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New research brings hope to spinal cord injury patients


A New Haven, Connecticut resident suffering from a spinal cord injury may find a glimmer of hope in the findings of a recent scientific study. A study published in Science Translation Medicine examined rats with severed spinal cords that were implanted with a pace maker in the brain. This resulted in the rats gaining the ability to use their hind legs in an almost-normal manner.

The research compared the rats' situation to a person who depends on a wheelchair for mobility because of a spinal cord injury. An implant that supplies a steady voltage to that particular part of the brain can help boost synapses for the lower extremities, thus, improving the ability to support body weight and even walk.

Stimulating brain cells is not new to scientists. But the question on which part of the brain to stimulate serves as the challenge. Researchers in the study seem to have found the most effective part, the mid-brain tegmentum, a nerve cell cluster just in front of the cerebellum.

Although the research results seem promising and are welcome news for people who have sustained a spinal cord injury, the best cure is still prevention. Often, negligence is the cause of spinal cord injuries. Whether it is on the streets, in the medical field or in the workplace, negligence cannot be tolerated.

A New Haven resident who suffers from such an injury because of another person's negligence has an option to file a lawsuit to hold the negligent party responsible. Doing so can help the accident victim to obtain compensation to pay for medical expenses, rehabilitation and other accident-related damages.

However, there are instances when a negligent person would like to settle such a case. It is advisable to consult with a personal injury legal professional under such circumstances. Although a settlement should be in the best interest of the accident victim, the amount should also be sufficient to cover long-term medical care.

Source: LA Times, "A Pacemaker In The Brain For Spinal Cord Injury?," Melissa Healy, Oct. 24, 2013

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