Recent Breakthroughs in Orange County Spinal Cord Accident Injury Research
Spinal cord injuries are some of the most devastating, painful, and common injuries that occur during an accident. Minor spine injuries cause discomfort and pain when sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time. Treatment for even minor injuries is fairly basic and largely unsuccessful, such as stretching and yoga, hot compresses, core exercises, and pain medication. Major spinal cord injuries not only come with discomfort and pain, but they can also seriously limit or even prohibit your ability to move and function.
Your spinal cord is the main path of your central nervous system. The central nervous system begins at your brain and extends down your spine. When you suffer a spinal cord injury, not only may your spine itself be injured, but your central nervous system may suffer as well. This can result in full or partial paralysis and excruciating pain. While surgery may help, it is expensive, and the likelihood of full success is low. Recently, however, scientists have begun researching how spinal cord injuries react to new therapies, treatments, and medications. Some of this research is occurring in our own backyard in Orange County. While this treatment is in its beginning stages, the goal is to be able to provide sufferers of spinal cord injuries with some peace, a reduction in pain, and assistance with mobility.
Just next door at San Diego State University, medical researchers are experimenting with a brain chip implant that will allow paralyzed individuals to potentially walk again. As discussed above, one of the leading causes of paralysis is damage to the central nervous system. This brain chip is designed to send signals from the brain to the limbs using alternate routes. When your central nervous system is damaged, certain key nerves are injured and do not receive or send signals. When signals cannot be transmitted, an individual is unable to move. This brain chip will bypass these injured nerves. A receiver will be implanted in the limb, and the brain chip will select a route that travels around injured nerves in order to send signals to the receiver. The signals stimulate nerves using electrical and wireless transmissions. This will hopefully allow people to walk again. Though SDSU just received a $15 million grant to continue researching and testing its invention, brain chips are not a new discovery. Hundreds of thousands of Americans already have brain chips to help them with a myriad of medical conditions.
Researchers at the University of South Carolina are taking a different route to curing paralysis. An axon is a part of the nerve cell that transmits a signal from the body of the nerve to other nerves. Peripheral nerves are part of the peripheral nervous system, which is connected to the central nervous system. Axons for peripheral nerves can regenerate, albeit slowly. However, spinal cord nerves attached to the central cord nervous system do not regenerate. These scientists are looking into ways to incorporate the regenerative qualities of peripheral axons into spinal cord nerves to allow injured nerves to fix themselves.
The University of California San Francisco discovered a connection between high blood pressure and spinal cord injuries. For years, scientists, doctors, and especially patients have lamented the lack of breakthroughs in spine injury research. While some medications exist, they are mostly useless. Medical researchers have now learned that high blood pressure in patients with spine injuries may be blocking the effectiveness of medicine. Human trials are to follow to test this theory.
If your spine was injured in an accident, you may be enduring extreme pain, difficulty with mobility, and a hard time supporting your loved ones. Orange County Personal Injury Lawyer Scott D. Hughes, provides compassionate yet zealous representation for spinal cord injury victims in Orange County and Los Angeles. To discuss your accident at our Newport Beach office, call (714) 423-6928.