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Journal: The journal of spinal cord medicine


Context Spinal cord injury (SCI) causes disruption of the efferent input to and afferent input from respiratory muscles, which impairs respiratory motor and sensory functions, respectively. This disturbs the injured individual’s ability to respond to ventilatory loads and may alter the respiratory perceptual sensitivity of applied loads. Acute intermittent hypoxia with elevated CO2 (AIH treatment) has been shown to induce ventilatory long-term facilitation in individuals with chronic SCI. This study evaluated the effect of ten days of AIH treatment on ventilatory load compensation and respiratory perceptual sensitivity to inspiratory resistive loads (IRL), in an individual with chronic, incomplete cervical SCI. Methods Case report and literature review. Findings We report a case of a 55-year-old female with a C4 chronic, incomplete SCI (American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale D). The subject underwent evaluation at four time-points: Baseline, Post Sham, AIH Day 1 and AIH Day 10. Significant improvements in airflow generated in response to applied IRL were found after AIH treatment compared to Baseline. There were no significant changes in the respiratory perceptual sensitivity to applied IRL after AIH treatment. Clinical relevance Rehabilitative interventions after SCI demand restoration of the respiratory motor function. However, they must also ensure that the respiratory perceptual sensitivity of the injured individual does not hinder their capability to compensate to ventilatory challenges.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Motor skill, Compensation, Sense, Physical trauma, Medical terms, Spinal cord injury, Spinal cord


Context/Objective Despite availability of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs), gaps in autonomic dysreflexia (AD) knowledge and practice persist. A free, online educational module, the “ABCs of AD”, was developed to improve knowledge of the AD-CPGs among emergency healthcare personnel. We examine short-term changes in paramedic and nurse trainees' knowledge of, and social cognitions towards using, the AD-CPGs following module completion. Design Pre-post. Methods Thirty-four paramedic and nurse trainees from two training programs in Canada completed measures immediately before and after viewing the online “ABCs of AD” module. Outcome measures AD knowledge test; Theory of Planned Behavior social cognition questionnaire; module feedback survey. Results Paired samples t-tests revealed significant increases in participants' AD knowledge test scores (M ± SDpre = 9.00 ± 2.46, M ± SDpost = 12.03 ± 4.07, P < 0.001; d = 0.84). Prior to viewing the module, participants reported positive social cognitions for using the AD-CPGs (all Ms ≥ 4.84 out of 7). From pre- to post-module, no significant changes were seen in participants' social cognitions for using the AD-CPGs. Participants' average module viewing time was 36.73 ± 24.17 minutes (range 8-90 minutes). There was a decline in viewing from the first to the last module sections, with only half of participants viewing all six sections. Conclusion Knowledge alone is insufficient for clinical behavior change; as such, social cognitive determinants of behavior should be explicitly targeted in future iterations of the module to increase the likelihood of increased use of the AD-CPGs. To engage viewers across all module sections, the "ABCs of AD" module should include supplementary learning strategies, such as interactive quizzes and peer-to-peer interaction.

Concepts: Test, Educational psychology, Student's t-test, Time, Clinical trial, Practice, Cognition, Psychology


Background Most spinal cord infarctions are due to aortic pathologies and aortic surgeries. Fibrocartilaginous Embolism (FCE) has been reported to represent 5.5% of spinal cord infarctions. Some believe that FCE is more common than presumed and is rather under-diagnosed due to vagueness surrounding its clinical presentation. Method A literature search was conducted for case reports of FCE published before August 2014. PubMed, the Cochrane Central Register and Google Scholar were searched for different combinations of the key words “fibrocartilaginous, "nucleus pulposus”, “embolism”, “spinal cord”, “inter-vertebral disc”, “infarction”, “stroke”, “paraplegia”, “quadriplegia”, “myelopathy”. Result Fifty-five case articles were reviewed, ten of which were translated from foreign languages. A total of 67 cases of FCE were found, 41 tissue-confirmed and 26 clinically suspected. A comprehensive summary of the clinical anatomy, patho-physiologic mechanisms, epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment of FCE is described, along with the conflicting opinions on its incidence and relevance after reviewing all of the related literature. The 41 tissue proven cases are summarized and a schematic approach to the clinical diagnosis of FCE, deducted from their clinical findings, is presented. Conclusion FCE of the spinal cord, often mis-diagnosed as transverse myelitis, may be more common than presumed. Future research into FCE, including the development of a chondrolytic therapy that can be given empirically upon its clinical suspicion to acutely reverse its symptoms, may be of value.

Concepts: Clinical death, Case, Epidemiology, Medical diagnosis, Diagnosis, Spinal cord injury, Stroke


Context/Objective to investigate the usefulness of classical homeopathy for the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI) in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI). Design prospective study. Setting rehabilitation center in Switzerland. Participants patients with chronic SCI and ≥3 UTI/year. Interventions Participants were treated either with a standardized prophylaxis alone or in combination with homeopathy. Outcome measures The number of UTI, general and specific quality of life (QoL), and satisfaction with homeopathic treatment were assessed prospectively for one year. Results Ten patients were in the control group; 25 patients received adjunctive homeopathic treatment. The median number of self-reported UTI in the homeopathy group decreased significantly, whereas it remained unchanged in the control group. The domain incontinence impact of the KHQ improved significantly (P = 0.035), whereas the general QoL did not change. The satisfaction with homeopathic care was high. Conclusions Adjunctive homeopathic treatment lead to a significant decrease of UTI in SCI patients. Therefore, classical homeopathy could be considered in SCI patients with recurrent UTI. Trial registration (NCT01477502).

