Repairing Spinal Cord Injuries Essay

981 words - 4 pages

Injuries can happen to anyone, anywhere. Injuries affect people’s lives as they limit their choices, temporarily or permanently. Most injuries are not preventable, because most happen unexpectedly. For example, spinal cord injuries can occur if a person falls abruptly on his/her back and shatters their spinal cord. Although injuries cannot be prevented, they can be healed. New technologies are under development to solve major injuries, which do not yet have a cure. One of these major injuries is a spinal cord injury.
The human body consists of many important systems. The nervous system is one of these that ensure survival of a person. The nervous system is split into two main parts. The spinal cord and the brain make up the Central Nervous System (CNS). The receptors, effectors, and the intermediate neurons make the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS). The nervous system at the basic level is composed of a receptor, a sensory neuron, the spinal cord, the brain, a motor neuron, and an effector. The receptor when stimulated sends signals to the spinal cord through the sensory neuron. In case of a reflex stimulation, the signals go from the spinal cord to the effector through the motor neuron. If the stimulation is not a reflex one, then the signals go from the spinal cord to the brain. These signals are then interpreted in the brain and the output signals are sent to the effector through the spinal cord and the motor neuron. Either ways, the spinal cord acts as a central hub in the nervous system. It ensures signals are sent from the receptor reach the brain or the effector. Similarly it ensures that signals from the brain reach the effector. A spinal cord injury may lead to permanent loss of functions/sensations.
It can be seen from above how important the spinal cord is for neurotransmission. If the spinal cord sustains an injury, neurotransmission to the brain or from the brain is affected. This results in either a loss of sensation, or a loss of perception. According to the Rick Hansen Spinal Cord Injury Registry, vehicle accidents make up 46% of spinal cord injuries. Acts of violence (from knife wounds or gun shots) make up 11% of spinal cord injuries. Falls and sports injuries make up 24%, industrial accidents (damages from chemicals) make up 5%, and other injuries (such as inflammation of the spinal cord) make up 14% of spinal cord injuries. The survival rate is reasonably high for those suffering from spinal cord injuries, but life will never be normal again. Since the connection between the brain and the receptor or effector is damaged, stimulations may not be interpreted or signals may not reach the effector. This might result in loss of balance, coordination, loss of sensation, uncontrolled movements, and paralysis.
It is important to note that nerves in the CNS do not regenerate, while nerves in the PNS do regenerate. This is why when a person gets a cut; it completely heals in several days. But a person with spinal cord injury cannot...

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