Several new studies indicate that researchers are making progress in helping those with spinal cord injuries.
For many years, doctors and researchers have hoped to develop a treatment that will allow those who have suffered serious spinal cord injuries to regain the ability to walk. While these efforts have yet to prove entirely successful, new research indicates that science may not be as far away from developing these sorts of treatments as many people might think.
In one recent study, published in the journal Brain, researchers examined the use of epidural electrical stimulation on a group of patients, each of whom had been paralyzed for several years. They discovered that a small device, implanted on the spinal cord at the site of injury and designed to provide small electrical impulses, allowed patients to regain the ability to make voluntary movements with their limbs.
In another study, conducted in China, researchers examined the use of cells collected from umbilical cord blood on 20 patients who had suffered complete spinal cord injuries. On average, each patient had been injured for about seven years before the trial began. The research team transplanted the cells, along with the drug lithium, into each patient.
For several months after the cell transplant, each patient received walking training. After about 12 months, a total of 15 of those who had received the umbilical cord blood cells could walk with some assistance on a special rolling device. Two patients regained the ability to walk using a standard walker.
Doctors caution that a “cure” for paralysis caused by spinal cord injury, while possible, is still likely many, many years away. Nevertheless, these two recent studies indicate that medical science is currently developing therapies that can help patients regain some functions they may have lost after their injuries. While these sorts of therapies may not constitute a full cure, they do offer hope that medical researchers are moving in the right direction.
Whether in a car crash, an accident at work or a fall, if you have suffered a spinal cord injury, speak to a personal injury attorney. A personal injury lawyer with experience counseling those who have suffered catastrophic injuries can explain your rights and help you determine which steps to take next. While it can be easy to become overwhelmed with concerns over medical bills and lost time at work, a personal injury attorney is there to help. If you have been injured, do not delay: schedule a meeting with a personal injury lawyer today.
Keywords: car accidents, spinal cord injuries, back injuries