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Spinal cord injury patients may benefit from epidural stimulation

Those with spinal cord injuries in West Virginia may be unable to live and work like they did before their injuries due to the inability to move certain parts of their bodies. However, a certain procedure may be able to restore movement to a person who has become paralyzed as a result of a spinal cord injury. The procedure is known as epidural stimulation, and millions of dollars are going into research into the procedure.

In epidural stimulation, an electrode is placed over the lower part of the spinal cord. More specifically, it is placed below the site of injury. Scientists are currently exploring the nervous system's complexity in this area and how capable it is of generating complex patterns.

Once the electrode goes over the spinal cord, a stimulator is implanted that can be wired to the cord. Next, electrical current is applied to the cord, where it activates nerve circuits. This system was originally created for use in pain management; however, now it appears to be able to help paralyzed people to regain voluntary movement. It has even been shown to improve the patients' cardiovascular health and ability to control their bowels.

Although spinal cord injury can negatively impact a person's life in West Virginia, current research aims to improve quality of life for those who have suffered injuries. An injury victim may also choose to file a personal injury claim against the party deemed responsible for his or her spinal cord injury if the injury resulted from an accident. For example, financial restitution in a case that is won may help a person to afford medical treatment, while also providing a sense of justice in light of the incident.

Source: biosciencetechnology.com, "Epidural Stimulation Shows Promise for Spinal Cord Injuries", Bevin Fletcher, March 23, 2015

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