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Injuries to the spine can unfortunately have negative long-term impacts on a patient in West Virginia. For instance, some spinal cord injury patients who become paralyzed end up having to breathe with ventilators. However, researchers recently discovered that lab-grown neural cells may one day enable these patients to breathe without their ventilators’ help.

As part of their study, researchers from a couple of universities transplanted a particular neural cell class — known as V2a interneurons — into rodents that were suffering from spinal cord injuries. They found from their research that the rodents ended up improving in their respiratory function. This was the first study to show V2a interneurons contributing to the spinal cord’s ability to repair itself to some degree.

Spinal cord injuries can affect a number of the body’s motor systems, including the respiratory system. However, as researchers begin to better understand the body’s process for attempting to repair itself, the goal is to shed more light on this process therapeutically through cell transplantation as well as rehabilitation. Neural cells are particularly celebrated because they work with every other type of cell in the body.

Dealing with a spinal cord injury can understandably be discouraging, as it can prevent a person in West Virginia from living a relatively normal life. In some situations, these types of injuries stem from another person’s negligence — for instance, the carelessness of a fellow driver on the highway. In such cases, a spinal cord injury victim has the right to file a personal injury claim against the party who caused his or her injury, seeking damages. A damage award in a successfully fought case may help with addressing medical bills and other losses related to this type of injury.