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Paralysis Population Survey Shows Over a Million More Paralyzed Than Previously Estimated; Five Times More People Live With Spinal Cord Injury
Date:4/21/2009

WASHINGTON, April 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A survey of over 33,000 households released today shows that 40 percent more Americans live with paralysis and over five times the number of Americans live with spinal cord injury than previously estimated. Specifically, the survey shows that 1.275 million have had a spinal cord injury and over 5.6 million Americans live with some form of paralysis. The highest previous estimates were 250,000 and roughly four million, respectively.

"That means one in 50 Americans is living with some form of paralysis, whether caused by disease, spinal cord injury or neurological damage," said Peter T. Wilderotter, President and CEO of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. "Someone you know is living with paralysis -- a family member, a friend or a work colleague."

Major Findings

The study was initiated by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and conducted by the University of New Mexico's Center for Development and Disability. More than 30 experts from 14 leading universities and medical centers and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention set the parameters for the survey. The development of the survey, acquisition and analysis of the data took over three years.

"This is the first population-based survey to measure the national prevalence of paralysis," said Anthony Cahill, Ph.D., principal investigator for the study and Director of the Division of Disability and Health Policy in the Center for Development and Disability at the University of New Mexico's School of Medicine. "The enormous data set offers a wealth of information about this population."

  • Paralysis is dramatically more widespread than previously thought. Approximately 1.9 percent of the U.S. population, or 5,596,000 people reported they were living with some form of paralysis, defined
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SOURCE Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation
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