If you were paralyzed in an accident or through a bacterial infection, would you be willing to get your nervous system rewired for a cure?
One family has according to an ABC News report. Doctors have successfully rewired the nervous system of a boy, 6, who lost the use of his right arm in September, 2009. Through an unorthodox paralysis treatment and surgery, he iis regaining control over his limb, a good sign that paralysis might very well be cured once and for all.
Our San Diego spinal cord injury lawyers know that you don’t have to be paraplegic or quadriplegic to know the hardships of having paralysis in your life. Just losing the ability to control one limb after a spinal cord injury can be frustrating and alter the way you function in day-to-day tasks.
After being struck with a case of transverse myelitis, an uncommon auto-immune disease, the boy was paralyzed and his control over certain parts of his body were lost. Much like the way E. coli can infect someone and cause nerve damage to the spinal cord, transverse myelitis does the same thing, with your chance of coming down with the infection being a million to one.
The outlook for recovery in his case was not great: a third of those afflicted with the disease have significant damage to their nerves and another third never regain their health after transverse myelitis sets in. The boy’s doctors and parents were banking on him being the one third who might be restored to a full picture of health, but it would come in the form of an experimental surgical procedure.
“We plugged the graft into the nerve that bends your elbow so when he thinks ‘shrug my shoulder,’ his arm will bend…Over time, because he’s so young, his movement will smooth out as he relearns [how to use his arm],” said an associate professor of neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and the boy’s doctor.
The idea is that his nerves are rewired so that as he recovers he will start to “bend his arm with a different nerve than he was born with.” Just as stem cell research is experimental and remains shrouded in unanswered questions, so does the boy’s surgery. Rewiring strong nerves to weak or damaged one comes with its share of risks, as everyone is wired slightly different, but it has been used in the past with limited side-effects. This is the first time that it has been used to cure paralysis that comes with transverse myelitis.
Our firm’s San Diego paralysis attorneys hope that more funding and research can be done for atypical medical treatments that might cure paralysis once and for all. We know that day is a still a ways a way, but by taking the time to educate ourselves and research new techniques for restoring someone’s body to functioning properly again, we get one step closer to a day where “the cure” for paralysis and spinal cord injuries isn’t a “maybe.”
If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident and suffered a spinal cord injury or paralysis, we urge you to contact our bilingual offices as soon as possible following the accident at 1-858-551-2090 or please click here for a FREE consultation with an experienced paralysis lawyer in San Diego. We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you owe us nothing until we recover money on your behalf.