In many ways brain injury treatments remain a mystery. Medical researchers have uncovered various different approaches for helping those who have suffered traumatic brain injuries. However, most treatments are geared toward preventing further deterioration of the individual’s condition. There are far fewer verifiable ways for medical providers to actually “cure” these injuries. Many of the nation’s best minds on this subject are currently in the middle of a wide range of research efforts which will hopefully prove fruitful down the road.
Part of the challenge involves trying to get the body to re-grow or rejuvenate cells and nerves in the brain that have died. This is no easy feat. However, as a new story this week from Fox News explains, stems cells may prove crucial in figuring out ways to actually spur injured brains to heal themselves.
The article shared the story of one girl who suffered a serious brain injury when she was a toddler. The girl accidentally fell into the family swimming pool. The one-year old was unconscious and without oxygen for an incredibly long period of time-at least 45 minutes. As a result of the prolonged deprivation, the girl was thrown into a vegetative state. She could not perform even basic tasks like sitting or speaking. Her body was also contorted.
In most cases, there are little doctors can do to help spur recovery.
Our Chicago brain injury attorneys know, however, that one potential cure for these situations involves the regenerative power of stem cells. The cells may be able to spur regeneration in various parts of the body, including the brain. Fortunately, in this case, the girl’s family has fortuitously banked the girl’s cord blood after her birth. The blood contains stem cells that might be used down the road in potential medical treatments.
Fifteen months after the girl’s injury, doctors reinfused the cord blood into the girl’s body as part of an experimental trial. According to the mother, the results were clear within days. The mother explained that the day after the treatment her daughter “was excited, walking better…she spontaneously started talking to me. We didn’t think we’d ever have to use [the cord blood]. We just saw the value in it and decided it was money well spent.”
It has been four years since the tragic near-drowning, and according to observers, the girl’s recovery has been nothing short of remarkable. The now-five year old is expected to start kindergarten in the fall. The recovery has been truly astonishing considering that few children survive at all following 45 minutes of oxygen deprivation, let alone fully recover without long-term consequences.
The Illinois brain injury lawyers at our firm have previously written about the growing popularity of cord blood banking. The more stories like this that are shared will likely boost the popularity of the process even more. Hopefully, the lessons learned from cases like this one will go a long way to helping medical professionals pinpoint exactly how these brain injuries can be recovered from in all contexts. At the very least, these stories are clear indications of the potential benefit of stem cells and the need for medical experts to devote as many resources as possible to studying their potential uses.
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