Stimulator might help spinal cord injury victims regain function

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The advances that are being made for spinal cord injury treatments are amazing. These advances give hope to people who wouldn’t have had any hope if they had been injured a few decades ago. In recent news, researchers announced that a new device could help people who have limited or nonexistent movement because of a spinal cord injury.

The device is a 32-electrode stimulator that is implanted directly into the patient. When the spinal cord is injured, the injury can stop the electrical signals from the brain to the body. This is what leads to paralysis and loss of function.

This stimulator works to create new pathways from the brain to the affected areas of the body. Because the spinal cord is an organ that is smart, new pathways can form if there is a way to do so. This is the spinal cord’s natural way of compensating; however, this isn’t always possible if the injury is severe enough.

One man who suffered a spinal cord injury in 2011 has regained some function in all of his fingers. While he didn’t really have much hope of doing so this far out after the injury, his case should give some hope to patients who are trying to find anything that will help them to regain function.

Regaining some function could help spinal cord injury victims live a more independent life. It could help them to be able to hold jobs and earn an income. This is a hope that many will hold onto now.

For victims who are trying to learn to live with a spinal cord injury now, seeking compensation might give them the financial means to seek out new treatments. Finding out their options is the first step these victims should take to determine what they are going to do.

Source: CBS New York, “New Device Helps People Suffering From Spinal Cord Injuries Regain Movement,” Dec. 13, 2016

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