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Study: average age for a spinal cord injury is 51

Symptoms of a spinal cord injury can range all the way from minor or temporary numbness all the way to complete paralysis. Although there is a wide range of the severity of these types of injuries, even numbness that lasts for only a year can get in the way of an individual’s ability to work and possibly classify someone as disabled under the Social Security disability program.

The Journal of Neurotrauma recently published an article online in which researchers studied cases from 2007 through 2009 involving an individual that sought emergency treatment for spinal cord injuries in U.S. hospitals. Researchers found that when the data from 43,137 random cases was analyzed and extrapolated, it showed that these types of injuries are on the rise amongst the American population.

Researchers noted that the average age of an individual who has suffered an injury of this type is 51 years. Although this is an increase in age by10 years from the findings of a previous study covering the years between 2000 and 2005, it is still well below the age at which many people in Saint Louis retire.

What is causing these injuries? According to the study, the two leading causes of spinal cord injury are falls, experienced in 41.5 percent of cases, and motor vehicle crashes, experienced in 35.5 percent of the cases.

In the past, motor vehicle accidents have topped the list. Researchers speculate that a combination of factors have played a role in this change. These factors include everything from vehicle safety measures to the increasing age of the general population, something that is supported by the percentage of injuries suffered by seniors over the age of 65.

Source: Medical Press, “Traumatic spinal cord injuries on the rise in US,” Jan. 27, 2014

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Alan E. DeWoskin, P.C.
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