Oxygen Therapy Can Help Treat Certain Spinal Cord Injuries

wheelchair2.jpgA treatment that involves breathing low levels of oxygen can help treat persons who suffer from certain types of spinal injury. The therapy has been found to help these people walk much farther and much faster.

The research conducted by Canadian scientists found that with this oxygen treatment, persons who suffered from certain types of spinal cord injuries were able to walk approximately 4 seconds faster over 33 feet, compared to the group that was placed on a placebo. These persons were also able to walk approximately 320 feet farther in approximately 6 min.

The results of the study were published recently in the journal Neurology. All study subjects suffered from incomplete spinal cord injuries. Approximately 2/3rds of all spinal cord injuries are incomplete injuries with some nerve connections still functioning and intact. Therefore, the level of disability in these patients may not be as severe as those patients who suffer from a complete spinal injury.

Other studies conducted earlier using the same oxygen treatment found that animals given oxygen therapy walk better. The oxygen is believed to help in the release of serotonin, which is a chemical in the brain that helps in the transmission of messages among nerves. At this time, people who suffer from more severe spinal cord injury are not expected to benefit from this treatment, however.

For persons with more severe spinal cord injuries, who suffer from a condition called quadriplegia, new research points at the ability of powered wheelchairs that are much more efficient than conventional wheelchairs. Scientists developed a new magnetic technology-based tongue piercing that essentially turns the tongue into a joystick, to help move the wheelchair. Typically, persons who are in powered wheelchairs use the traditional sip-and-puff method to navigate the wheelchair. This method is much more complicated, and difficult to learn, and the movement of the wheelchairs is much slower. However, with the tongue piercing system called the Tongue Drive System, sensors that are placed inside the person’s cheek send signals to the wheelchair, when the tongue containing the piercing is moved. Those signals spur the wheelchair to move in the direction that the tongue is moved.

Tests reveal that the system is very easy to use. When participants use the powered wheelchairs via their tongue piercing devices through a maze of obstacles, they were able to do so very easily and with minimum effort.

To date, spinal cord injuries have no complete cure, and therefore any research that helps make patients’ lives easier and less complicated, and helps them perform routine activities without effort, is more than welcome.

The Indiana car accident lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy, LLP represent persons injured in car accidents across Indiana.