Tracking Changes following Spinal Cord Injury

Patrick Freund, Armin Curt, Karl Friston, Alan Thompson
2012 The Neuroscientist  
Traumatic spinal cord injury is often disabling and recovery of function is limited. As a consequence of damage, both spinal cord and brain undergo anatomical and functional changes. Besides clinical measures of recovery, biomarkers that can detect early anatomical and functional changes might be useful in determining clinical outcome-during the course of rehabilitation and recovery-as well as furnishing a tool to evaluate novel treatment interventions and their mechanisms of action. Recent
more » ... ence suggests an interesting three-way relationship between neurological deficit and changes in the spinal cord and of the brain and that, importantly, noninvasive magnetic resonance imaging techniques, both structural and functional, provide a sensitive tool to lay out these interactions. This review describes recent findings from multimodal imaging studies of remote anatomical changes (i.e., beyond the lesion site), cortical reorganization, and their relationship to clinical disability. These developments in this field may improve our understanding of effects on the nervous system that are attributable to the injury itself and will allow their distinction from changes that result from rehabilitation (i.e., functional retraining) and from interventions affecting the nervous system directly (i.e., neuroprotection or regeneration).
doi:10.1177/1073858412449192 pmid:22730072 pmcid:PMC4107798 fatcat:urruxy2r75fh7mjbelb6yktlte