For many people in Oregon, living with a spinal cord injury is a huge burden. Obviously, the paralysis that is associated with this type of injury can turn a person’s life upside down; tasks that were once essentially done without thinking, such as tying shoes or getting dressed, might turn into an excruciating duty. Many people with spinal cord injuries are unable to work and thus subside on benefits from Social Security disability.
However, people with this condition know that limited mobility is not the only drawback. For many folks, spinal cord injuries lead to weakened immune systems. This is obviously dangerous for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that people with spinal cord injuries are often weakened by their condition in the first place, without any additional immunity problems.
There is constantly being research done to address this problem, however, and some scientists believe they are on the right path. In a laboratory, some researchers have been able to restore some immunity function in mice that have spinal cord injuries. The drugs that are used serve to suppress some hormones that are produced when people’s immune systems become compromised.
As with any research experiment, the ability to transfer this technology to humans is still a ways away. However, the scientists who were involved are hopeful that the leap can be made to where the technology can be beneficial to people who have suffered spinal cord injuries. This could lengthen the lifetimes of many people who might not have had much reason for hope in recent years.
Source: Science World Report, “Scientists Reveal Immune Function Can be Restored in Spinal Injured Mice,” Catherine Griffin, Aug. 8, 2013