The rate of severe injury among older Americans who fall down is going up.

Johns Hopkins Medicine recently published findings in the Journal of Neurotrauma following a multi-year study of spinal cord injury (SCI) patients in the United States. The research looked at the emergency room data of more than 43,000 adults, aged 18 and up.

Any form of spinal cord injury is serious. When force is severe, as in a fall, the vertebrae in the backbone can splinter or impinge on the bundle of neural fiber called the spinal cord that runs from the base of the brain to the tailbone.

In the study, researchers identified trends of interest including:

The age of SCI patients is rising. In an earlier study between 2000 and 2005, the average age of injury was 41. Looking at data from 2007 through 2009, the average age of an SCI patient is now 51.
Adults age 18 to 65 as a group experienced declining rates of SCI during the period of the study. Conversely, seniors 65 and older experienced an increase in SCI.
The leading cause of SCI is now trauma from falls, rather than automobile accidents. Anecdotal evidence suggests improved safety measures may be responsible for lower rates of SCI caused by car crashes.
In the emergency room, seniors with an SCI are four times more likely to die than younger patients. After hospital admission, seniors are six times more likely to pass away from an SCI.

In Ohio, the Center for Brain and Spinal Cord Repair (CBSCR) works to discover and develop new methods of preventing and treating the disabling paralysis and loss of motion that often accompanies SCI.

The Johns Hopkins study highlights the need to reduce falls in adults of all ages. Watch your step. If you suffer SCI in an accident or fall on the premises of negligent others in Cleveland, talk to an experienced injury attorney.