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Nerve regrowth breakthrough offers hope to victims of spinal cord injuries

It is an understatement to say that the spinal cord plays an important role in the body, as it is the brain's connection between several vital systems such as the urinary, muscular and gastrointestinal. Needless to say, when there is a spinal cord injury, it can have devastating effects.

Currently, there is no way to repair the damage once the spinal cord is injured. However, medical research has made many breakthroughs in years past that may, one day, promise to help victims of spinal cord injuries make a recovery.

Most recently, The Journal of Neuroscience reported that researchers have found a way to help spinal cord nerves regenerate in mice with spinal cord injuries and improve their urinary system function. The urinary system is greatly affected when the spinal cord is injured, since the spinal cord carries the necessary messages from the brain allowing for effective bladder control.

When a spinal cord injury occurs, one of the primary symptoms is a loss of bladder control. In humans, this loss can lead to urinary tract infections and kidney stones. For this reason, the research focused on the bladder control of the mice.

During the research, a group of mice with spinal cord injuries were injected with a combination of enzymes and a fibroblast growth factor (which stimulates the regrowth of certain cells) at the site of their injury. Once scientists added a graft, spinal cord nerves grew back by up to 12 millimeters.

Once the treatment had been completed, the mice were still unable to walk. However, they showed significant improvement in their bladder function. The mice were better able to control their bladders at will, making them 40 percent more capable of emptying their bladders completely. In addition to improved bladder control, the mice were able to hold more urine in their bladders-nearly three times the amount of untreated mice.

Although this treatment has not been tested in humans, the researchers hope that it will offer similar benefits to those suffering from spinal cord injuries one day.

An attorney can help

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most humans receive spinal cord injuries in car accidents, falls, sports injuries and violent acts. Although some of the causes of spinal cord injuries can be attributed to a simple accident, many arise as a result of someone else's negligence or carelessness such as texting while driving or a failure to maintain property in a safe condition.

In Massachusetts, those who have received a spinal cord injury because of negligence are entitled to recover compensation for the financial loss caused by the injury, which can be considerable. According to the CDC, a spinal cord injury costs an average of $30,000 per year to treat. For this reason, if you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure that your right to compensation is protected.

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