In motor vehicle accidents, physical injuries can be devastating if not deadly, particularly when there is damage to the brain and/or spinal cord. Damage to the central nervous system can have a profound effect on an accident victim’s life, impacting his or her ability to work, recreate, maintain relationships with family and friends, and generally enjoy life.
For patients who have suffered serious spinal cord injury, treatment and care may be ongoing for the remainder of their lives. Treatment and care is not only expensive, but taxing on family members who may serve as caregivers. Fortunately, scientific advances do offer some hope to spinal cord injury victims, hope that someday they may be able to recover some of their functioning.
One experimental new treatment involves surgery which involves the use of stem cells to recover functioning and accelerate recovery. The treatment is still in its early stages of development and, at this point, more work needs to be done to determine whether stem cells can actually repair spinal cord damage or whether they make some other contribution to the healing process.
When it comes to brain and spinal cord injury, the science is still fairly undeveloped in terms of understanding the factors that affect recovery. Research has shown that different people recover different after receiving a traumatic brain injury. A major reason for this is that the brain has the ability to adapt and change over to time to different stimuli, even after suffering an injury.
In our next post, we’ll continue this conversation and look at this discussion in relation to personal injury damages.
Source: Msktc.org, “Understanding TBI: Part 1 – What happens to the brain during injury and the early stages of recovery from TBI?,” Thomas Novacik, PhD & Tamara Bushnik, PhD.