The Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, and the VA Medical Center in the Bronx, New York, have begun a long-term collaboration to study and further understand the cascade of physiological effects that take place in the bodies of spinal cord injury victims in the first 60 days after the injuries occur. Doctors will monitor the internal organs, blood, and muscles of spinal cord injury patients over two years to inspire new interventions and more effective emergency treatments.
The study’s hypothesis was summed up on Intermountain’s Web site as, ‘a study that’s unique, because little is known about organ system changes immediately after a spinal cord injury, called the acute phase, nor is there much research into the evolution of these abnormalities and the pathophysiology that underlies them. There are many studies about the rehabilitation phase, but not the initial acute phase,’ said Mark H. Stevens, M.D., medical director of trauma services at Intermountain Medical Center.
Most research of this nature in the past has focused on spinal cord injury patients in the rehabilitative care stage of their recovery. The new study aims to gather much-needed data on the early effects the injuries exert on every part of the body. Part of the difficulty in gathering such data is due to the difficulty of enlisting injury victims in studies. Patients often arrive at the hospital disoriented and in shock, or worse, and in that state, getting informed consent can prove challenging. Family members unsure about the safety of experimental techniques have proven unlikely to grant consent to researchers while under the pressure and fear of their relative’s injury.
Doctors and researchers hope to explain the potential benefits of the study, while making sure to let patients know ‘it’s not some kind of magic bullet,’ a Deseret News article reported. The article further noted that the greatest benefit to spinal cord injury patients will come from extra monitoring and testing.
Gomez, Jeff. (January 12, 2010) ‘Long-Term Study at Intermountain Medical Center and New York VA Hospital, Aims to Advance Spinal Cord Injury Treatments.’ Retrieved on February 12, 2010 from the Intermountain Health Care Web site:http://intermountainhealthcare.org/hospitals/imed/about/news/Pages/home….
Higgins, Bob. (February 8, 2010) ‘Top 10 Veterans’ News From Around the Country.’ Retrieved on February 11, 2010 from the Veterans Today Web site:http://www.veteranstoday.com/2010/02/08/top-10-veterans-news-from-around…
Moore, Carrie A. (February 7, 2010) ‘Intermountain Medical Center helps with spinal cord injury research.’ Retrieved on February 12, 2010 from the Deseret News Web site:http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700008011/Spinal-cord-injury-research…