Protection and repair after spinal cord injury: Accomplishments and future directions

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Abstract

It was an honor for me to present the 2014 G. Heiner Sell Memorial Lecture at the annual American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) meeting in San Antonio. For this purpose, I provided a comprehensive review of the scope of research targeting discovery and translational and clinical investigations into spinal cord injury (SCI) research. Indeed, these are exciting times in the area of spinal cord research and clinical initiatives. Many laboratories and clinical programs throughout the world are publishing data related to the pathophysiology of SCI and new strategies for protecting and promoting recovery in both animal models and humans. For this lecture, several topics were discussed including neuroprotective and reparative strategies, neurorehabilitation, quality of life issues, and future directions. In the area of neuroprotection, pathophysiological events that may be targeted with therapeutic strategies, including pharmacological and targeted temperature management were reviewed. For reparative approaches, the importance of both intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms of axonal regeneration was highlighted. Various cell therapies currently being tested in preclinical and clinical arenas were reviewed as well as ongoing US Food and Drug Administration approved trials for SCI patients. Neurorehabilitation is an evolving research field with locomotive training strategies, electrical stimulation, and brain-machine interface programs targeting various types of SCI. The importance of testing combination approaches including neuroprotective, reparative, and rehabilitative strategies to maximize recovery mechanisms was therefore emphasized. Finally, quality of life issues that affect thousands of individuals living with paralysis were also presented. Future directions and specific obstacles that require attention as we continue to move the SCI field forward were discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-187
Number of pages14
JournalTopics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology

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