-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, July 3 (HealthDay News) -- For people who suffer a
spinal cord injury, irreversible tissue loss occurs within 40 days,
which is much sooner than previously thought, researchers say.
The investigators used new MRI techniques to assess 13 people
with spinal cord injuries. The patients were checked every three
months for a year after their injury. After 12 months, the diameter
of the spinal cord was 7 percent smaller.
Lesser declines were also evident in the corticospinal tract
(which is critical for motor control), and nerve cells in the
brain's sensorimotor cortex (which integrates the senses and the
motor system), according to the researchers at the University of
Zurich in Switzerland and University College London in the United
"Patients with a greater tissue loss above the injury site recovered less effectively than those with less changes," researcher Patrick Freund, of the University of Zurich, said in a university news release.
The study was published July 2 in
The Lancet Neurology.
Until now, it had been believed that it took years before tissue
changes in the spinal cord and brain above the injury site could be
detected. This study shows that tissue loss occurs much earlier and
that newer MRI technology can identify these tissue changes and be
used to assess the effects of treatment, the researchers noted.
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
has more about
spinal cord injury.
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