New hope for those injured in an accident

The human body is both an amazing and mysterious thing When an individual is seriously injured in an accident, life can change dramatically in only seconds. Spinal cord injuries are among the most grave outcomes that can occur from a traumatic event. Fortunately, recent research may give spinal cord patients in Massachusetts and elsewhere new hope when it comes to regaining lost function after being injured in an accident.

Researchers working with lab animals have discovered a treatment that can restore normal breathing function in subjects who have been injured for nearly a year and a half. The process involves the use of a specialized enzyme at the site of the injury to eliminate sugars present in existing scar tissue. This allows new connections to form and also stimulates latent pathways throughout the respiratory pathways.

In addition, the subjects were exposed to short bursts of oxygen deprivation. The intermittent lack of oxygen forced the animals to breathe faster and more rapidly. This led to a relatively rapid rehabilitation of the respiratory muscles. The combination of the enzyme treatment and intermittent hypoxia led to an increase in serotonin levels, which is known to act as a neurotransmitter. The end result is increased stimulation to nerve cells, thereby improving rehabilitation even further.

For those in Massachusetts who have been injured in an accident, research such as that outlined here offers new hope for increased function. However, the practical application of the research may be years away. Until it is available, those who were injured in an accident may have to endure long-term pain and suffering. While legal actions cannot ease suffering, a victim may be able to avoid financial pain by pursuing a personal injury claim against the negligent party that caused the accident in which he or she sustained his or her injuries.

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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