“Smell Cells” A Cure for Spinal Cord Injury?

An incredible discovery may have long-term impact on the treatment of spinal cord injuries or SCIs. A man who was paralyzed after a knife attack is up and walking after he underwent surgery to implant nasal cells responsible for the sense of smell into his spine, according to recent report.

Darek Fidyka, 38, was stabbed in 2010 and lost feeling and movement in his body from the chest down after he was stabbed in the back with a knife. However, when doctors from the University College London performed research on the implantation of olfactory ensheathing cells found in the nose and their relation to nerve regeneration, doctors in his native Poland were able to perform the operation on him. They implanted the cells into his spinal cord, the damaged nerve cells regrew and he was able to walk again.

Spinal Cord Injuries Affect Thousands Each Year

About 12,500 people each year are victims of spinal cord injuries, according to the National SCI Database. SCIs can affect anyone of any age but are most common among people age 15 to 45 who are most likely to be victims of a car accident, the most common cause of these injuries. About 275,000 people are living with the effects of an SCI at any given moment.

The average age of a spinal cord injury victim in the 1970s was 29 years. Today it is 42. This increase in age reflects the aging of the population but also reflects the increase in risky activities by older age groups. For example, more people over the age of 40 now ride motorcycles than ever before, leading to an increase in the average age of motorcycle victims. Spinal cord injuries are directly related to activities that put people at high risk. In addition, 79 percent of spinal cord injuries happen to men, who are far more likely to engage in risky behavior than women.

After vehicle crashes, which account for 38 percent of spinal cord injuries, falls make up another 30 percent. Violence, sports and other causes contribute to the remaining numbers of SCIs.

What Can I Do If I Suffer a Spinal Cord Injury?

If you have suffered a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s negligence, contact the offices of Barber and Associates, LLC in Anchorage. These personal injury lawyers have experience in helping clients recover compensation for their spinal cord injuries and will fight for your rights as well.

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