Spinal cord injury (SCI) and paralysis are two of the most debilitating and costly chronic conditions known today. According to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation one in 50 people (6 million people) in the United States alone are living with paralysis. The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) located at The University Alabama at Birmingham estimates there are there are 12'000 new cases of SCI in the United States per year caused by a variety of conditions including car accidents, work-related injuries, sports injuries, and violence.
SCI patients spend an average of anywhere from $228,566 to $775,567 in the first year and estimated lifetime costs can go as high as $3 million for a 25 year old SCI patient.
Medical technology has made a number of breakthroughs in recent years, with several important announcements and studies being released this year. Advancements in motors and sensor technologies and new neurostimulation technologies are giving paralytics more hope than ever of being able to walk again.
Here are some technologies that hold promise for a future of improved quality of life for people suffering from paralysis.
[image via ReWalk Robotics]