Based on my own research on the central nervous system/spinal cord from numerous books and documentaries I see a need for a major breakthrough. There has been little progress in the field. Before World War II patients didn't survive for long they would typically die from pneumonia. Years later we still haven't been able to give people the ability to walk again all that medicine can offer is rehabilitation and an average life span.
Based on February 2011 figures more than 12,000 people are disabled by traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) in the U.S each year. The financial cost of such injuries can be devastating and unbearable not only for the patient but for the family as well. Injury to the cervical vertebrae C1-C3 will cause paralysis to the arms,trunk, hands and legs. This type of injury will surely require 24-hour-a-day care.
Injuries to the cervical vertebrae (C1 - C4) will cost $985,774 the first year and $171,183 each subsequent year till death. Injuries to (C5 - C8) average at $712,308 the first year and $105,013 each following year. That includes yearly healthcare and living expenses but does not include losses in wages,benefits and productivity which were estimated to be about $66,600 per year in December 2010.
About 80% of spinal cord injuries reported are male patient cases. Motor vehicle accidents, falls and gun shot wounds are the national leading causes of spinal cord injury. This is true for both male and female. Although men outweigh women in the number of spinal cord injury cases, there are percentage differences between the sexes. Women have a higher rate 4.8% of SCI due to medical/surgical complications than men 2.0%. Percentage wise women are also more likely to develop SCI from a vehicular accident compared to men.
Here is a link of research being done in the field the title of the documentary is "Mapping Stem Cell Research Terra Incognita" http://www.hulu.com/watch/53868/pbs-indies-mapping-stem-cell-research-terra-incognita
Below you will find a clip from The Institute of Spinal Cord Injury