Spinal cord injuries often completely change a victim’s life. Many suffer a permanent loss of movement or sensation below the site of injury. At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, we not only fight for fair compensation for our clients, but we also stay on top of recent medical advances that help spinal cord injury victims return as much as possible to their old way of life.
Thankfully, the medical community is making good strides helping spinal cord victims. Below, we highlight some recent advances.
Common Drug Could Restore Limb Function
Tests on mice using the drug gabapentin have shown promising results. In particular, mice were able to restore about 60% of upper limb function by taking the drug after a spinal cord injury. This compared to only a 30% improvement with a placebo. Gabapentin is a common drug prescribed to treat nerve pain.
The drug blocked a protein that prevents axons from working properly. Axons are long nerves that transmit signals, so their ability to function is critical in those who have suffered a spinal cord injury. Although the study was only on mice, and not humans, it shows a potential way forward for those who have lost limb function.
Stem Cells Improve Sensory and Motor Functions
Ten adults enrolled in a study were injected with stem cells derived from their own fat. Stem cells have the potential to grow into any cell in the body and have long been viewed as a potential treatment for spinal cord victims.
According to research from the Mayo Clinic, one patient has already responded very positively to the treatment. He suffered a spinal cord injury in his neck, which caused him to lose function in the remainder of his body. Neck surgery allowed him to recover some limited movement and sensation, but he enrolled in the study nine months after the injury in the hopes of improving more. Doctors injected millions of stem cells into his lower back (lumbar) region.
The patient showed marked improvement on physical therapy scores, as well as on sensory, occupational, and mental health scores. Researchers issued a note of caution, however, by pointing out that others in the study have responded more moderately.
Epidural Stimulator Acts Like a “Spinal Pacemaker”
Many hospitals are now implanting epidural stimulators into spinal cord injury victims. The stimulator acts as a bridge that connects the brain to distant parts of the body, bypassing the sections of the spinal column that have been injured.
Many patients have responded positively to this treatment. Metro recently reported on a Canadian man who has been able to walk for the first time after doctors in Thailand implanted the device. He also had stem cell injections.
Speak with a Miami Personal Injury Lawyer
Existing treatments for spinal cord victims are expensive, and newer ones coming onto the market promise to be just as pricey. Fortunately, spinal cord victims can often receive compensation to cover their past, present, and future medical expenses.
Contact us today, 305-371-2692, to speak to an attorney.