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  • New Research May Help Those Suffering From Spinal Cord Injuries

    On behalf of The Frickey Law Firm on Thursday, October 25, 2012.

    The effects of a spinal cord injury for those in Colorado can be felt for a lifetime. Damage to the spine can occur at work, in a motor vehicle accident or during a fall at home, to name a few instances. This injury directly affects the spinal cord, leaving a victim unable to control certain movements that they were able to before. Some lose the ability to walk, while others lose the ability to use their hands.

    Studies are being conducted on a regular basis in the hopes that one day, victims of spinal cord injuries will be able to return to a level of function similar to their abilities before the incidents that caused their injuries. A recent publication announced earlier this month that a technique known as deep brain stimulation may be a promising route for those that have lost the ability to walk.

    According to researchers, deep brain stimulation involves an implant in the brain that sends electrical impulses to areas that are hard to reach. The implant is placed in the brain during surgery and some have called it a kind of pacemaker. The device sends its electrical pulses to certain parts of the brain that command the spinal cord to allow walking to occur.

    The recent study used laboratory rats as a model for potential use in humans. According to the study’s report, some nerves in the spinal cords of the rats were severed while others were left intact. This is similar to many of the most common spinal cord injuries in people, which are dubbed incomplete when discussing them because it is not a complete severing of the spinal cord.

    Rats showed improvement in treadmill walking endurance and speed while receiving deep brain stimulation, according to the study. One of the head researchers reported that such improvement is contrary to popular scientific belief, which holds that a person cannot improve in walking ability without a fully intact spinal cord.

    Colorado residents living with a catastrophic injury like the above could contact an experienced attorney to know their options if they feel a personal injury claim is appropriate.

    Source: Science News, “Brain zap helps spine-damaged rats walk,” Tanya Lewis, Oct. 17, 2012