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Spinal Cord Injury Answers

Answers to frequently asked Questions about Spinal Cord Injury

What is a spinal cord injury?

Published: May 28, 2017

A spinal cord injury means that the spinal cord of a person is damaged and the person cannot do things that they otherwise would have been able to do such as walking (mobility) or feeling in certain parts of their body.

The spinal cord of a person is roughly 50 centimetres in length and it spreads from the bottom of the brain to about the waist. It is a key bundle of nerves that facilitates communication between the brain and the rest of the body, giving instructions to initiate actions such as movement.  It consists of 31 pairs of nerves which connect it to different parts of the body, with the nerves that are on the left connecting with the left side of the body and those that are on the right connecting with the right side of the body (WHO, 2010). Continue Reading »

Ten Questions with Dr. Peter Grahn

Published: April 18, 2017 | Spinal Cord Injury:

Dr Peter GrahnIn the summer of 2005 just graduated Willmar Cardinal basketball player Pete Grahn was enjoying a swim in Green Lake with friends when his life changed for good.

It was an exciting time for Pete, he had graduated from Willmar senior high and was headed for Minnesota State- Moorhead to play college basketball and get his degree in biology. Pete was a smooth shooting forward who was very athletic and according to his coach Steve Grove “really worked hard to make himself into great Willmar Cardinal. He had a sweet left hand jump shot, loved to shoot the three’s.” Continue Reading »

What are stem cells and how will they be used to treat the world’s most debilitating diseases?

Published: January 12, 2017

Stem cell research is often controversial but it has also led to incredible medical progress in recent years.

Stem cell research is at defining moment. Although it can be controversial and does raise a lot of important ethical issues, this area of medical science has been characterised by a number of important advances, ever since the first embryonic stem cells were isolated from mice in the 1980s. In the near future, it could reshape the way we treat some of the world’s most debilitating diseases.

Stem cells have already been used as treatment for a number of years – think bone marrow transplant – and they have the potential to help with many other medical conditions. Continue Reading »

If other paralyzed primates walk, will humans?

Published: December 23, 2016

paralyzed primates walkIn the annals of breathtaking scientific advances, it’s hard to top this recent news headline: “Paralyzed Monkeys Can Walk Again With Wireless Brain-Spine Connection.”

This is legit? Yes. How so? Scientists implant a chip in a monkey’s brain that sends wireless signals through a computer to electrodes in the lower back. The system stimulates a neural pathway that controls the muscles involved in walking.

Voila, the paralyzed primate walks. Continue Reading »

How Does Spinal Cord Injury Effect the Bladder?

Published: December 14, 2016

Dr. Sean Elliot, MD, MS Professor and Vice Chair of Urology University of Minnesota explains how spinal cord injury effects the bladder. Continue Reading »

Spinal cord rehabilitation and repair: an interview with Quentin Barraud

Published: November 15, 2016

dr-quentin-barraudSpinal cord repair and rehabilitation is a difficult but important topic to research, can you please give a brief overview of research in this field?

There are many grades of spinal cord injuries, in terms of range of movement, from small disabilities to becoming wheelchair bound for the rest of your life, the range is very broad.

There are many different approaches to try to overcome these disabilities, with key areas of research being focussed on developing stem cell therapies and using growth factors to promote regrowth of the nerve tissue after the injury. Continue Reading »

How to set up and track Apple Watch wheelchair workouts

Published: November 4, 2016

apple-watch-wheelchair-workoutsPeople in wheelchairs no longer get treated like second-class citizens when it comes to Apple Watch’s fitness-tracking features. With the recent watchOS 3.0 update, which brings lots of big changes to the fitness-oriented wearable, Apple Watch wheelchair workouts can be tracked after a quick and easy setup.

Part of Apple’s wide-ranging accessibility initiative, these new Apple Watch features make it possible to track wheelchair exercise just like you would a typical run.

Apple Watch’s wheelchair mode puts people with physical disabilities on a level playing field with other athletes — and it’s super-easy to use. Continue Reading »

Do Zebrafish Hold an Ingredient to Heal Spinal Cord Injuries?

Published: November 2, 2016

do-zebrafish-heal-spinal-cord-injuriesResearchers have identified a protein in zebrafish that plays a role in helping heal major spinal cord injuries. The results, published in the 4 November issue of Science, could provide an important clue for researchers looking for ways to facilitate similar tissue repair in humans.

While mammals lack the ability to regenerate nervous system tissue after spinal cord injury, zebrafish can regenerate such tissue. The mechanisms behind this recovery have remained elusive.

“Only six to eight weeks after a paralyzing injury that completely severs their spinal cord, zebrafish form new neurons, regrow axons and recover the ability to swim. Importantly, these regenerative events proceed without massive scarring,” explained Mayssa Mokalled of Duke University, a researcher involved in the study. Continue Reading »

Do acute SCI patients see better outcomes if undergoing surgery within 1st 4 hours?

Published: September 1, 2016 | Spinal Cord Injury: ,

TCRM-108856-F02Researches in Germany studied whether time of surgery impacted neurological outcomes for patients with acute spinal cord injury, according to Journal of Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management.

Specifically, they analyzed 51 spinal cord injury patients, aged an average of 43.4 years. The patients had acute spinal fractures from C2 to L3 or nonosseous lesions. Continue Reading »

How is Spirituality Linked to Quality of Life in People with Spinal Cord Injury?

Published: July 20, 2016

Disability and RehabilitationA spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage anywhere along the spinal cord, often due to an accident or other trauma. SCI typically causes a loss of movement and feeling below the damaged part of the spinal cord, often leading to paralysis and other changes in functioning. People with SCI may be more likely to develop depressed mood than members of the general population: Current research shows that up to 25 percent of people with SCI experience depression, and up to 12 percent report major clinical depression.

Spirituality is one resource that people use to cope with a major life change, such as having a SCI. Continue Reading »