The spinal cord is a long, fragile, tube-like collection of nerve fibers and other tissues contained within the spine. The nerves within the spinal cord connect the peripheral nervous system to the brain forming the central nervous system. The spinal cord is essential for the transmission and reception of electrical messages to and from the brain to other areas of the body. Should the spinal cord become damaged, the impacts can be devastating or even fatal. Damage to the spinal cord, by trauma or other means, consequently, results in severe motor- and sensory deficits that usually lead to the inability to move and feel. Accidents are the most common cause of Spinal Cord Injury (SCI), with catastrophic consequences for the life of the patient and their relatives. While conservative therapies aim to stabilize the patient, functional recovery in most cases is minimal.
Preventable causes such as violence, falls and road traffic accents account for most spinal cord injuries. Every year, between 400,000 and 500,000 people suffer a spinal cord injury globally. Unfortunately, those with a spinal cord injury are 2 to 5 times more likely to suffer premature death than those without.
A spinal cord injury can affect anyone at any time and unfortunately there is currently no effective treatment available to those with a spinal cord injury.
Spinal Cord Injury Facts
- Around 1,000 people sustain a spinal cord injury each year in the U.S.
- Spinal cord injury primarily affects young adults
- Approximately 80% of those living with a spinal cord injury are male
- Highest rate of injury occurs between 15 -38
- In the U.S. someone is paralysed every 6 hours
- In Western Europe, more than 15% of SCI sufferers pass away within 10 years of the diagnosis
- Estimated 80,000 people living with a spinal cord injury in the U.S.