People with spinal cord injuries in West Virginia may feel hopeless about ever being able to recover from their medical challenges. However, according to new research, nerves that have been damaged could possibly be restored in the future. This can give hope to both people with a spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injuries.

Right now, spinal cord and brain damage cannot be repaired. This means that those with injuries to their spines lose their sensation or are paralyzed. Those who have damage in the part of the nervous system beyond the spinal cord and brain, however, may experience a little less than a third of their nerves growing back. When nerves regenerate in these areas, a person may be able to function or move again.

A certain protein has been found to play a major role in stimulating regrowth of nerves in areas outside of the brain and spinal cord. When the protein was given to mice with brain and spinal cord damage, they experienced an increase in the fibers of nerves that could grow back. This provides hope that people with spinal cord and brain damage may be able to recover from injury to the spine.

This research may one day result in a drug that can be tested on humans. However, the research is in its preliminary stages, so more work needs to be done. Spinal injuries in some cases happen when another party is negligent — for example, driving while distracted on the roadway or failing to keep one’s premises clear of trip and fall hazards. Although spinal cord injury victims in West Virginia may feel discouraged about their physical limitations, financial restitution from personal injury or premises liability cases that are fought successfully may help them to better cope with the situation.

Source: The Huffington Post, “New Therapies Could Fix Spinal Cord Damage“, Charles Choi, April 18, 2014