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Spinal cord injury patients might benefit from implantable device

After suffering a spinal cord injury, a person in West Virginia may experience issues such as the loss of sensation and the loss of movement. Other issues he or she may face include the loss of bladder or bowel control or even sexual function changes. Fortunately, spinal cord injury victims who suffer from paralysis may eventually benefit from new research into the creation of an implant designed specifically to help such individuals.

One research center is aiming to perfect the device, which would be implanted in a patient's brain. The device could then interpret signals in the brain. Researchers are hoping to make this device available to be used in clinical trials in the next eight years to 10 years.

The device would work by sending signals between brain or nervous system regions that cannot communicate with one another due to injury. It would essentially create a brand new pathway -- an artificial one -- that would allow information to easily bypass the parts of the nervous system or brain that have been damaged. One of the biggest hurdles of the project involves creating a device that one can embed in neural tissue that will not reject the device.

Spinal cord injuries often happen as a result of incidents such as motor vehicle accidents and falls. When these accidents happen because of another person's negligence, the spinal cord injury victim has the right to take legal action, seeking damages through a personal injury claim. A preponderance of the evidence is required to establish financial responsibility for the injuries in West Virginia.

Source: catholic.org, "So the lame may walk", Jan. 4, 2016

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