in the cellular mayhem that follows spinal cord injury. In rats, the dye - known as FD&C Blue No. 1 - appears to block a molecule that floods the injury site and kills nerve cells, a team reports in the July 28 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
rats dosed with the dye after injury showed greater improvement in motor skills than rats not receiving the dye. And the food colorant's low toxicity suggests a new approach for treating spinal cord trauma in humans, injuries for which there are few therapies.