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Motor vehicle crashes no longer represent the leading cause of traumatic spinal cord injuries in the United States, according to a new report from Johns Hopkins. Instead, slip and fall incidents—especially among the elderly—are generating the largest number of serious spinal injuries. The same research shows, moreover, that rates of these injuries—whose symptoms range from temporary numbness to full-blown paralysis—are rising fastest among older people, suggesting that efforts to prevent falls in the elderly could significantly curb the number of spinal injuries.

The recent rash of severe weather affecting a large swath of the U.S. (and the resultant icy conditions on sidewalks and other common areas) mean that arguably more seniors will be vulnerable to falls.

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