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Spinal Cord Injury
There are more than 11,000 cases of spinal cord injury (SCI) in the United States each year resulting in estimated annual costs of $220,000 to $750,000 per person. Incomplete SCI constitutes more than 54% of all SCIs and often predisposes its victims to weakness and paralysis of the arms and legs. This eventually results in a decreased or lost ability to walk or move. Consequently, the main machinery of movement – the limb muscles - undergoes a variety of biological changes.
While muscle adaptations are well documented in science literature from persons with a complete SCI, similar findings after an incomplete injury remain unknown. The main aim of our work is to unfold the physiological changes that accompany leg muscles after an incomplete SCI using combinations of non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy measures; histological procedures including immunostaining and western blot techniques; and functional measures including muscle strength and activation deficits.
Both human and animal models of incomplete SCI are utilized in our laboratory to achieve this objective. Additionally, we utilize combinations of locomotor training and gene therapies (IGF administration) to determine the impact of these interventions on the recovery potential of the paralyzed skeletal muscle.
Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the following photos regarding research within the Muscle Physiology Laboratory (below):