The number of Americans suffering from paralysis is vastly higher than previously thought, according to a new study from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation being released today.

The study determined that 5.6 million Americans are paralyzed from all causes, which is 40 percent more than previously thought.

The higher number is just one more reason the nation needs to make an investment in paralysis research, said Alexandra Reeve Givens, daughter of actor and strident paralysis research supporter Christopher Reeve.

“One group not included, as far as I can tell, but who should be are those with spinal tumors from breast or liver metastases or others. Adding this group might add another 100,000 patients a year,” said Dr. Arthur L. Jenkins III, neurosurgical spine program co-director at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “I hope this is a wake-up call — people may not notice the paralyzed around them.”

Jenkins added that the broad description may help humanize the condition.

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