Concepts: George Vithoulkas, Urinary tract infection, Homeopathy


Context/Objective: Wheelchair users with spinal cord injury (SCI) have a high risk of developing shoulder pain, caused by rotator cuff disease. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a potential treatment after conservative treatments fail and prior to surgical intervention; however, it has not been tested in wheelchair users who have recalcitrant shoulder pain associated with rotator cuff disease. The objective of this pilot project was to test the safety and potential treatment effect of an ultrasound-guided PRP injection for shoulder pain in the aforementioned population.Design: Prospective, quasi-experimental.Setting: Clinical research center.Participants: Six wheelchair users with SCI (3 paraplegia, 3 tetraplegia) who had chronic shoulder pain due to rotator cuff disease (presence of anterior shoulder pain, positive physical examination tests for rotator cuff disease, and tendinopathy demonstrated by ultrasound) and failed at least six months of conservative treatment.Interventions: Ultrasound-guided PRP injection into pathological shoulder tendons, targeting the supraspinatus. Subjects were provided a standardized stretching and strengthening program and were followed for 4, 8, 12, and 24 weeks post-intervention with outcomes collected at each time-point.Outcome Measures: Wheelchair User’s Shoulder Pain Index (WUSPI); pain Numerical Rating Scale (NRS); physical and ultrasound examinations for supraspinatus tendinopathy; 5-point patient global impression of change (PGIC).Results: WUSPI (69.9%, P < 0.001), NRS (49.6%, P < 0.01), and physical exam scores (35.7%, P < 0.01) decreased 24 weeks after treatment. Participants reported overall improvement in their status as a result of the treatment. No adverse events were noted, and no changes in ultrasound markers for tendinopathy were observed.Conclusion: A single, ultrasound-guided PRP injection into the supraspinatus tendon, followed by a stretching and strengthening exercise program, was safe and provided improvements in shoulder pain outcome measures in this sample for 24 weeks. Lack of blinding, short-term follow-up, and a suitable control group warrant a larger randomized controlled trial.Trial Registration: NCT01355549.


Objective: To provide an overview of clinical assessments and diagnostic tools, self-report measures (SRMs) and data sets used in neurogenic bladder and bowel (NBB) dysfunction and recommendations for their use with persons with spinal cord injury /disease (SCI/D).Methods: Experts in SCI/D conducted literature reviews, compiled a list of NBB related assessments and measures, reviewed their psychometric properties, discussed their use in SCI/D and issued recommendations for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Common Data Elements (CDEs) guidelines.Results: Clinical assessments included 15 objective tests and diagnostic tools for neurogenic bladder and 12 for neurogenic bowel. Following a two-phase evaluation, eight SRMs were selected for final review with the Qualiveen and Short-Form (SF) Qualiveen and the Neurogenic Bowel Dysfunction Score (NBDS) being recommended as supplemental, highly-recommended due to their strong psychometrics and extensive use in SCI/D. Two datasets and other SRM measures were recommended as supplemental.Conclusion: There is no one single measure that can be used to assess NBB dysfunction across all clinical research studies. Clinical and diagnostic tools are here recommended based on specific medical needs of the person with SCI/D. Following the CDE for SCI studies guidelines, we recommend both the SF-Qualiveen for bladder and the NBDS for bowel as relatively short measures with strong psychometrics. Other measures are also recommended. A combination of assessment tools (objective and subjective) to be used jointly across the spectrum of care seems critical to best capture changes related to NBB and develop better treatments.


Shoulder pathology is a common condition in wheelchair users that can considerably impact quality of life. Shoulder muscles are prone to fatigue, but it is unclear how fatigue affects start-up propulsion biomechanics. This study determines acute changes in start-up wheelchair propulsion biomechanics at the end of a fatiguing propulsion protocol.


A recent Apple Watch® activity-monitoring innovation permits manual wheelchair users to monitor daily push counts. This study evaluated the validity of the Apple Watch® push count estimate.


Cognitive deficits can impact as many as 60% of individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). In an effort to identify the nature of cognitive deficits in SCI, we examined neuropsychological test performance in individuals with SCI, age matched healthy controls and older healthy controls.


Context Despite the recognition of sports as a significant contributor in the etiology of spinal cord injury (SCI), no studies have systematically explored the epidemiology of SCI caused by sports. Objective This paper aims to give a systematic overview of the epidemiology of sport-related spinal cord injury around the world. Methods A systematic review was conducted to identify published literature reporting the epidemiology of SCI caused by sports. The literature search was conducted in MEDLINE/PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, PsycINFO and Sportdiscus with date limits 1980 through to July 2015. Data from 54 studies covering 25 countries was extracted and collated. Results Important findings include identification of 6 countries in which sports accounts for over 13% of SCI (highest to lowest: Russia, Fiji, New Zealand, Iceland, France and Canada); individual sports with high risk for SCI (diving, skiing, rugby, and horseback riding); and the most common level of injury for various sports (almost entirely cervical for hockey, skiing, diving and American football, while over half of horseback riding and snowboarding injuries are thoracic or lumbosacral). Conclusion This paper identifies countries and sports with higher rates of sport-related SCIs where implementation of prevention programs and reporting systems to track SCI epidemiology may be helpful, and highlights gaps in our current knowledge for further investigation. The comparison of SCI occurrence for each sport across countries, as well as examination of the specific characteristics of SCI incurred for individual sports will assist in directing efforts for prevention.

Concepts: Sport, Injury, Physical trauma, Individual sports, Spinal cord, Identification, Spinal cord injury