New treatment may help people with spinal cord injuries

Wednesday December 4, 2013

A lack of oxygen is deadly to most people. A new study from Canadian researchers, however, shows that breathing treatments in which low levels of oxygen are used can actually benefit those suffering from debilitating but not complete spinal cord injuries.

Connecticut residents who suffer this type of spinal cord injury are often frustrated by their rehabilitation and treatment courses. The new study, though, suggests that low-oxygen treatment can jumpstart the brain’s production of serotonin, the chemical that helps nerve transmission.

The study reports on people who have incomplete spinal cord injuries; that is, they can walk at least one step without another person’s assistance. Nineteen people were divided into two groups. One group received the low-oxygen treatment, the other a placebo. After 2 weeks, the groups switched treatments.

The results were promising. Those who received the low-oxygen treatment improved their walking ability compared to those who received the placebo treatment. According to the study’s author, the treatment may be improving brain connection function or strengthening the conditions needed for recovery.

As promising as the study is, however, questions still need to be answered. How long will the effects of the treatment last? How will such treatment be applied to people who have the most severe injuries and even paralysis?

As these questions highlight, researchers still has a long way to go to find more answers to more questions before major progress is achieved.

Meanwhile, the best treatment for such severe injuries, of course, is prevention. Very often such injuries are caused by negligence, often at the hands of another person through a work or motor vehicle accident. If this is the case, a Connecticut victim can hold the negligent party liable. Determination of liability can help a victim recover compensation to help with long-term medical care.

Source: Philly.com, “Oxygen Treatment May Help Some With Spinal Cord Injuries: Study,” Serena Gordon, Nov. 27, 2013

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