Last month the National Institutes of Health announced the astonishing results of a breakthrough study. According to the NIH, 5 men who were previously completely paralyzed were able to move their legs with the help of noninvasive spinal cord stimulation. The findings of the study surprised even the researchers.
Epidural spinal cord stimulation itself isn’t new. About four or five years ago, scientists were able to produce similar results in patients by surgically implanting a spinal cord stimulator. The significance of this new study is that the spinal stimulation was noninvasive, reducing the risk of surgical complications that could slow the healing process.
While we’re not quite on the brink of a complete cure for paralysis, these new developments are incredibly encouraging. It is estimated that about 6 million people in the US are paralyzed – about 1 in 50 individuals. This number is much higher – about 50% higher – than previously thought. Earlier counts had included only central nervous system disorders and excluded other common mobility problems.
Paralysis can be caused by a number of factors, including stroke and multiple sclerosis. Another common cause is trauma to the head or spine. Motor vehicle crashes and falls account for about 60% of spinal cord injuries.
This promising new data may be the start of revolutionary treatment for patients suffering from paralysis.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.