Cooling May Have Helped Save Everett's Spine

However, he said that Everett's case could represent one more step in understanding how inducing hypothermia may help those with spinal cord injuries.

"A lot of the therapies that we have been trying for the last 10 years have failed clinical trials," Dietrich said. "The future of therapies is that we can use mild hypothermia in combination with some of these drugs [to] actually produce a beneficial effect."

And together with the other treatments, the therapy may have gone a long way in preserving Everett's function.

"It is likely that this specific patient benefited from early management, including the moderate hypothermia, early decompression of the spinal cord through the surgery and stabilization of the damaged spinal segments, and demonstrated with the movement of his arms and legs that he had an incomplete spinal cord injury," Haak said.

"This type of injury has a good potential for neurological improvement over time, and is great news for the patient, his family and friends, and the medical team that is caring for him."

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