Research released today demonstrates how new scientific knowledge is driving innovative treatments for spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord damage is debilitating and life-altering, limiting or preventing movement and feeling for millions worldwide, and leading to chronic health conditions and pain.
The new studies suggest potential therapies for managing the aftermath of pain and pressure sores, repairing nervous system damage, and speeding recovery. The findings were presented at Neuroscience 2012, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.
In the United States, approximately 12,000 people are hospitalized for spinal cord injury (SCI) each year, and at least 270,000 people live with it. The initial injury is usually compounded by a wave of immune activity that can extend the initial nervous system damage, and complications of SCI may include pain and pressure sores that compromise the quality of life. New research is tackling all of these dimensions of SCI.
Today's new findings show that:
"While the damage of SCI can appear to be immediate and dramatic, the biological events that lead to extensive nerve and tissue damage are complex, and injuries evolve over time," said press conference moderator Jacqueline Bresnahan, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, an expert on nervous system trauma caused by spinal cord injuries. "Today researchers are finding ways to intervene in the cascade of molecular changes that follow SCI. From understanding immune cell responses to the healing power of social contact, researchers are finding new ways to treat and rehabilitate patients."
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