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Hope for those dealing with spinal cord injuries

Suffering a spinal cord injury is life-changing. It should be no surprise that the top cause of these life-changing events involves motor vehicle accidents, outranking sports, violent acts, and medical complications.

Look at recent statistics for motor vehicle crashes:

  • Every year, 2.3 million people suffer injuries in car accidents, with 30,000 not surviving the crash
  • Forty-five percent of those deaths are the result of not wearing a seat belt
  • One-third are caused by speeding
  • Texting while driving makes an accident up to 23 times more likely
  • Drunk driving at night increases the chance of fatal collisions by four times

In 2013, the National Institutes of Health published findings that revealed 5.4 million people are living with paralysis in the United States. Nearly 75 percent were younger than 65.

A groundbreaking study and potential treatment

Severe spinal cord injuries usually result in some form of paralysis. Those left paralyzed are unable to get around on their own and require around-the-clock care. However, a groundbreaking study published in Advanced Science may provide treatment options for those with limited, if any, options following injuries to their spine.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University are using materials and cells from human donors to engineer three-dimensional spinal cord tissues that avoid rejection while in the patient’s body. The procedure successfully restored walking ability in 80 percent of those who had chronic paralysis.

The promising results have raised hopes that the technology can be used to help people with spinal cord injuries or other conditions that resulted in paralysis in a few years.