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Health behaviors and management critical for spinal cord injury patients

August 11, 2016

It can happen in a split second from a vehicle crash, a fall or a gunshot: a person's spinal cord tissue is bruised or torn by a shocking blow.

While often unexpected, it isn't uncommon. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are approximately 282,000 people currently living with a spinal cord injury in the United States.

"Spinal cord injury significantly alters a person's way of life," says Michelle Meade, Ph.D., associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Michigan. "Perhaps the most dramatic alteration is the individual's health and the steps they have to take to manage it on a daily basis."

Meade is the co-editor of a two-part series of Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation focused on recent research studies about health behaviors and health management in individuals with spinal cord injury.

The first issue, published this past winter, includes five articles highlighting the health management challenges individuals with spinal cord injury encounter and the strategies they engage in to overcome those obstacles.

Articles include topics around medical cannabis use, strategies for interacting with the health care system, self-care measures, physical health barriers to employment after a spinal cord injury and a new intervention for families.

The second issue, published this spring, includes four articles focusing on the importance of health behaviors in patients with spinal cord injury and the need for management of physical and psychological health in these individuals.

Articles include topics around management of bowel and bladder dysfunction, resilience after a spinal cord injury, impact of psychological health management on employment after a spinal cord injury and self-management programs.

"Both of these journal issues highlight the importance of health behaviors and proactively managing health for people with spinal cord injury," Meade says.

Meade mentions the culmination of these research studies is a way to highlight the need for further research on health management among individuals with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities.

"We hope these two issues of Topics in Spinal Cord Rehabilitation will inspire our colleagues who work and conduct research with individuals with spinal cord injuries to continue to address this important topic," she says. "Giving our patients the knowledge and tools to proactively manage their health and improve their quality of life is always a top priority."
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University of Michigan Health System

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Spinal cord injury (SCI) causes long-lasting damage in the spinal cord that leads to paraparesis, paraplegia, quadriplegia and other lifetime disabilities.
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Researchers of Kazan Federal University genetically modified cord blood which managed to increase tissue sparing and numbers of regenerated axons, reduce glial scar formation and promote behavioral recovery when transplanted immediately after a rat contusion spinal cord injury.
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The research team led by Associate Professor Yukio Nishimura, National Institute for Physiological Sciences, Natural Institutes of Natural Sciences, found that the nucleus accumbens, that control motivation in the brain, activates the activity of the motor cortex of the brain, and then promotes recovery of motor function during the early stage of recovery after spinal cord injury.
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Related Spinal Cord Injury Reading:

Spinal Cord Injury: Functional Rehabilitation (3rd Edition)
by Martha Freeman Somers MS PT (Author)

Spinal Cord Medicine
by Steven Kirshblum MD (Editor), Vernon W. Lin MD PhD (Editor)

Essentials of Spinal Cord Medicine
by Sunil Sabharwal MD (Author)

Spinal Cord Injuries: Management and Rehabilitation
by Sue Ann Sisto PT MA PhD (Author), Erica Druin MPT (Author), Martha Macht Sliwinski PT MA PhD (Author)

Alternative Medicine and Spinal Cord Injury
by Laurance Johnston PhD (Author)

Coping Effectively With Spinal Cord Injuries: A Group Program Therapist Guide (Treatments That Work)
by Paul Kennedy (Author)

Spinal Cord Injury (American Academy of Neurology)
by Michael E. Selzer MD PhD (Author), Bruce H. Dobkin MD FRCP (Author)

Don't Call It a Miracle: The Movement to Cure Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal Cord Injury: My Life Beyond the Outhouse: The First Two Years
by Laurie J. Reese (Author)

Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation (Contemporary Perspectives in Rehabilitation)
by Edelle Field-Fote PT PhD (Author)

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