Spinal cord injuries impact the lives of thousands of Americans every year. Damage to sensitive nerve tissues can result in partial or total paralysis, making day to day activities a challenge for many victims. But some companies are developing innovative treatments that offer renewed hope to patients who have suffered extensive spinal cord injuries.
THE NEW TECHNIQUES
For almost all patients being treated for spinal cord injuries, time-honored methods like medication, surgery, and physical therapy will be staples of their care. However, some promising new methods are beginning to have a substantial impact on patient outcomes.
For instance, advanced computer modeling systems are being integrated with neural prostheses to help improve motor functions; one application involves electrical stimulators either attached externally or implanted surgically that deliver signals to muscles with the help of a computer controlled by the user.
Other advanced developments are on the horizon. Biotech company InVivo Therapeutics recently received an additional $13 million in funding to refine research on a small device implanted into the body that can contain the aftershocks of spinal cord injury which causes healthy cells to self-destruct. The implants could mean substantially improved physical ability for spinal cord injury victims. InVivo has successfully tested the device on primates, and is in the process of setting up human trials.
SOME COMMON CAUSES OF SPINAL INJURIES
Traumatic spinal cord injuries can be sustained in a number of ways. The most common causes are car accidents and motorcycle accidents, which contribute to almost half of spinal cord injuries in the United States. Falls, intentional bodily violence, and certain degenerative diseases are also leading causes. Around eight percent of spinal cord injuries are sustained in sports or recreational activity, often among minors who are not being properly supervised or instructed.
Another source of spinal cord injuries tragically occurs within the operating rooms of hospitals. If a surgeon accidentally nicks, severs or compresses the spinal cord, it can cause long-lasting or permanent problems to the patient. A surgical error involving the spinal cord often results in permanent paralysis.
Although approximately 10,000 to 12,000 Americans sustain traumatic spinal cord injuries every year, all of them are now potential beneficiaries of the life changing new treatments in development.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN INJURED
If you or a family member has suffered a spinal cord injury, you should contact an experienced Cleveland personal injury attorney. Many injuries are caused or exacerbated by other parties who may be held liable for monetary damages to compensate victims for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. Speak to an attorney to find out more about your legal rights.