Relationship between changes in spinal cord and brain morphometry to clinical recovery following acute spinal cord injury

Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) usually leads to permanent clinical impairment and is a life changing event. Currently there is no “cure” for paralysis. However, recent discoveries, such as anti-Nogo-A antibody treatment (Schwab, 2002), have the potential to translate into therapies with patient benefit (Freund et al., 2006), but their efficacy depends on carefully designed clinical trials. While functional readouts have been established and validated for functional recovery, such as the ASIA score and the SCIM score, outcome surrogates that detect changes at the neuronal level are awaited. Consequently, there is a prescient need to develop non-invasive biomarkers, which quantify the impact of SCI upon the structural integrity and functional reorganization of sensorimotor systems and the ensuing clinical recovery/impairment during follow up.

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