UCLA Neuroscientists Restore Bladder Control to Spinal Cord Injury Victims
A vast majority of about 250,000 Americans who are living with spinal cord injury lose the ability to voluntarily urinate after their injury. In fact, a 2012 study showed that for these individuals, the desire to regain bladder control supersedes their wish to walk again. According to an article on Medicalxpress.com, in a UCLA study involving five male spinal cord injury victims, neuroscientists stimulated the lower spinal cord through the skin with a magnetic device placed at the lumbar spine.
Hope for Spinal Injury Patients
This is the first research project of its kind to show that this particular technique enables those with spinal cord injuries to recover significant bladder control for up to four weeks before treatments. The findings from this study were published Aug. 22 in Scientific Reports. Questionnaires the participants completed before and after their study showed the treatment improved the men’s quality of life by an average 60 percent. If the technique can be successfully replicated on others, it could help reduce the social stigma and health risks associated with frequent catheter use.
People with these types of injuries must slide a narrow tube called a catheter into the bladder several times a day in order to drain urine. Most patients cannot do this on their own and therefore, have to depend on a caregiver to insert the catheter. Also, catheter use in the long term could lead to bacterial infections and permanent scarring. Bladder problems after spinal cord injuries could also lead to kidney damage and death. The magnetic stimulation device is FDA-approved for use in humans. But, its application for bladder rehabilitation is experimental.
Cost of Spinal Cord Injuries
Auto accidents, falls and acts of violence are some of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries. Those living with spinal injuries face a number of expenses including hospitalization, surgeries, rehabilitative care and round-the-clock nursing care if they have been paralyzed. The cost of caring for an individual with a spinal cord injury could run into millions of dollars during the person’s lifetime.
If your spinal cord injury was caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may be able to seek and obtain compensation for your losses. It is important that you contact an experienced Los Angeles spinal cord injury lawyer who will fight for your rights and help you secure the money you need to improve your quality of life and cope with your needs and disabilities.