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Hope for spinal cord injuries suffered in car accidents

Individuals who are subjected to a spinal cord injury can experience a vast range of physical problems as a result. Those difficulties can be manifested in many parts of the body, and can seriously decrease an individual's ability to function in a healthy and normal manner. However, researchers are constantly working on ways to improve function for those affected by spinal cord injuries, and their efforts may be of interest to those in Hawaii who have been injured in car accidents or other sources of trauma.

Researchers are making strides in the reversal of paralysis affecting the muscles in the diaphragm. These muscles are activated by messages sent through nerve fibers that originate in the brain. When these fibers are damaged, the signals that tell the motor nerves to activate muscle tissue cannot be properly transmitted. The result is often an inability to breathe without use of a ventilator.

New research is working to restore function within the diaphragm, by way of an enzyme that can be injected directly into the spinal cord. In animal testing, those enzymes acted to enable new connections within the respiratory system, and to stimulate pathways that had previously lost function. Oxygen was then restricted to force the test animals to breathe harder and faster. The combination of these efforts led to two-thirds of the animals to regain normal breathing function.      

This research suggests that treatments could be developed that might restore normal breathing function in patients who have suffered serious spinal cord injury. As with all medical matters, however, taking part in these advances will be an expensive proposition. For those in Hawaii or elsewhere who have been injured by car accidents or other forms of trauma, it is imperative to secure the funding necessary to procure this type of medical care.

Source: medicalxspress.com, "Laboratory breakthrough offers promise for spinal cord injury patients to breathe on their own again", Nov. 18, 2014

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