Monday, March 8, 2021


Answers to frequently asked Questions about Spinal Cord Injury

What About Help With Rehabilitation, Training Or Education?

Published: June 10, 2004

If you are likely to benefit from rehabilitation, you are referred to a state rehabilitation agency or private organization for rehabilitation services. Social Security pays for the services if you are successfully rehabilitated. If you recover from your disability while in an approved rehabilitation or training program that is likely to result in your becoming self-supporting, benefits will continue until the program is over.

For example, if you were in a nurse’s aide training program and your condition improved so that you were no longer disabled, benefits ordinarily would stop.

Can people with SCI have sex, children?

Published: May 17, 2004

SCI frequently affects sexual functioning. However, there are many therapies that allow people with SCI to have an active and satisfying sex life. Fertility is also frequently affected in men with SCI.

Methods similar to those used for non-disabled men with fertility problems have allowed many men with SCI to father their own children. Of course, adoption is another option.

Why can’t the nerves above the injury reconnect w/ nerves below the injury? Why...

Published: May 15, 2004

Axons that have been disconnected form the injury site must grow all the way back to their original cells to reconnect with them. Axons that have been damaged will sprout short distances but they often stop at the injury site. There is much debate concerning why the axons do not continue growing. Several theories have been popular. For many years, scientists thought that glial cell proliferation (glial scar) around the injury site mechanically prevented axonal growth.

What happens below the injury? DO the nerve cells stay alive, do they die...

Published: May 12, 2004

The axons that have been disconnected from their cell bodies will die. This takes place over a period of days or even weeks.

However, the cells that the axons contact usually are not killed, unless they have been directly injured by the mechanical trauma. Likewise, the cells that the axons come from also usually survive the axonal injury unless they are close to the injury site.

Is the only difference between acute and chronic the scar? What else happens to...

Published: April 17, 2004

fine the “acute” phase of spinal cord injury as the period during which damage may be continuing.

“Subacute” is when the spinal cord is beginning to resolve the damage and starting repair. There is then a period of recovery that may take years. At the end of that period, when recovery has stabilized and the condition is stable, I would use the descriptor “chronic” spinal cord injury.

When the cord is injured, it is the pressure on the cord that causes...

Published: April 14, 2004

The spinal cord is seldom cut by injury unless the injury is due to a bullet or knife. In most cases, the spinal cord is compressed either slowly or rapidly by bone or disc displaced against the spinal cord. The extent and cause of damage depend on the speed of compression. Slow and prolonged pressure damages the spinal cord by blocking blood flow to the cord.

Spinal cord white matter is generally more resistant to ischemia (loss of blood flow) than brain.

What is NIL-A?

Published: April 10, 2004

NIL-A is a neuroimmunophilin that was developed by Guilford and Amgen for Parkinson’s disease [1]. A second generation product, NIL-A succeeds an earlier immunophilin product called GPI-1046. Preclinical development of GPI-1046 itself appears to have been suspended [2]. Data from efficacy and pharmacokinetic studies with NIL-A were presented at the Acute Neuronal Injury: New Therapeutic Opportunities meeting in August of 1998, Las Vegas, USA. The compound apparently possesses 50% oral bioavailability, and approximately 25 fold greater efficacy compared with GPI 1046, as well as a superior half life and absorption profile.

How does the spinal cord work?

Published: February 16, 2004

Neurons (nerve cells) in the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerve send axons (nerve fibers) up and down the spinal cord in spinal tracts. These spinal tracts are called white matter because axons are coated with a membrane called myelin and myelin appears white. In the spinal cord, white matter is usually situated close to the surface of the cord, arranged into several columns called the anterior, posterior, and lateral columns. The spinal cord contains neurons located in the middle part of the spinal cord. The areas of the spinal cord that contain neurons is called gray matter. The gray matter is most abundant in the parts of the spinal cord that connect to the arms and legs, called the cervical and lumbosacral enlargements.

What is rT3 and its role in spinal cord injury?

Published: February 13, 2004

The term rT3 refers to a form of tri-iodo-thyronine, one of the active iodinated thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormones are made by the thyroid gland. Thyroid hormones have long been recognized to regulate metabolism (energy activity) of cells. Thyroid hormones are iodinated (the reason why iodine is important for our diet), usually coming from sea salt. There are two forms of iodinated thyroid hormones: T3 and T4. These respectively contain two iodines and three iodines. T3 has several forms, depending on where the iodine attaches to the hormone. One of these is rT3. Cells contain a variety of iodeinases (enzymes that remove iodines).

Average yearly expenses?

Published: August 7, 2003

Average Yearly Expenses

Severity of Injury First Year Each Subsequent Year
High Quad(C1-C4) $572,178 $102,491
Low Quad(C5-C8) $369,488 $41,983
Paraplegia $209,074 $21,274
Incomplete any Level $168,627 $11,817