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Future Hope For Victims Of Spinal Cord Injuries

The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons published the results of a study on new developments in the management of spinal cord injuries (SCI). The eventual cure will involve the use of expertise in different fields, according to Dr. Ranjan Gupta, MD, professor of orthopaedic surgery, anatomy and neurobiology and biomedical engineering at the University of California, Irvine.

  • Each year, approximately 12,000 men and women sustain and survive spinal cord injuries, and about 259,000 Americans currently live with a long-lasting SCI.
  • Although traditionally associated primarily with young adults, today the average age of SCI patients has risen to 40.2 years.
  • Automobile crashes are the most common cause of SCI, and males are most often affected, comprising almost 81 percent of all SCI patients.

Dr. Gupta stated that newer therapeutic approaches such as, stem cell therapy and novel drug formulations, are the most promising for SCI victims. “Yet, spinal cord injuries are especially difficult to treat because they involve more than a direct injury to the spine,” noted Dr. Gupta. “The primary mode of an SCI involves changes to the patient’s anatomy that occur as the result of the actual traumatic event. Secondary injuries may occur as a result of how the body responds to the primary injury, usually by producing scar tissue that can make treatment problematic.” The research, development, and use of new drugs and cellular transplantation in the treatment of the secondary injuries are the most promising. “Yet, to maximize the chances for recovery after SCI, early surgical intervention is essential,” he stated. Clinical trials with animals involving pharmacological intervention and the fact that the FDA is being more receptive to cellular transplantation trials, form the foundation for future human trials.

Spine injuries resulting from auto accidents,motorcycle accidents, construction accidents and other traumatic accidents can be life changing. Prompt medical treatment can have a dramatic effect on the ultimate outcome in resolving injuries and minimizing any residual effects. However, research leading to new approaches in the management and treatment of spine injuries and brain injuries are extremely important. Contacting an experienced personal injury attorney if you have been seriously injured is equally important.