Spinal Cord Injuries Can Suppress Long-Term Immune Functions

Spinal cord injuries, or SCIs, account for a large number of the personal injury cases that are classified as “life-altering” or “very serious” each year.  The fact is that an SCI is very likely to have effects, such as partial or total paralysis, that must be treated with expensive medical care for life.  However, what many people do not realize is that a spinal cord injury can have effects that go far beyond paralysis or loss of muscle control.  In some cases, the injured person’s life expectancy can be compromised by other effects of an SCI, such as suppression of long-term immune functions.

According to a recent article, several studies have linked both immune depression and an increase in autoimmune disease to the aftereffects of SCI.  It is believed that the mechanism that drives this development has to do with the central nervous system and its control over the neural pathways that control what is known as the autonomic nervous system.  The autonomic nervous system’s job is to relay information from various parts of the body to the brain to keep systems running smoothly.  After an SCI, these pathways are often disrupted.

When an SCI occurs, the disruption of the CNS’s interaction with the body’s immune system can quickly result in a significant decrease in immune system function throughout the body.  This condition has been observed enough to earn a name:  spinal cord injury-induced immune deficiency syndrome or SCI-IDS.

Patients who exhibit SCI-IDS symptoms appear to be at significantly higher risk for various infections, including pneumonia and urinary tract infections.  What were once thought to be infections that resulted from mobility issues may actually have their roots in immune deficiency in many patients with spinal cord injuries.

While there may not be a solution for SCI-IDS, understanding these mechanisms can bring successful treatment for the condition closer to reality. Ongoing studies are being conducted to determine the exact nature of the breakdown in neural pathways that contribute to SCI-IDS in the hope that spinal cord injury patients will have better options in the future to treat or prevent these conditions.

Treating spinal cord injuries is complicated and often requires a number of different specialists as well as ongoing treatment protocols that may last a lifetime.  In order to pay for this level of medical care, those who have suffered an SCI must be given an opportunity to secure the maximum amount of compensation possible.  All too often, SCI victims are railroaded into early settlements that are not adequate to their future medical care needs.  This often results in these victims being denied life-saving treatments at some point down the road, or with them having to live with difficult long-term effects from their injuries that could be treated with the right type of medical care.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of a spinal cord injury accident, it is important to think about the future.  Give Barber & Associates a call today to learn more about how we can help you calculate the right settlement amount for your case to ensure you have enough to pay for medical care for years to come.

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