Spinal Cord Injuries Rising Among Elderly: Study

IANS  |  Updated: July 19, 2017 12:03 IST

Spinal Cord Injuries Rising Among Elderly: Study
Traumatic spinal cord injuries are on the rise, especially among older individuals, says a study by an Indian-origin researcher. While incidence rates among the younger male population in the US dropped between 1993-2012, rates for men ageing 65 to 74 jumped to 131 cases per million from 84 cases per million. One in five with such injuries dies in the hospital, said the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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"Spinal cord injury is a major public health issue in older patients," said lead author Nitin Jain, associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre, US. The researchers analysed data from the years 1993 to 2012 involving 63,109 patients with acute traumatic spinal cord injury. "We don't really know the exact reason behind an increased incidence of falls that cause spinal cord injury," Jain said, but noted that "older adults are much more active now, putting them at a higher risk." For example, 70-year-olds today may be more likely to go skiing than 70-year-olds would have 20 years ago.
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Comments"We have found that the number of patients who undergo surgical procedures are also increasing over time," he said. People with traumatic spinal cord injury are often disabled for life, and require lifelong rehabilitation. Most patients regain some function after an injury, Jain said adding, "most of these patients need health care services throughout their life, many of them pretty intensive."

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