According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 200,000 people are currently living with a spinal cord injury in the United States, and annually it is estimated that 12,000 to 20,000 new victims join their ranks. Imagine if there was a way to help some or all of those people regain at least a portion of the function they lost due to their injury. According to a report in the Digital Journal, such a breakthrough may have arrived in the form of new technology that would allow spinal cord injury victims to regain control of their bladders.
According to Digital Journal, surveys have revealed that regaining bladder control is one of the top priorities for those with severe spinal cord injuries, and with this new technology, it may become entirely possible. Researchers at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. developed the neuroprosthetic bladder, a device to help spinal cord injury victims improve bladder control.
For those without a spinal cord injury, nerves located around the bladder send signals to the brain when it is full. The brain sends signals back to the muscles around the bladder, allowing the person to urinate. A damaged spinal cord can disrupt the neural pathway between the bladder and the brain, which can make it impossible for a spinal cord injury victim to recognize when his or her bladder is full and empty it.
The neuroprosthetic bladder works by keeping track of electrical signals when a patient’s bladder is filling up, full and empty, which then enables it to encourage emptying the bladder through electrical stimulation.
So far, the neuroprosthetic bladder has only been tested in laboratory animals. It could be years before it is implanted in a human. However, researchers are confident that once it is, it will allow people with spinal cord injuries to regain some of their self-sufficiency and independence.
At Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P., we know that if you or a loved one are suffering because of a spinal cord injury, you are no doubt anxious to find out what the future holds. Our Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. injury attorneys work with accident victims through all stages of the process of recovering damages for their injuries. We will work to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages. Call us today to schedule your free consultation.