A new understanding of the link between the neurologic damage caused by spinal cord injuries (SCI), spontaneous motor function recovery and long-term motor deficits could help improve treatment and lead to better therapeutic approaches, according to a recently published study in the Journal of Neurotrauma.

In the study, the researchers simulated a C6 partial SCI in adult rats and analyzed their recovery of motor function over 4 months. They found extensive kinetic, anatomical and electrophysiological data that demonstrate how the animals compensate for the permanent loss of some motor function.

The researchers suggested that a premotoneuronal system in the cervical spine may be involved in the production and chronic nature of limb impairment, which could have important implications for the design of future treatment methods.

“This paper is important to the spinal cord injury field because it provides a comprehensive assessment of motor performance up to four months after cervical spinal cord injury,” W. Dalton Dietrich, III, PhD, scientific director of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, stated in a press release. “Force and kinematic data identifying progressive sensorimotor compensatory processes indicate new targets for therapeutic strategies to promote recovery and repair.”

For more information:

Lopez-Dolado E. J Neurotrauma. 2013; doi: 10.1089/neu.2012.2530.

Disclosures: The researchers have no relevant financial disclosures.

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