A three-year study has revealed that falls, and not motor vehicle crashes, are now the leading cause of traumatic spinal cord injuries (SCI) in the United States.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said rates of spinal cord injuries blamed on falls are rising, especially among older Americans. The study, which analyzed data from over 43,000 adults who suffered from SCI and were treated at emergency rooms between 2007 to 2009, went on to suggest that preventing falls could significantly reduce spinal cord injuries.
“We have demonstrated how costly traumatic spinal cord injury is and how lethal and disabling it can be among older people. It is an area ripe for prevention,” said the leader of the study.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Neurotrauma, found that falls accounted for some 41.5 percent of traumatic spinal cord injuries, while automobile crashes could be blamed for 35.5 percent of those injuries. Even though spinal cord injuries resulting from falls decreased among the 18 to 64 age demographic in that three-year time period, they actually rose fairly substantially among those who were 65-years-old and over – from 23.6 percent to 30 percent.