Completed Research Studies

9. Title: Peripheral Denervation Following Spinal Cord Injury

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the use of special MRI techniques to study how healthy the nerves are in the paralyzed muscles below a spinal cord injury. Also, to identify which muscles are abnormal and how severely the nerves are affected. The information obtained will be important to know in order to maximize the beneficial effects of future treatments.

Principal Investigator: Anthony S. Burns, MD
Co-Investigator(s): Ralph J. Marino, MD

Background: Following a spinal cord injury (SCI), the signals traveling from your brain to the body are interrupted. When the injury is severe enough, the individual is paralyzed and unable to feel his or her body below the injury. There is some evidence in the medical literature that nerve cells and nerves cut off from the brain become sick and some may even die. Despite being first described over 30 years ago, little is known about the process. It is important to understand this process better because treatments that restore signal conduction through the injured spinal cord, for example stem cell transplants, will require healthy nerves below the injured area.

MRI is a special type of imaging study. It has been shown to be very good for examining nerve problems affecting muscle but it has not been used in this way following spinal cord injury. In this study, we want to use special MRI techniques to study how healthy the nerves are in the paralyzed muscles below a spinal cord injury. We hope to be able to identify which muscles are abnormal and how severely the nerves are affected. The information obtained will be important to know in order to maximize the beneficial effects of future treatments. Three subjects will be enrolled at Thomas Jefferson University.

Criteria for Enrollment: Individuals eligible for the study include those who have sustained a traumatic SCI with complete paraplegia and were admitted to the RSCICDV (either TJUH or Magee Rehabilitation) within 3 weeks of injury.

Status: Study Completed

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