People living with paralysis and their families no doubt follow stories of medical breakthroughs regarding spinal injuries with great interest. We have shared such stories in this blog before, in the hopes that they would be interesting to our readers.
Stories of new studies into treatment or cure of the effects of a spinal cord injury seem to make headlines regularly. Still, there remain numerous people in Los Angeles and around the world whose ability to move is partly or almost totally compromised. Besides perhaps giving them a vague hope that progress is being made, the lives of spinal cord injury victims seem to be largely unaffected by this research.
When a single patient shows improvement from an experimental treatment, the media generally will run with it. However, as scientists usually caution when this happens, such a small sample size proves little. They may lead to a treatment that is effective for hundreds of thousands of people — or turn out not to improve anyone else’s condition.
Besides this, the prospect of walking again may seem like a top priority, but many people with spinal injuries have more pragmatic goals. A spokesman for a spinal injury organization said that many people with this form of disability put regaining control of their bladder, bowels and sexual function before walking again.
Obviously, we are not questioning the integrity of researchers looking for ways to give people the ability to move their arms and legs again. It is just worth mentioning that behind the headlines, there are people living every day with the effects of a spinal injury.