Stem cells can be used to treat spine injuries: Experts

Last Updated: Oct 29, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

New Delhi: Road accidents account for maximum spinal injuries in the country and the possibility of treating such cases using stem cells is being examined, health experts said Friday.

Spine injuries can leave the patient paralyzed for the rest of life, and they require life-long treatment.

"We are also trying to find out possibilities for treating spinal cord injuries using stem cells, a technique that would make it possible for the patient to lead a normal lifestyle even after the traumatic injury," Indian Spinal Injuries Centre (ISIC) chairperson H.P.S. Ahluwalia said.

Nearly 43.5 percent spinal injuries are caused by road accidents, an ISIC study had revealed recently, making road accidents account for the largest number of disabilities and spinal cord injuries in the country.

Prevention and rehabilitation were listed the top priorities for the treatment of spine injuries in India.

"Spine injuries are mainly because of road accidents and shock-related injuries. If we can create awareness of ways to prevent such accidents, then spine injuries will also reduce. And after accidents, effective rehabilitation is the missing element in hospitals," A.K. Mukherjee, director ISIC in Delhi, told IANS.

Spinal cord injuries usually begin with a blow that fractures or dislocates the back-bone, the bone disks that make up the spine.

Experts from spine injuries treatment centres from all across the globe gathered at the 49th international spinal cord society meet in the capital.

"The emphasis at the annual scientific meeting this year is on innovation, prevention and rehabilitation in treatment of spinal cord injury patients," said Ahluwalia.

The meeting also focused on cost-effective treatment, psychological rehabilitation of the patient, counselling of the family members and various other aspects involved with such injuries.

The ISIC study analysed 1,138 patients who hail from both rural and urban areas.

IANS